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The Secret to Getting Your Toddler to Accept School

Once again, I have underestimated my toddler… 

Monday came around and I expected a renewed fuss from Gavin about going to school.  They say that after a weekend, you  may find yourself back at square one when trying to help your child adjust to school.  Armed with that awareness, I braced myself for Monday morning.

When Gavin began crying and protesting against going to school even before had gotten him dressed in his uniform, I feared we were in for a rough day.  I skipped the school uniform and dressed in his in favourite Thomas and Friends outfit and avoided the topic of school altogether.

Hubby and I took him to breakfast where he continued to tell us he didn’t want to go to school.  Again, I avoided the subject – I didn’t insist he had to go and I didn’t say he didn’t have to go.  I just changed the subject.

After breakfast, Gavin said he wanted to play.  “Sure,” I said.  In my mind, I thought that playing at school constituted the same thing.  Then he said he wanted to see “Ah Koh” – who is his aunty that runs the playschool he attends.  Since he seemed genuinely eager to see her, both hubby and I played it up some more.

By the time we walked over to the school, he was greeting the teachers at the door pleasantly.  When we took him upstairs, he saw another apprehensive little girl crying about having to go to school.  Innocently, Gavin turned to me and asked, “Mummy, why is she crying?”  I could have burst out laughing from the irony of it all.

Once inside the school, Ah Koh (the headmistress) said, “Okay, say ‘bye bye’.”

Gavin gave a cheerful wave and said a pleasant “goodbye” and followed her in.  I didn’t have to walk him to class (although I was in the process of removing my shoes to do so).  Hubby and I were so gobsmacked that we almost fell over ourselves trying to leave before Gavin had a change of heart.

Before this, I had almost prepared myself to expect that he would cry every morning before going to school, even if I had accepted the fact that he would be okay once at school.  Never did I imagine he would handle it so well.

When I went to pick him up from school later, the teachers informed me that he did really well that day.  Not a single tear that day.  I was so delighted by the news that I must have been grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Just in case it was one of those funny days where everything just goes right, I decided not to expect too much.  This morning, there was a mild protest about going to school.  Then I reminded him that he was going to see Ah Koh and he started talking about playing with Ah Koh at school and having banana cake (which she fed him last week). 

We walked into school and it was a repeat of the previous day’s events.  Gavin greeted everyone and went inside without needing me to go in with him.  Another cheerful goodbye from Gavin and I was free to go home without a guilty conscience.

What’s the real secret for getting your child to accept school?

Personally, I think it is having one key person that your child identifies with and looks forward to seeing everyday.  I honestly feel that Gavin’s attachment to Ah Koh at school has made a huge impact on his acceptance of school. 

If your child is having trouble adjusting to school, try to identify one person at the school that your child might respond to and work at building up that relationship.  If your child is unable to relate to anyone at the school, then perhaps a change of schools might be in order. 

Sometimes it may just be that that particular school isn’t right for your child and you may have to try other schools before gaining your child’s acceptance.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

5 thoughts on “The Secret to Getting Your Toddler to Accept School

  1. Sorry Lelik, I think I have been confused. I thought you meant you are pregnant with your first child. Didn’t realise you have another child.

    Good luck with school! How old is your older child?


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