The day my son turned four was also his first day of preschool. He was excited, nervous and anxious. The program consisted of five half days per week. He enjoyed the curriculum but interacting with others decreased.

My concerns grew as the year progressed. Our morning routine included arguments about the importance of school. His teacher, new friends and the entire experience were overwhelming. His resistance became a weekly habit.

During our end of the year review, his teacher strongly suggested repeating preschool. Although he passed the academic test to move forward, interacting is essential. My husband and I were concerned about what his reaction would be. We heavily discussed the pros and cons.


    • He’ll be the oldest, which can be an advantage.
    • We can focus on building his social development.
    • Learning to make new friends in preschool is encouraged.


    • Cousins and classmates would advance without him.
    • He might be bored academically.
    • He’s in a vulnerable mindset.

After much consideration, he returned to preschool the following year. We designed a plan, with his teacher, to teach him how to interact. For the first month, we encouraged him to make a new friend daily. During dinner time, we discussed who he met and what he discovered about them.

His teacher created a “big helper” job. He felt responsible for being on time to class. We attended birthday parties, providing him opportunities to socialize. His self-esteem improved.

Biweekly he invited a friend over. For an hour and a half, they played, laughed and explored. It was great! He enjoyed giving tours of our home and sharing his favorite snack. While hilarious to witness, it was humble to watch him progress.

The more we committed to my son’s social development, he flourished. Today, he’s six and in kindergarten. I’m happy to report he’s getting in trouble for talking too much. Oh, the wonderful joys of parenting!

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Crystal Horton is the author of “Stretch Marks, A Mother’s Journey To Awareness.”

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