to force DD to go to preschool?

(43 Posts)
manateeandcake Mon 10-Oct-16 13:24:27

I don't think I am but posting here for traffic as DH and I are at our wits' end.

DD is nearly 4, normally happy and confident though also strong-willed and emotional. In September she started in the preschool/nursery class of our local primary; full time place i.e. 9am-3pm. It appears to be a lovely place. She knew for months she was going there and was excited. Previously, she had been attending a local nursery for first 2, then 3 days a week. She'd gone through periods of being upset at drop off there but was basically very settled. We didn't anticipate any major problems with the change.

During settling in at the new school, she was quite clingy and unsure about me leaving, but also obviously enjoying exploring and getting to know the teachers. Several friends from her old nursery are in her new class. It was all done gradually and although she would be upset at the moment of me or DH leaving, we were assured that she cheered up immediately. Then she went through a period of saying goodbye fairly happily with a wave and smile.

Then suddenly last week, she started refusing to go in the morning. This coincided with her having a cold and sore throat, but her temperature was normal and she was lively at home so we decided she should still go. Since then, it has taken us 25 - 40 minutes to get here there (a 5 minute walk normally). Her throat is now fine, by the way. She cries and screams that she doesn't want to go, begs to stay at home, tries to get back into the house etc. It's unbelievably awful. I can't physically carry her when she's struggling, but I did have to carry her downstairs and force her shoes on this morning. I then got her there by a mix of persuasion and just walking ahead leaving her no choice but to follow, but it took half an hour. Everyone walking past is staring at us and listening to her begging me not to make her go. On arrival at the school, she has to be restrained by the teachers while I leave. I then just walk away and burst into tears myself.

The thing is, the teachers assure me that once we've left her, she settles brilliantly, plays with friends, chats, joins in, eats a good lunch ... in other words, she's fine. I believe this and I can tell by things she tells me that she's enjoyed herself. So I think the furore in the mornings as about the separation from me and DH rather than anything going on at school -- when I ask her why she doesn't want to go, she either can't say or says "Because I will miss you." Our instinct is that we have to keep getting her there, however hard it is. I just feel awful: angry with her, guilty, sad, and at a loss to know how to make this better. If anyone has any experience of this situation, I'd love to hear it.

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair Mon 10-Oct-16 13:26:46

Yes, exactly the same. And it lasted until she was 7 on and off! The only comfort is that they are happy once they are there. And I'm pretty sure no-one is judging you, I certainly wouldn't!

HeyNannyNanny Mon 10-Oct-16 13:28:36

Totally normal. Just ignore the fuss as best you can so you're not feeding the drama as it were and she'll settle back down. Its a "thing" at the moment but she's OK if she settles quickly once you've gone.

[Flowers] for you, OP. Its horrible

cestlavielife Mon 10-Oct-16 13:28:47

Where are you when she is at school? Does she think you are at home missing her ? Do youu tell her you miss her ? Is she worried about you ? Don't ask directly but maybe role play or draw pictures with her your day and hers. Try find out why. Talk to teachers. Send in faV toy etc

Marcipex Mon 10-Oct-16 13:29:43

Can you get someone else to take her to nursery? Grandparents, friend, school mum, anyone? It usually breaks the pattern. (I work in a nursery)

witsender Mon 10-Oct-16 13:30:04

Is she genuinely happy when she is there? What does she say? I ask because the school used to tell me that about our now 6 yr old...then other parents would report seeing her crying at lunchtime or whatever. The teachers had not noticed (busy, so that's not a criticism just a reality).

We pulled her out, and she is much happier. It depends on your circumstances...if you don't need for her.to go then I wouldn't send her. 4 is very small, and preschool is non essential.

Rattusn Mon 10-Oct-16 13:32:22

Ignore the crying, do a quick goodbye, and leave.

Staying is the worst thing in this situation.

The journey sounds hard. Could a scooter/balance bike motivate her?

JenLindleyShitMom Mon 10-Oct-16 13:34:47

I just feel awful^: angry with her, ^guilty, sad

She is 3! Let her stay where she is happy- at home. Screaming, and having to be restrained? Can you imagine how uncomfortable you would have to be with a situation to get to that point? That's how she feels. Listen to your child. Don't force her.

SqueakyCyclops Mon 10-Oct-16 13:40:54

My daughter did exactly the same. Dropping her off used to break my heart so I found her a new nursery. She is now flourishing and can't wait to go in the morning. In fact she now gets upset when it's not a nursery day. She has just turned 4. She used to be OK one afternoon a week but the minute she got her 15 hours it all went pear shaped.

Her first preschool was attached to the school I thought she had the greatest chance of attending and I wanted her to make friends she may go through school with. Now, I just want her to be happy and I'm sure she will make friends when she starts school.

I found the original nursery was too big and she was better in a setting with less children.

manateeandcake Mon 10-Oct-16 13:43:31

Thanks for the all the supportive and helpful responses.

RebeccaWithTheGoodHair 7 years! Gulp. But good to know we're not alone.

cestlavielife Two days a week I'm at work; three days I'm at home with DS (nearly one). I don't think it's about wanting to stay home like him because she is just as bad when he's off to nursery. DH works Mon-Fri She knows that I enjoy going to work and I'm sure she doesn't think I'm at home worrying about her. Drawing pictures of our respective days sounds like a good idea, though.

Marcipex A friend whose son is in her class (they are friends) has offered to do this but I'm afraid of making them late as well. Will try it though.

witsender I believe she is genuinely happy when she is there and that she would be bored much of the time at home with me and DS. I believe pulling her out now would send the message that we (a) don't trust her to cope and (b) can be controlled by her making a fuss.

witsender Mon 10-Oct-16 13:43:38

How do you not stay when a child is physically attached to you? The only way that I could have done a 'quick' drop off is if a teacher had physically or used my hysterical child from my legs, around which she would have arms and legs.itbwould take 2 of them, one for the arms and one for the legs, and they would then have had to hold her back, screaming, while I ran for the door, shutting it behind me.

A) Practically physically impossible.
B) There aren't enough staff normally for that
C) Hugely traumatic for the child (and parents, not to mention watching children)
D) Not conducive to learning!

Some children don't, and won't settle. Listening to them is a good place to start.

witsender Mon 10-Oct-16 13:44:36

Well, if her going to preschool is your only option, then that's that really.

JenLindleyShitMom Mon 10-Oct-16 13:57:16

Where was she going before preschool? Childminder? Nursery?

NickiFury Mon 10-Oct-16 14:05:06

"*I believe pulling her out now would send the message that we (a) don't trust her to cope*"

I'm sorry but I just don't believe a child of four years think that way. What makes you think she does?

I would take her out, if she gets bored she can always go back. Neither of mine went to pre-school, dd did one term, mornings only, in the nursery attached to the school she was going to just to familiarise her and make sure reception wasn't too much for her. She was completely fine when she started reception and still now at age 10 loves school.

Lovepancakes Mon 10-Oct-16 14:11:19

I would definitely pull her out and try something else. Our son was similar and I left it a full term but it just wasn't right and I wished I'd listened to him earlier. They also used to say he had a good day when in fact a lunchtime helper said she hoped he was OK as she saw him crying.

After a break at home 6 months later he started school and was much much better . I just think there's no point leaving them miserable unless there's really no alternative and remember being unhappy at nursery myself (probably I just wasn't ready ). A child minder and home setting might work ?

ChipmunkSundays Mon 10-Oct-16 15:47:47

Generally I agree with not letting children "control" situations by making a fuss, but actually I don´t think this is in that category at all.

In this situation I would either be keeping her at home for the three days I was at home myself for a term and trying again when she was a bit older, or I would be investigating a different nursery or childminder.

I wouldn´t ignore that level of continual and prolonged daily distress from a 4-year-old.

manateeandcake Mon 10-Oct-16 20:13:20

I spoke to two of her teachers after school today, and to DD herself. They all give the very clear impression that she is enjoying herself, not at all distressed during the day, and getting a lot of positive things out of the experience. So I still feel that taking her out would be a mistake, and we somehow have to get through this issue with the journey/transition.

nam207 Mon 10-Oct-16 20:34:29

My son was like this when he started nursery aged 3 except he didn't settle when he was there. We bought a book called the kissing hand which helped a little bit in the first setting which we pulled him out of but was really useful when he started at his new nursery which he went on to like. Its about a little raccoon who's nervous about starting school and being away from his mommy until she teaches him about the kissing hand. I give ds kissing hands now each time we say goodbye

Smartleatherbag Mon 10-Oct-16 20:38:50

Ds2 hated preschool so I didn't send him. He was absolutely fine, in fact loved, school though. He won the maths prize for his class too, so it's not held him back. Preschool is so unstructured and noisy. It isn't necessary for all kids. If they like it, great. But if not and you don't have to send them, then why go through that?

Penfold007 Mon 10-Oct-16 20:53:40

DD knows which of your buttons to press. You are the adult so take control. It's hard but don't get distracted by her, stay focused and calm.
I say this not to be harsh or smug, I got well and truly played by my DD. She went into nursery like a dream for DH but was inconsolable when I took her, the minute I left she was fine.

FeelingSmurfy Tue 11-Oct-16 00:43:13

My friend gave her daughter a small me to you bear from a keyring for her to keep in her zipped up pocket (with permission from school) she had to look after it because mummy wanted it back later and it was really special to mummy. It helped her feel reassured that my friend was going back to get her we think, after about 3 days there was no tears but a bit of uncertainty and checking that mummy was going to give her the bear, after about a week she was fine and after about a term the bear stayed at home

This was in reception, my friends little girl had previously been to nursery in full days and loved It!

Marcipex Tue 11-Oct-16 13:02:03

I work in a nursery. When children are upset first thing like this, I take photos of them throughout the session, to show they are playing, joining in etc. Then at home time I can show the parent.
You could ask your dds key worker to do that? I wonder why they haven't offered to.

XinnaJane Tue 11-Oct-16 13:09:47

I wonder if maybe going full time is too much for her. Is there any chance of going down to mornings only? The issue with pulling her out completely is that although the separation is hard, she probably gets a lot out of it once there.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 11-Oct-16 13:18:40

I don't understand why you would send your dd somewhere that is causing her so much distress. She is three years old, just keep her at home with her brother.

manateeandcake Wed 12-Oct-16 19:52:57

Just to update: the past two mornings have been infinitely better, walked to school very happy and proud of herself. Bit wobbly at the actual moment of saying goodbye, but nothing major. So I am hoping the drama is over!

I think it really helped that we gave DD lots of opportunity to tell us how she felt while still being firm about her actually going. Also, her teachers have been great, particularly in getting her to "help" them with jobs when she arrives so she feels important and is distracted.

Marcipex They did the photos thing and it was very reassuring for us. Also DD loved showing them to me and talking about them of course.

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