“Mom – I don’t want to go to kindergarten anymore”
“Mom – I don’t want to go to kindergarten anymore” – a sentence many parents are afraid of. “I would rather be with my family.” These were the original words of my daughter about two months ago. I think it was on a Sunday night before going to bed. When I heard that, all the alarm bells were ringing for me. Of course, I asked why she did not want to go to kindergarten, but I played it down and said something like, “Oh, rubbish – you love your kindergarten and you want to see your friends again…” no reaction, and we did not go deeper into the topic.
The private kindergarten
Our daughter is now 4.5 years old. At the age of eighteen months, we got her accustomed to kindergarten/daycare. She goes to a private facility in the next neighboring village. The journey takes 10 – 15 minutes depending on traffic. At that time we had no other choice because the childminders were all booked out and urban kindergarten places were not given until August (irrespective of having no influence on the choice of kindergarten).
The company I worked for went bankrupt during my parental leave with our first child. It was difficult to move from this situation to a new job. Who wants a young mother, who will probably be soon be pregnant again with a sibling for the first child. At some point it worked out, but I had to start in June with a full job. It was actually planned that I work part-time. For the acclimation phase of my daughter in the daycare we took 6 weeks. It actually went quite smoothly. At 18 months, the children are in my experience, not as difficult to get used to daycare as two-year olds can be. That’s why we did it the same way with our son at the beginning of this year. Luckily, I was allowed to reduce my work time to 20 hours with two children.
A private kindergarten is a financial burden. No question at all. My husband and I have always said that we value the money and that we do not want to tear our daughter out of her usual environment to save money. We could have safely moved to an urban kindergarten last year or this year. But our daughter went every day with great joy in her kindergarten. Even though I sometimes picked her up late, she was never sad. That was a great blessing for us. You do not give that up so easily. Especially since the nursery is open during the holidays and there are no problems with strikes.
All at once everything is different
Maybe lately we have said too many times how grateful we are that we have no problems with the kindergarten. From acquaintances and friends we hear again and again about worries and unpleasant stories around the topic daycare. Suddenly, we are facing a much bigger problem because, as far as we know, there is no reason why our girl would like to stay home at one point. The educators are all nice, the children are all from a good home, the care is very personal. If the food does not taste, there are extra sausages with ketchup. So what is going on for heaven’s sake?
I watch my daughter while picking her up and imagine that she is often alone in the group and no longer plays with the other children. In fact, she tells my husband that the friends do not want to play with her anymore: “The only one who never says no is Filip.” I discuss this with my husband and we suspect that it might have something to do with the departure of Charlotte. Last December, our daughter’s best friend changed to another kindergarten. One who is closer to the place of residence of the family and in addition costs from 3 years onwards nothing. I can understand the step, and the child has put up with the change quite well. Since then, Charlotte is actually still present every day in our conversations. Sometimes I say to our daughter that Charlotte is not in her kindergarten anymore when she invents stories again. Otherwise, one should let the children just believe their stories and imagination. If they are not telling bad lies, parents can just play the game and take the story seriously.
When our girl almost starts to cry in the car one morning and puts on slippers while clinging to her dad, we decided to become active. I asked for a development interview with the head of the day-care center and the responsible governess. These conversations are not conducted by default for each child, but whoever demands it, gets an appointment immediately.
The development talk
On purpose we didn’t start the conversation with our problems, but have first let the teachers speak. I had already imagined different courses of this appointment, but it turned out quite differently. No one has noticed a big change in our daughter’s behavior. It would be hard for her to focus on one thing and stick to rules. That was not new to us. But that’s why she had to take a so-called “break” more often recently and sit quietly at the table with a puzzle i.e.. She never told us at home. Maybe she did not like that. Otherwise, she was always happy and would actually be very open to all children. That Charlotte is gone, the educators didn’t see as a problem at all. To our surprise, the two girls had not played so much together during their time together in kindergarten – so said the teachers. Sometimes the children fantasize a lot together. Anyway, we left the conversation with a good feeling and a calmer soul. The educators have encouraged us to deal more consistently with compliance with rules at home – example eating manners. At the age of four, the children are constantly testing their limits. Our daughter had such nice eating manners and now everything is over. We’re really talking constantly and foolishly about it, but we’re not the types who write down rules and distribute penalties for non-compliance, or reward for following them.
Playdates in the afternoon
The next time I pick the kids up from kindergarten, I make two playdates with the children, whom I think our daughter really likes. Only then did I realize that we had not had any other children to play with us for a long time. Since the arrival of the little brother, there was not much room for it. If the kindergarten is open until 3 pm and three days are filled with program such as gymnastics, dancing and swimming, you almost get leisure time stress. Of course, it’s all just a matter of organization.
Our daughter was very much looking forward to the upcoming play meetings with kindergarten friends. From morning to morning there was suddenly no complaining that she would rather stay home with me and her brother. Thank god, because I was about to get back into my job. That our son is now in the same kindergarten has also helped a lot. The big sister is allowed to join him now in the dwarf group and then go to the giant group herself.
Everything back to normal
Sometimes things get solved on their own. Often I worry too much about everything. But it is important to listen to the children, to take their problems seriously and to follow up on them. At the age of 4 children have to deal with a lot of new emotions, which is maybe sometimes just too much to cope with. Then they need even more love and security from home. The conversation with the kindergarten teachers – not between the deadlock, but with time between 4 eyes in the office – was a great help and relief for us. Yesterday a kindergarten friend visited us again. Today is grandparents day. On Sunday, both children will hopefully be looking forward to a new kindergarten week again!
Do you have similar experiences with this topic? Tell me!