What It Really Means When Children Start Crying at Preschool

preschool separation anxiety tips for teachers

A child crying at preschool is common, but that does not mean it is unavoidable. There is always a cause, and as an early childhood educator, there are tips you can use to help stop the tears.

Every preschool teacher will deal with crying in their classroom at some point. Children cry for a number of reasons, but the two main causes are high levels of sensitivity and separation anxiety. There are preschool separation anxiety tips for teachers who want to help sensitive students and make the classroom a welcoming place. The following information will help you understand why a child is crying at preschool and what you should do to bring a smile to their face.

Recognizing a Sensitive Preschooler

Crying at preschool can be a sign that a child by nature is emotionally sensitive, making them much more easily upset by things that might not affect other kids. Sensitive children feel sadness faster and are more likely to have anxiety. Classroom triggers for these kids include large groups, loud sounds, and criticism.

Highly sensitive children can be more stubborn than their preschool classmates and may also not understand situations at times. They could take discipline from a teacher more seriously than they should or get upset by situations that might seem less important to everyone else. A child who is feeling all of this can quickly be overwhelmed and respond by crying at preschool.

Helping a Sensitive Preschooler

Sensitive children sometimes become frustrated by a lack of choices. As a teacher, you are expected to provide your preschool students with structure. But it is possible to help sensitive kids feel like they have control over what is happening around them. One simple method is asking them what they think about certain activities. You can also give them a variety of options to choose from when it comes to activities or projects.

If a sensitive preschooler does not understand a situation, tears can follow when the problem is not resolved. To prevent this type of crying at preschool, you can check in regularly to make sure they are caught up with the rest of your class. If they understand what is happening around them, they are much less likely to feel overwhelmed. You can also ask parents to share if the child arrives home upset so the teacher can address the cause in the classroom.

Recognizing a Preschooler with Separation Anxiety

Anxiety is common when it comes to new experiences, and the first days of preschool are full of unfamiliar places, people, and rules. While many kids might be excited about the new sense of independence, the change can make saying goodbye to parents a tearful event. Taking the time to recognize signs of separation anxiety can help you understand why a child is upset. Children dealing with separation anxiety can experience clinginess, temper tantrums, and crying.

Helping a Preschooler with Separation Anxiety

Children often feed off the emotions of the people around them. This is particularly true when it comes to their parents. Separation anxiety in children can actually be linked to their parents’ anxiety about a child starting preschool. Discussing this with the parents of preschoolers is very important. They might not realize or even want to admit it, but their behavior can worsen or even create separation anxiety in their children. Bring up the subject and offer ways that parents can help to resolve the crying at preschool.

Preschool separation anxiety tips that teachers can share with parents include being confident when dropping children off, maintaining positive body language, and sticking to a quick-leave routine in the morning. Planning visiting days to allow children to explore a new classroom with a parent nearby can also prevent separation anxiety when school starts.

If you are an early childhood educator interested in courses that will help you handle classroom conflicts like crying at preschool, contact Naptime Academy at 844-435-7682. Register for classes as an individual or part of a group. You can also subscribe to our state-approved training to earn your state-required clock hours.