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Mom Guilt: Shy Kid after Switching Preschools

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  • #963093 Reply

    For my daughters first year of preschool she went to our 2nd choice school since we were on a waiting list for the 1st choice. She was happy there. The school itself was just ok. They didn’t teach any skills for elementary school prep at any age level, so in a way, it was more like a daycare instead of the other preschools in the area. Also, the teachers didn’t allow parents in the classrooms, so communication felt distant. The drive was further out for us, so it caused some stress for us. Despite the issues, my daughter was her normal bubbly self in this small and simple school. At the end of the year we heard the news that we were accepted into our 1st choice school which had a great program and was a quick drive. When we told her teachers, though, they were sad and said she was very popular with the children and well liked.This made me hesitate, but my hubby and I decided that she would have fun at the next school, too, so not to worry.

    2nd year at new school: Teachers kept telling me everything was going overall ok. Then, 5 months in at the conference, the main teacher tells me for the first time that she’s really shy and has no friends. I was completely blindsided and upset to hear this so deep into the school year. Her co-teacher quit since the 2 teachers didn’t get along, so she also seemed angry that my girl liked the other teacher more than her and was shy around her. She didn’t offer any solution beyond my daughter needs to make more effort. I also brought up that a bully in the class who refused to play with my kid made my daughter feel so bad that she told me she didn’t want to go back to school. The teacher offered no solution for that either. Then, Covid happened and the school year ended. During the 6 months away from school I wondered if she should go back in the Fall. I thought about taking her back to the 1st year school, but by the time she’d begin there it would be over a year since seeing those kids. The good news about staying where we were: what was once a huge class now was very small which she may like, and also, new teachers.

    The new year began a few weeks ago. The teachers are great and the kids in class are nice (no bullies). My daughter says it’s going great. The teacher did say she is very shy and mostly plays alone, but will join other kids here and there. When I see other kids huddled in a group playing together I feel so sad. For the record, when I go out with my daughter she is very chatty with both kids and adults, so I’m at a loss as to why she is shy at school. The teacher said not to worry and each kid is going at their own pace. Still, I have guilt and fear that maybe my child was really confident year 1, but in year 2 the teachers didn’t help her transition well so she lost her confidence. Of course this is a new, fresh school year, so I’d like to think last year didn’t effect her negatively and create a shy pattern. Maybe I’m over worrying and overthinking it. My hubby says that we don’t really know every detail of Year 1 since they were more private, so maybe she was shy there, too and the teachers were just really positive since she was more of a baby. This is possible, but I didn’t view her as shy that year based on the little amount I saw.

    As for solutions, we’re thinking about creating playdates for her with certain classmates. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work and pressure for preschool, though. Shouldn’t these be the fun years when you’re not worrying about your kid so much? I feel guilt that maybe what was an ideal preschool for us the parents, became the priority over my child’s happiness. If she was happy we shouldn’t have changed it. Any advice or observations welcome. Feeling stressed and sad.

    #963095 Reply

    Your plan to invite kids for playdates with your daughter is a good idea and the best help you can give. Do that, invest your energy in her social life out of school. You can also plan fun activities for the week-end, like an adventure park or zoo and invite kids to join. Do create also friendships with other mums, invite them for a tea. It is work, yes, but well, that is parenting, right? you could also register your daughter for a hobby class, like gym or music for preschoold kids. This can give her more confidence. The situation can change quickly if she just meets a good friend. Be positive, it is already a good thing that she is pleased with her school now. Perhaps she is simply more dreamy, a bit introverted.
    To be shy at school and a chatbox out of school is very common.
    In fact, there is no “fun years” with kids – at least for parents. Very frequently, I hear of mums friends who speak of problems with teachers, or other worries. Frankly, as a parent, I think we are always bound to deal with issues and have to work to make our children happy.

    #963101 Reply

    She is going to be fine. When you asked your daughter, she said it’s going great. The teachers said she’s doing fine, and each kid goes at their own pace.

    And you have no idea if she really was any different at the other school. Maybe your daughter is shy and more reserved. Is that a problem? I don’t think it is. If she’s chatty with adults and kids when she’s with you, it doesn’t sound like something is wrong. Are they wearing masks? That might be part of it.

    I’d try to take a step back and not make a deal out of this. She sounds fine. It doesn’t sound like she’s lonely or unable to function socially with other children. She’s just a little shy.

    #963107 Reply

    Little kids shift constantly between being shy and gregarious. You also don’t know that your daughter wouldn’t be shy now at the old school or really that she wasn’t shy before. I wouldn’t worry about it.

    #963108 Reply

    What fyodor said. Kids go through phases. Which school she attends won’t matter much. She might be more reserved now and morph into a social butterfly next year. Or maybe not. Ask the teacher if she can facilitate the other kids including your daughter. If your daughter is happy I wouldn’t worry about it. When my almost 20yo son was in prek he didn’t participate in any of it. When they sang, danced, answered questions during storytime my son just sat there for the entire year. He wouldn’t talk to anyone. The only activity he did was sweep the floor. I was extremely worried! But by the time he went to kindergarten he acted like an average kid and participated and made friends.

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