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My four year old has trouble adjusting from school to home

He started preschool in early August and is still having a lot of trouble adjusting. He LOVES school. He has great teachers and a small classroom. His school is great and he really likes it. The problem is bringing him home. He doesn't have any trouble leaving school and is happy to see me and his little brother, but almost as soon as we get in the car the temper tantrums start. He will throw huge fits over everything, like not sitting right, or having trouble opening his water bottle, or dropping a toy. It continues most of the day after we get home as well. I am trying to be patient and understanding with him, but my husband can't stand any more temper tantrums. He only goes to school 4 days aweek, on his days off he is fine. I have tried slowly transitioning from fun, active school life to calm home life. When I pick him up we go to a park, or to get ice cream, or to a playplace. But that hasn't seemed to help much.


Asked by Anonymous at 7:55 PM on Oct. 5, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • This is more common than you know. Taking things away won't help. Ignoring won't help the situation. He is very normal. Many many many children have difficulty going from school to home each day. The transition is abrupt and for very creative and intelligent children it is hard to turn that switch. A couple things that have worked well for parents: a consistent non hurried routine. From the time he wakes up till the time he goes to bed at night create a relaxed routine. This way he knows what is coming next. Then give him five minute warnings and start the count down with four minutes we will take a bath....three.....two minutes and we will take a minute ect.. So with each new transition you are giving him the mental space to finish and complete his tasks. Before he comes in have him play outside for awhile. Go to the park, go to an indoor playground like McDonald's, go do some activity where he is


    Answer by frogdawg at 9:24 PM on Oct. 5, 2009

  • His tantrums are over just the tiniest things. Like not being able to color "right", or closing a drawer too fast. Sometimes it seems like he is throwing himself and screaming for no reason. My tactic to deal with him is mostly ignoring him, and sometimes distracting him. Which work for a while, but he soon finds something else that upsets him. I know it is normal to have trouble when starting school, but it has been nearly two months of this now. I was not expecting this to go on for so long.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:58 PM on Oct. 5, 2009

  • Take things away, like favorite games, if he does not calm down. stick to it. soon he will learn to control his feelings.

    Answer by writeon at 8:01 PM on Oct. 5, 2009

  • able to blow off the day. Or some fun indoor activity. I like laundry soccer. Take two laundry baskets and use them as goals. Then use a ball of socks as the soccer ball. Dance party in the kitchen also a fun one. Join in. Most kids do need some activity before they settle down at home. Then transition to a quieter activity. That may be a DVD while you cook, coloring at the table and chat while Dad makes dinner. Getting 10 - 12 hours of sleep at night is important for young kids. Most people make the mistake of a later bed time. Really 7:30 or 8:00 is not too early for someone still in preschool or kindergarden. A balanced diet, snuggle quiet time with reading stories....create the calm you are seeking. Model calm and it will happen. Noisey cartoons like Sponge Bob won't help. Ask him what helps him relax. Buy bubble bath for him. Get him special things for quiet time. Fun P.J.'s, music, or DVD.

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:29 PM on Oct. 5, 2009

  • And teach him to ask for help. When he gets frustrated say, "I can hear you better when you ask for help." Then show him how to ask, "Mom can you help me open this...fix this....get that..." Frustration is normal, teach him what to do that is appropriate when frustrated. My toddler knows, "Mom can you help me, I'm getting frustrated."

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:33 PM on Oct. 5, 2009