They will cry.

It is a fact of life. Preschoolers cry.  There are many, many ways to deal with it, and I’ll just share some thoughts.

At the beginning of the year, just be ready to have a lap available at all times. I’ve read stories at group time holding someone on my lap.  Be available for the adjustment tears.

As the year goes on, you’ll have to help them develop some self-soothing skills.  If they come in teary, then (we have group time first) I smile and invite them to sit close to me, but on the floor.

Sometimes the tears are just sad tears – missing mom and dad, hurt feelings, being tired.  Then I ask if I can have a hug, then we snuggle for a bit – then find something to do together.   “Let’s put a puzzle together.”

If the tears are for a wound, I scoop them up and we get a band-aid/paper towel/drink of water, and comfort is lavished on the child.

These are all examples of ‘valid’ tears.  Now, there will be tears for other reasons, and you’ll need to handle those differently.  (When I first taught, I had a little girl would would cry and argue to get her way, and as a newbie teacher – I gave in.)  When the tears are from something other than sorrow or wounds, I ask, “Tell me why you’re upset.”  I then make sure they tell me in a big kid voice – not a crying voice.  Then we talk the problem out.

If you have a constant cryer, help them identify what they are doing.  “Ann, you are crying big tears like you scraped your knee.  Joe took your pencil.  This isn’t something that needs tears, you need to use your words.”

First year teachers, you will need to develop a thick skin.  Don’t become cold and cruel, but become immune to crying.  See the situation for what it is, and react accordingly. 

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