Behavior Changes When Starting School

Starting School

My daughter started Pre-K last month and she absolutely loves it. I was a little worried before she started about how she would adjust because she has been at home with me for about the last year and a half. She surprised me though and has never been hesitant about leaving me for the day. Actually, it’s the complete opposite. As soon as we walk through the doors she runs to her class without a glance back. I chase her down and plea for a hug and kiss goodbye. Can’t you pretend you’re going to miss your mommy just a little bit?

As hard as it is to see my little girl being so independent, I’m so grateful that she is so enthusiastic about school. She is making new friends and learning so much. I am amazed at how much she has learned in such a short amount of time.

Behavior Changes

Something happened that first couple weeks of school that I wasn’t quite prepared for though. Along with numbers, letters, cutting and using glue she was learning some other things too.

Her behavior was changing, especially when she didn’t get her way. My baby girl was throwing tantrums and had a temper in what seemed like overnight. Even her eating habits had changed and we were having issues at dinner time. When Your Toddler Won’t Eat at Dinner

Before now when she would get upset she would cry and protest, but this was totally different. She was screaming “No!” and stomping her feet. She was suddenly yelling at us to get her way.

What happened to my little girl? Why this sudden change in behavior? It broke my heart; this was not my sweet Zoey.

The Revelation

During one of her breakdowns I noticed something. It was almost as if she was trying too hard. Like she was imitating something that wasn’t quite authentically her.

There is my answer, I thought to myself. She must be seeing kids acting like this at school and now she is trying it out for herself. She was testing the boundaries.

The next day I asked her teacher about her behavior and willingness to follow directions.  Thankfully, I found that she is very good at school, so she must just being trying this new behavior out at home.

We decided we had to get on top of this new development and put an end to it. I had to make it very clear that this is not okay, before this attitude was more than just an experiment. I was scared it would be difficult and she would push back. This was completely new territory for us.

For about the next week she continued to have outbursts that were very unlike herself. We would tell her that acting like that wasn’t going to help her get her way and send her to her room. Though we could see that it was getting better, we didn’t ease up. By the end of the week, she had been in her room A LOT and at least half of her toys were put up until the tantrums stopped.

Getting Back to Normal

It was a gradual change back to her normal behavior. We had good and bad days. Certain things would set set her off and I would think, great back to square one. Eventually though, through persistence and some tears the behavior change that made me cringe was gone. I think she finally realized that we weren’t going to reward her behavior and it wasn’t any fun getting in trouble all the time. I truly believe it also helped that it was just so unlike her that she had to put some real effort into it. It was exhausting being so bad!

Now we’re a little over a month into school and completely back to our normal routine. I’m so glad we took care of the situation before it got any worse and while it was still so easy to redirect her actions.

I’m definitely not saying we have a perfect child, but now her behavior is back to being her (whether that behavior be good or bad). I just want to keep my little girl being true to her own character and personality. Bad habits and attitudes are going to be picked up when a child starts being around other kids in school. As she gets older the challenges are going to become even more difficult with the pressure of fitting in. I just hope as she ages she picks the right friends and always knows that that it is okay to be her own person. I really hope that I can instill that in her.

There are enough followers in this world, so we are doing our best to start now raising a leader.

Behavior Changes When Starting School



2 thoughts on “Behavior Changes When Starting School

  1. We’ve had similar problems in the past when our kids have gone to a new school or grade, and suddenly get exposed to new (bad) behavior from other kids. You handled this perfectly, though, and it sounds as if you’ve effectively dealt with it – brava! (This is also what we’ve tried in the past, with similar results. 🙂 )

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