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My 6 year old daughter has been extremely moody in the morning ever since she started kindergarten. At first, we chalked it up to not getting up early enough to acclimate herself in the morning, then we thought it might be not getting enough sleep. We took actions for both and neither seem to be the cause.
About 50% of the time, she is just plain crabby the moment she wakes up for school (never crabby when she wakes up on the weekend at the same time of day). But even when she is happy in the house with us, her mood TOTALLY changes as we walk to the bus. She will ignore her friends, be rude to other parents, and seems to actually find a way to steer any conversation into a reason to be crabby.
I am starting to wonder if perhaps she has anxiety issues about school and morning time makes it worse. Outside of school she gets along well with friends and adults and is very social. I know you can't talk a kid out of a feeling, so I am struggling with what to do. Good thing summer is around the corner and she gets a little less crabby!
My 5 yr old son gets moody in the mornings too - he LOVES days when he gets to stay home, it almost seems like a novelty to him. On daycare (its a daycare center that is much like kingergarten) days he finds all kinds of passive and sometimes not so passive ways to delay, dealing with his attempts to thwart going to daycare is a constantly evolving process. He is still delaying once he gets there, runs away, hides, makes it impossible to take off his shoes, and if I use force he just fights back, kicking and hitting, so its constantly finding a way to hold his interest - I try not to bribe but sometimes have to entice... then once he is in the room with the other kids its like a switch happens and he plays and laughs with the other kids. He has fun all day except puts on this kind of behavior have the time during quiet/nap time - passive aggressive resistance, then when I pick him up as soon as he sees me he runs to me and hugs me like he was neglected all day then later complains about things, even embellishes and invents facts.
Perhaps at that age its just part of figuring out how to cope with the responsibilities of having more knowledge... Talking to other parents, its usually some variation of the same issues - I don't envy the amazing people (mostly women it seems) who do childcare for a living.
I agree that she might be having some anxiety surrounding school. This is less likely, but does she eat anything different for breakfast on school days than on weekends? I can be extremely moody first thing in the morning due to chronic low blood sugar.
Or maybe she's like my son. He likes having extra time in the morning to take his time, eat, relax a little before starting the day. If he gets that time, he's a morning person. If he doesn't, he's not.
Trick of the trade for me was to only wake my girls up with enough to time to get them ready and out the door.
My yougest though had some seperation anxiety. She would cry at night because of not wanting to go to school or pretend she was sick in the morning because she wanted to stay home. This took sometime to grow out of. Two years actually. Finally now in 2nd grade, she likes school and seeing her friends!!
Some of the things that we tried to help the process was a reward chart.. she received a star everyday she went to bed and got up without a problem.. at the end of the week she we counted up her stars and rewarded them. (we planned out the stars like 1start $1 -5stars - a sleepover with a friend etc) We also had made a journal where we helped her write down some fun things she did in school that day. And last, right before bed we would have a fun conversation about school nd school friends to try to help her think positive about the next day! This did help! But unfortunately it may also me a matter of her growing out of the phase.
I also agree with talking to the school. We did that as well. 1st grade was the worse for my daughter so together the teacher, school counselor and principal, with my husband and I came up with little plans during school to help my daughter.. like the one was giving her a special classroom job everday. Involve the school.. they can be helpful!!