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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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My three year old gets very upset at school when he is not

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My three year old gets very upset at school when he is not picked first and when someone takes his seat. I mean full blown crying. What are ways we can solve this?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. I am sorry to hear your son's situation. He is only 3 year-old and started attending school. Once he starts school, he and other children have to learn COOPERATIVE PLAY, sharing, and taking turns. Possibly, he may have had conflict with another child who does not take turns. It is teacher's job for three year-olds to learn these skills in school. You may need to start teaching him for these skills in home as well.

You can encourage him to listen - what others are saying – for example, “Your sister still wants to play with the toy. Can you wait for 15 minutes? ” If his sibling or friend does not want to share it with him, "You can play with that for a few more minutes, but please let him know as soon as you're done so that he can have a turn, too."

Other children may need to SHARE their toys with him when they finish using them. You can teach him and his sibling to TEKE TURNS when two wants to play with the same toy. You also can tell him to say thank you to his sibling or others when they share their toys. All children including him and his classmates need to learn GOOD SOCIAL BEHAVIOR – listen, wait, share, take turns by 5. But your son is only 3 year-old, so be patient and supportive in this learning.



Please let me know if I have overlooked any or you have more questions. Dr. Olsen

Edited by Dr. Olsen on 10/1/2010 at 5:22 PM EST
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Is there any way to help stop the full blown crying?
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
It sounds your son is expressing his big feelings - likely anger. Perhaps, he may also does not want to be in school at times. He may be crying to tell you such feelings. All you can do to talk to and provide empathy and comfort to him. You can tell him that you know he is upset and hurt and hold him in an empathetic and loving manner.You may also distract him from his feelings to his pleasurable activity such as favorite play or toys after talking to and cuddling him.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you. He cries to go to school everyday. Should I tell the teachers to try to be empathetic with him when he gets upset instead of trying to put him in a time out or carrying him out of the room or making me come and pick him up? There was a little boy who was not sharing or taking his toys. He is another teacher's child. I think my son feels that he is the only one they are saying no to that is why he gets so uncontrollably upset. Is there any other way to help with the anger?
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Hi- I would tell teacher to be more empathetic with his feelings instead of using negative reinforcement techniques (time-out, punishment). It is a bit difficult for your son to be in this situation. His teacher should treat children equally! Perhaps, you may need to give him more positive reinforcement (verbal praise for his patience and sharing, telling him he is a good kid to give a char to another boy, more fun time at home etc. ) to compensate his negative experience in school so far. He may need to feel positive about self because of his patience and anger management.

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