Preschool Anxiety: From Good Girl to Monster in Two Days

preschool anxieties and behavior problems

Photo by AshBayGrammy

Toddlers acting out after starting preschool or pre-K is pretty common, but one CafeMom, NutFctryHedNut, is having a particularly hard time of it with her toddler daughter.

At pick-up, the little girl threw a fit because she didn't get to ride the bus with the other kids.

As she and her mom walked to the car, she ran into the street and ignored her mom's pleas to stop.

Returning home, she's whiny, rude, and won't listen.

Any of this sound familiar? It does to me. Exhaustion and hunger are never a good combo, and that's what most toddlers are after a long day at day care or preschool. Even children who are little angels for their teachers during the day seem to save it all up and take it out on their parents.

Here's how other CafeMoms have dealt with these behavior issues successfully:


Give consequences "It sounds to me like she may just be testing boundaries. When she runs into the street, explain to her that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated because it is not safe for her, then put her in time-out."

Make a rewards chart "I went out and bought a rewards chart and some smiley face stickers. I explained to him what was on the chart and what was expected of him. Let me tell you, he has really been more like himself with this chart. It gives him something to look forward too and he really loves stickers."

Keep it quiet "I try to keep the house quiet when the kids get home. Sometimes they are just overstimulated and need a quiet place to relax."

Bring a treat "I would bring my son a snack and a juice box at pick up. I turned it into a reward: If you're good today, you get your juice box and snack, if not you only get one, and if you're bad you don't get any." If you have good reports all week and you're good for Mommy in the morning all week, I would do Friday doughnuts. It took about a month for him to get the swing of it."

Talk "Spend some time talking with her about her feelings, about how the day went, and what she might be worried about. Let her know you understand that change can be hard and you are there to talk, too."

How does the after-school pick up go for you? Is your toddler cranky and mean or delightful and well-behaved?


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