4 Biggest Fears Moms Have About the First Day of Preschool

Mom Moment 23

preschoolAugust is here -- can you believe it's almost back-to-school time? For some of you this means a first: Your "baby's" first day in preschool. Get out your hankies, sniff! This is a big transition.

I had a lot of worries when I first sent my son to preschool. I think a lot of parents do. One thing that helped me was to write up a list of my concerns and just think each one through. So I've listed here some of the most common fears parents have for that first day of school. See if you can relate to any of these.

1. Your child is going to bawl when you leave. What if your child screams and clings to you like a barnacle and they have to pry him/her off of you with the Jaws of Life? What if he/she cries the ENTIRE time you're gone?

The crying and clinging do happen sometimes. But it gets better. Most kids snap out of it once they realize you're really gone (so don't drag out that goodbye process!). It's very rare for a child to cry all day, every day. If that really does happen, you may need to take a critical look and see if maybe the school isn't a good fit. But chances of that happening are really, really slim.

2. They're going to lose your child or let her get hurt. Some preschools have their own enclosed playground, but my son's preschool went to the public playground right across the street. Sometimes I worried they would forget him there. I'm ridiculous, I know. And what if your child is seriously injured because the staff isn't paying attention?

Relax, losing kids and allowing them to get seriously hurt is extremely rare. Your kid will get little boo-boos. You should expect the occasional scraped knee or Band-Aid. But if you're worried about bigger issues, it's a good idea to talk over your school's safety protocols just to assure yourself.

3. Your child will hate it there. For whatever reason -- what if your child hates their school? What if she cries every morning because she doesn't want to go?

This happens. But more common is that kids complain in the morning because they want to keep doing what they're doing RIGHT NOW (watching cartoons?) and just hate transitions. Once they're at preschool, they're fine. Maybe what's going on at home is just a little too fun and engaging (those cartoons) and morning time needs to be a little more focused.

4. Your kid will forget all about you and not want to leave preschool. Ha! I've seen this, too. The transition goes so well you hardly get a "goodbye" at drop off. Aww, poor mom!

This is a sign that preschool is really clicking for your child. Hooray! Someone is going to have an amazing year. Scratch that -- you both are.

What are your fears for your child's first time in preschool?


Image via kaylehew/Flickr

back to school, nursery school, toddler development


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momto... momtolittleg

I was afraid that my daughter wouldn't behave herself! She's a handful, very outgoing and frankly a bossypants. She's had her moments but for the most part does a lot better at school than at home, which is good!

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

The one thing I didn't worry about but should have was using the bathroom. At that age my son always sat down to pee because he hated holding and pointing while peeing.. Apparently this was a major issue for the teacher who insisted that in her thirty plus years of teaching preschool she had never once encountered a three year old boy that sits to pee. I don't believe that for one second because I asked around and loads of moms said their kids were sitting to pee at that stage. She said it made bathroom breaks take too long which is clearly ridiculous considering the girls presumably all sat to pee too. I don't know why she had such an issue with it but she pretty much had something against every kid in that class whether they were too noisy or too quiet or couldn't keep up or were further ahead. She's retired now thank goodness.

Foley... Foleygirl24

RhodaVeggie- my son is 3 and starting preschool in the fall, and he still sits down to pee too. It's not weird. In fact, im dreading the day we teach him to pee standing up, because I know he will think its funny that he can spray pee everywhere! All his friends who are the same age all sit to pee too. Hes still not entirely potty trained either (which we are working on) and needs to be reminded to go.

Amanda Briggs


2) To ease your worries about safety, ask, ask, ask! And if asking doesn't give you answers you like, or worse, no answers at all, find a different school!

3) You're dead on about morning routine. If the problem is the child doesn't want to get up in the morning, put them to bed earlier and get them up earlier. I know for me personally, I need to wake up slowly, so my alarm gets set earlier. Same thing can work for kids. Ask your child why they don't like school. If there is a specific reason, talk to the teacher, work it out if possible. If they can't give you a reason, it's more likely they are just balking at the transition. Ask the teacher how the child seems to like school, often that can give you insight too.

4) Just as I tell my students when a parent is running a little late for pick up that "I have NEVER had a mommy or daddy not come back" I have never had a child who 'forgot' their parent. Usually they are ecstatic to share their day with you. And should they not want to leave, it's most likely it's because they are having such a good time being there, and has nothing to do with their feelings about YOU. Just let them know they'll get to come back again and ask them about what they did that day that was so fun.

Hope this helps any parents out there that are nervous about that first day!


Amanda Briggs


I'm a preschool teacher. Have been for 11 years.

The sitting to pee thing for boys... totally normal at that age and even for another year (or more depending on the child). And for the teacher who has to clean the bathroom, we'd much prefer they sit!

The behaving worry can be very real. But if I had a dime for every time I heard a parent say "Are you sure you've got the right kid?" when I tell them what a good kid they have, I wouldn't need that pay check I get (of course I'd still WANT it, esp since I now have a son of my own, but I wouldn't NEED it ;) ) Kids generally behave far better for others than their own parents. I, as their new teacher, am still an unknown, they don't know how far they can push it with me. You as the parent, are very well known and they are constantly pushing it with you.

#1 Yes, your child might cry. But honestly, the BEST thing you can do is hand them to the teacher, give them a kiss, tell them they will have a great time, and that you will be back soon, and then LEAVE. And not just go out the door, but get in your car and drive away. I realize this can be hard. But you, the parent, are the audience. And without an audience there will be no performance. Most children calm down within minutes and are soon having a ball. Where I work, if the child continues, and seems to be truly distressed, we call. We want school to be fun, and if we feel it is actually traumatic, we'll let you know, asap.

Amanda Briggs

sorry that's reversed... somehow the first time I tried to post the first half, it didn't go..

mamivon2 mamivon2

I was more worried that my son wouldnt behave or listen very well.. with my daugther that she would shut down and not take part in games and other activites

nonmember avatar Helice Koplin

Don't worry, Moms! Many of us preschool teachers are moms first, and we treat your children like they're our own. And once they get involved in something in the classroom, they're fine! And sometimes they even cry when it's time to leave. As a parent, I can tell you that it's harder on you than the kids (most of the time), honest! So, enjoy this milestone and the break you'll have while your child is having fun!

nonmember avatar Jess

My daughter is 5 1/2 soon to be 6 I'm a single mom and she is my first. I'm afraid that the other children may be mean to her, and I'm afraid of how she will feel, I want her to feel comfortable and confident

Danielle Hart-Morrow

My baby is 3 and starting pre-k on the 13th. I'm not really nervous about anything, I just don't want to let my baby girl go!! I know it's just pre-k, and its only for a few hours, but still....:(

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