Please help me, oh wise and knowing Amalah. I have read the entire internet and have no idea what to do next.

My son, who turned 3 in June, started preschool about a week ago and the transition has gone… not well. Every morning has been at least an hour of tears and clutching hugs and a series of heartbreaking comments about missing Daddy snuggles or being a little too little to go to school. He cries as I drive him to school, carry him in to his classroom, sign him in, leave the classroom and blow kisses at the good-bye window. His teachers say he listens and participates, but stays teary throughout the day. Even his sleep is interrupted by little crying jags.

Here’s what we’ve tried to do so far to help him adjust:

  • Leading up to the first day, we read books and watched a few TV shows about going to school (LLama LLama Misses Mama, Daniel Tiger, etc.)
  • We visited his classroom twice before school started so he could meet his teachers and see all the COOL STUFF that happens at preschool.
  • We let him help pick out fabric for a nap blanket that has ties around the edges just like his lovey at home.
  • I’ve tried to be cool and confident at drop off and reassure him that he’s in a safe place and mommy or daddy will be back at the end of the day.
  • We’ve talked a lot about his feelings. We’ve told him that’ it’s normal to be a little nervous while he adjusts to something new, and tried to give him quick coping techniques for the moments he feels sad (we store kisses in his pockets, tell him he can tell his teacher or a friend how he’s feeling, remind him play with the awesome Legos in his classroom, etc.)

At this point I don’t know if we’re reinforcing his sadness by giving it too much attention, or if we’re cold-hearted monsters who are doing irreparable damage to our kid’s psyche by continuing to make him go. I need perspective. Is this normal? Should we be changing our approach? How do we snap out of a routine of sadness?

Thank you so much!
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