to really worry about my daughter starting school even though she will be nearly 5? :-(

(18 Posts)
Worriedlisa Sun 14-Feb-16 18:15:27

Shamelessly posting her as posted in parenting before and not many responses.
My daughter will turn 5 mid September so she will be one of the very eldest, if not the eldest in her year.
She has a sibling at the school she will be attending although they will not share the playground at lunchtimes etc.
She is bright, articulate and enjoys learning. She is independent, has been toilet trained since 2 years old and dresses herself fully, tights and all and has done since aged 3.
However, emotionally she is the complete opposite.
She wouldn't dream of initiating play with another child at a park etc although is always more than happy to join in once the contact is made, she has been at pre school for the last year on and off as we moved home however has never really enjoyed it like my son did, she does it ( sometimes fine going in but more recently has had tears before and during ) and again plays with others if they play with her but would much rather just be with me.
Is this common? My son was so completely different and always really enjoyed socialising with other children, ones he knew as well as the ones he didnt and apart from a few tears on his very first day of school ( which was a full school day as they don't do gradual entry ) he is happy to be left at extra activities such as gymnastics etc whereas she has been tearful at swimming lessons, asking for me even though I am right there at the side watching her.
I've tried to ask her what's the matter and how she feels and she says she just misses me, that she likes to me close to me and that she feels sad when I'm not there.
I don't know if the school preparation pre school are doing is making it worse as it's getting worse the older she gets.
I'm a working mum but generally the kids are only left with my husband as he works from home or grandparents once in a blue moon as they aren't local so they haven't really " had " to be left with anyone.
I'm just getting rather concerned with how she is going to cope with the long days away from me at school, we tried increasing them at pre school to get her ready but by 1pm she was tired and tearful so they advised we stop and maybe try again after Easter.
I feel like the school will expect a lot of her given she's one of the eldest and they are really dead against part time entry ( not sure why? ) although I know my rights and if I really think it would help, until January she could attend part time but I don't know if that would help or hinder.
I'm just hoping others have been through this and can guide me maybe? Thanks smile

Wardrobespierre Sun 14-Feb-16 18:21:30

My DS will be 5 and 1 day when he starts. He won't be ready though. He's everything you describe in your dd. Capable, bright, able. But he's got terrible separation anxiety and is a slave to fatigue and hunger. His big sister is summer born and was more than ready. Never worried a jot.

I think I am putting faith in the school. I like and trust them. He won't be the first to not be ready.

Same as you it's full time straight away and separate playground or lunch to his big sister.

We've got a few months yet too.

Do you see how calm I am. DO YOU?grin

mummymeister Sun 14-Feb-16 18:21:54

sorry to be blunt but you have 2 choices. either she goes to school or you home educate. that's it really.

If she is going to formal school then she will have to cope and so will you. its up to you to make her feel secure at school and happy and not to pander to any of these tears at the end of the day.

if she is your youngest then she might be picking up from you that you are anxious for her and this makes it worse.

personally, I would send her at the right time and see how it goes. I don't hold with this staggered entry either as it means the last kids in are coming in to a very settled environment where friendship bonds have already been made.

RatherBeRiding Sun 14-Feb-16 18:33:00

Have to agree with mummy - there really is little choice.

It's hard that she's anxious but you really mustn't feed that anxiety without meaning to or realising that's what you're doing.

Be reassuring when you leave her somewhere, but be calm, matter of fact and firm. Tell her it's for "x" amount of time and you will be back to pick her up then.

Some children become independent and socially confident very quickly, and others don't. But independence and social confidence are valuable life skills, and hopefully she will settle into school quickly and start to enjoy it. Rest assured, school will have seen plenty of anxious starters and will be well able to deal with it.

Maybe the best thing would be to be very matter of fact about her starting school, but not to make a big thing of it - not to over-prepare her for it as that might make the anxiety worse IYSWIM. Are there any other children she knows who will be starting at the same time?

Worriedlisa Sun 14-Feb-16 20:15:46

Thanks for the replies.
I am always very positive and upbeat about it all although inside my heart is saying don't push her before she's ready or it could get a whole lot worse. I do ensure she isn't aware of my feelings though.
I agree in maybe not over preparing her for the whole school thing, we did the opposite with my son, drove past the school lots, had the uniform well in advance all that kind of stuff which he loved but maybe not the best way to play it with her.
She is my youngest but there are only 19 months between her and her brother so not a massive amount and as she's quite ahead they're almost at a similar level academically just a massive difference personality wise

VagueIdeas Sun 14-Feb-16 20:21:00

My DD turns five in mid September as well.

I'm so worried (PFB!) because she hates using the toilet away from home and would rather hold it. I also worry about her negotiating play times and lunchtimes when she'll just be one of 30 and won't have the sort of close supervision she gets at her small preschool.

But September is a long way away. I'm sure she'll be more than ready even if I won't be. But the toileting is my biggest worry.

MooPointCowsOpinion Sun 14-Feb-16 20:23:34

I worried about my girl too, she was 5 before school started and so so bright, but a total clingon too (in a lovely, sweet way).

She is thriving. We talked about school a fair bit, she was excited to go, but I was sure she would find it harder than she did. She did half days for two weeks and then went full time.

When your dd's teacher starts the settling in process with home visits or forms to complete about your dd, I'd really highlight your concerns and give them a chance to explain how they will manage it. Then you can decide if you need to insist on half days for a few weeks.

She might just dislike pre-school. Could you stop her from going? A few months of reassurance at home, with some hour long groups to practise social skills, could really build a foundation of confidence in herself.

omama Sun 14-Feb-16 20:27:42

OP she may just surprise you. My DS started full time school as the youngest in his year at just turned 4 years. Similar to your dd, was academically bright but struggled with playing with peers and with separation from me. We expected sobbing & crying yet his first week at school he was so excited & went in with no tears. Had a wobble the second week which lasted about a fortnight, then he has mostly gone in fine, though he may still become a bit uneasy after a long break eg school holidays. He's now in year 1, has so much more confidence & has formed friendships in a way that I never expected, which is lovely to see. Hth

Worriedlisa Sun 14-Feb-16 21:04:26

Thankyou again for the further replies.
To the OP who asked if she could leave pre school, yes she could as we don't use it for childcare but a few of the children are going onto the same school so for that reason I thought it would be better to carry on.
At the moment she is not attending Monday and Fridays 9-12.

Haggisfish Sun 14-Feb-16 21:09:33

My dd was ( and still is) very similar. If I drop her off at scho she cries and clings. Anyone else-off she skips! She's in y1 now. First four weeks at reception were quite hard-she got tired. bUT she loved her teacher and was fine about five minutes after I left. She still prefers to have me around. Your dd will be fine, I'm sure.

Babymamamama Sun 14-Feb-16 21:11:10

Try not to over analyse it. She may get on better than you expect. You could read her some books about starting school. Could you have some one to one play dates with some children who will be going into her year? My dd was the same. Reserved with strangers and quite bright. She held back in reception in terms of making new friends but further on through school now her confidence has developed and she's so much more outgoing.

PeteHornberger Sun 14-Feb-16 21:25:06

We are in a similar situation, our DD will turn 5 2 weeks after the new term starts and she is everything you describe. Mitigating my worry slightly is the fact that she's been in the nursery class of the school (that she'll hopefully be going to!) and she's thriving there. She can sometimes be teary at drop-off though. I'm assuming this isn't an option for you? We moved her from her pre-school so she could attend the nursery class precisely because she struggles with being away from me and takes time to settle in.

Our school also doesn't do any staggered "longer" days, they go straight into a full day come September. I'm concerned as to how my DD will cope with this but the school are very sanguine about it so I'm putting my trust in them basically - they have a lot more experience with this than I do! When I asked they said they do make allowances for those that struggle, even if they need a nap etc, they just let them sleep grin

As a PP poster said, it's either this or home ed and as that is most def not an option in our case, we'll just have to suck it and see...

clairemum22 Sun 14-Feb-16 21:25:35

My son was very clingy. Wasn't happy doing any activities on his own. Wanted to be with me. Didn't really make any friends at nursery. Cried at nearly all the drop - offs. Wouldn't talk at the school induction sessions. Loved reception and has never looked back. Made friends and was happy there. He liked the structure of school. Please don't worry she might really surprise you.

Guacamowle Sun 14-Feb-16 21:27:31

My middle child was the same - very clingy and introverted - he is now a musician playing to huge crowds!! I know how difficult it is - I felt awful leaving him, but honestly, he did settle once I had gone and his teacher was wonderful at supporting him ( and me!!) My DS was quiet and a worrier until he went to secondary - he is still a sensitive soul and that comes through in the lyrics of his songs. Like your DD he tended to play alongside rather than initiate games, but he made friends and did enjoy school, just in a different way from his more confident big brother. Share your worries with her teacher - the teacher will have come across personalities like hers before and will take good care of her.

Jw35 Sun 14-Feb-16 22:00:45

You've moved! Transitions are hard for children, that could be all it is! I moved with my dd to a new area when she was 5, she was very clingy for a while. Please don't worry about 'pandering to it' just do what you need to do to help her feel secure. Going to school full time is another big transition. Yanbu but she will have to go so just try and be there for her emotionally as much as poss. No harm in part time until January if you think that will help (my dd also had a September birthday)

madamginger Sun 14-Feb-16 22:41:43

My ds2 is exactly the same, he started school 2 days before his 5thbirthday.
He still struggles now sad and every day asks if he has to go to school that day.
He seems to enjoy it when he's there and has lots of friends but he just wants to play and not do the school work.
He does have a speech problem and is having speech therapy so I think I worry about him more because of it.

Worriedlisa Wed 17-Feb-16 10:57:43

I honestly don't think the move is a part of it, she was like it before.
Even at places that I'm there with her she needs to be close to me every so often to feel happy enough to carry on.
I just feel awful for the shock of school, I don't want to argue with the school ( that's what it will be at the head is so against part time hours ) for mornings only but I am very concerned.
I'm a little worried by just doing mornings however she will miss out of firm friendships though sad

MiaowTheCat Wed 17-Feb-16 12:13:59

They change so much over the space of a month or so at this age that I refuse to worry about DD1 who will start in September as well.

I'm HOPING they change so much over the space of a month or so - because if she doesn't change out of this whining phase very very soon my eardrums may explode!

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