We've all been there. Tears at bedtime, tears over breakfast or, far worse, the stony little face as you fasten their coat and get ready to go out of the door.
You know you'll leave your little one in school and come away feeling like you have let them down, as if you should gather them to you and take them home again. Yet whenever you ask the teacher how your child is doing, the answer is always the same:
'Oh, they're fine! No, of course they like school. You should see them once you've gone, chattering away to their friends! There's nothing to worry about.'
Who do you trust? The trained professional who is in the same room as your child every day? Or your instinct and the anxious little face in the mornings?
And how about that same child at home time? No details of school, no great drama either. Instead, you have a small person who is glad to be going home but doesn't tell you tales of bad treatment or desperate days.
It's a quiet problem, isn't it? They might cry but pinning down reasons why is a problem. Or they don't cry and just seem unhappy, again with no dramatic reason.
How can you march into school and demand answers if you're not even sure of the questions? Is it enough to go to the teacher and say,
'I don't know what's wrong, but something is!'
Afraid of getting The Look, you hold back, or try to prise reasons out of your child as to what is wrong with school.
After all, are you just worrying over nothing? Is it the same for everyone?
No, it isn't. This is where we fall down. Other parents agree if you bring it up and say, 'Oh yes, our Amy was the same but now she's fine,' or, 'James is just as bad, he makes a fuss every day but it doesn't mean anything!'
There is a difference, you see. These parents agree with you, because all children hate school sometimes and all children are late sometimes and all children can be hard to get out of the door.
But if you feel something is wrong with your child, then trust your instinct. You might not be there in person every day, but your child is in your heart every second of every day you are alive. If you think there is a problem, there is one, no matter how small.
Talk to the teacher - really talk to them. Don't worry about being the neurotic mother or the bossy father, it's all part of having a small, vulnerable, loved little person in school.
Explain your worries, do not be put off, make the teacher aware you have real reason to feel the way you do and then see what happens.
I promise no magic fix - and the teacher shouldn't promise you one either. This is where you need to work together as people who both care for a child who needs your help. If all seems fine at school then the teacher should still want to know why your child seems unhappy to come. If you go on being unheard, take it higher or be determined until you are heard. If you carry on being unheard, there are other schools.
But if all goes well then you have the teacher's backing and help to find out what's wrong and make it right. Most teachers do want your child to be happy in school, most care and most try their best to make things right. Making sure this happens is where you come in.
So, if school says everything is fine but you're not convinced, be the hero your child knows you are, the one they look to for rescue and the person they want to be when they grow up.
Above all, be brave. This time around, you are in school as a grown up and you have the power to change things.
Everything will be fine...
©Amanda J Harrington 2015