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leaving my 4 yo sobbing every time I take her to pre-school?

(35 Posts)

It has been going on for a couple of months now (before and after Christmas break).

dd2 has been going to this pre school since she was 3 and is one of the older girls now as she has an autumn birthday. She settled in well initially the September before last and was very happy going. Then I got Pnuemonia and was hospitalised for a week and basically out of action for a month. This distressed her and she was unwilling to go for a few weeks after I was back home, understandable. The pre-school handled it brilliantly, I have a good relationship with the staff, trust them and dd2 was happily skipping in again after a few wobbles and all was fine until this Nov/ Dec.

Dd2 was ill before Christmas with Chicken pox and I had to keep her off BB's until she was no longer infectious, I did take her in before I realised she had chicken pox , when she seemed a little out of sorts but there were no outward signs of illness. Since then she has sobbed and clung to me each time I take her in, initially it was hysterical wailing and she had to be prised from me by a patient key worker. Now it is quiet sobbing and dd2 looks at me like I am abandoning her in a warehouse full of zombies instead of a place where she plays with her friends and has fun. Heartbreaking.

I would not take her if I did not KNOW for a fact that she does have fun while she is there plays with her friends makes pictures, sings, dances and generally has a good time.

So how do I convince dd2 to leave me happily, what am i doing wrong, is it one of those things where time is the only healer? Why has my happy confident little girl turned into a sobbing cling-on? I am not used to it, as her older siblings happily skip off to school or whereever without a back ward glance - most of the time.

Am I torturing the child? I feel especially guilty as I am not off at wrk I use the time to do stuff I need to at home, shopping etc. and so I don't have to send her to pre-school - though for my sanity and her benefit I really think it is wise.

DumSpiroSpero Mon 28-Jan-13 13:09:36

Are the staff keeping an eye on the situation re the persistent child/ren?

I can see where you are coming from re it being an excuse to not go, but I can still clearly remember a child that did this to me on my first day at nursery school - they literally followed me around all morning all morning, asking me what my name was over and over again and I was absolutely terrified. By the time my mum came to pick me up I was virtually hysterical and she didn't take me back.

Obviously not quite the same, but might be an idea not to underestimate how distressing this can be for a small child who, for whatever reason, is not in the right frame of mind to cope with it.

I think I do 'boring' at home pretty well Callin grin dd2 was always asking when we were going out, what are we doing today? 'Am I going to 'pre-school' today?' and prior to November she would have a tantrum if I said she wasn't going to pre-school! Which is why the about face has been so confusing I suppose - her illness has been the trigger and I just hope she can get back to truly enjoying her life very soonsad

socharlotte Mon 28-Jan-13 13:18:39

I think it's a combination of habit, attention-seeking and that she is starting to grow out of pre-school a bit it

Dumspiro - I have spoken to the staff and they are keeping an eye on this and I am continuing to ask - but different names and issues come up, there is one boy she is not keen on as he calls her by an affectionate sounding nickname she does not like (it is innocuous enough but not of her choosing) - but there is no one child with which she consistently seems to have a problem with. It is not so much what she has to deal with more how she is currently dealing with things iyswim? I am trying to be proactive now as I genuinely thought she would be fine once she settled back after christmas.

That could be it Charlotte - my ds was at school shortly after his 4th birthday, dd2 will be nearly 5. I do think despite the upset she is ready for school in many ways as having older siblings means she is very familiar with the concept already. That is out of my control though.

Mumsyblouse Mon 28-Jan-13 13:49:49

My dd1 went through this when she started school, initially all fine, then after a few weeks, lots of clinging and sobbing and even an escape attempt which made me feel just terrible.

I kind of went for a carrot/stick approach after about two weeks of this torture, I told her that she was a big girl now and did have to go to school, but if she was really good and didn't fuss or cry, I'd come into the classroom for a few minutes in the morning and look at one thing, then leave. If she cried/fussed/threw herself on the floor, I'd have to leave immediately with the teacher (which the teacher agreed with anyway as a strategy). So, she got a reward (time with me) as a result of being well-behaved, and this really worked for her, no issues since. Perhaps this seems a bit cruel, but the school didn't want me hanging about if she was crying anyway.

Perhaps your dd is a bit young for this approach, but it worked for us.

Mumsyblouse Mon 28-Jan-13 13:50:40

Sorry, I should have said 'leave her immediately with the teacher'.

quoteunquote Mon 28-Jan-13 14:06:07

every single day when you pick her up ask the question, "So, what were the best bits and worse bit today'? (in that order and those words)

and listen to the answers, then talk about them, do this every single day, and two things happen, one what ever they are going through, they know they will have a chance to talk about it later, and they gradually realise that there always good bit and bad bits, so focus on the good.

it really works, it also helps the child to form a way of conveying the day, if you ask ,"What did you do to day?" it's far to open ended for a child to diagnose, so you get,"nothing" in reply.

NUFC69 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:27:01

I hate to say this but my DD did this every morning until she was 7! She was ok for the first couple of weeks when I left her at school, but it went downhill from there. And it's all very well knowing that they are happy within five minutes of you leaving, it doesn't stop you feeling wretched. I wouldn't like to say how many times I arrived home after the school run and burst into tears.

There is Karma, though, she now has a son and he plays her up when she leaves him at nursery.

picking dd2 up today she was far from the clingy girl of this morning. she ran straight to the playground with her gang of feral fellow 3 and 4 yo's, chasing the boys and yelling etc. no signs of trauma. Suffering a hug from me happily pulling away to run off again.confused

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