Hi, my 8 year old DD has severe learning difficulties and is in a main stream primary. This is her first sports day apart from her nursery ones, as she was home educated from the age of 5-8. Her co-ordination and balance are not great, but she won her practice running race probably because she's about a foot taller than the other children. She says she's worried she won't win, and there will be lots of people watching. I've tried to explain, it doesn't matter who wins and that the parents will only be interested in their own children etc. It was meant to be tomorrow, but it's been post-pond until next week. She's getting herself into such a state about it, and keeps asking how many days, then asking me to count to that number. She keeps saying " I think I might have a tummy ache on that day, just so you know". She said "If I'm poorly, I can't go can I?" I do feel sorry for her, especially tonight as she was sobbing so much, her little face was all pink. I know if I have a word with her teacher, she'll jolly her along and say it'll all be o.k and my DD will smile and agree with her, then let it all out at home.
I realise I might get flamed for this, but I think that keeping her at home would do her more harm in the long run than making her go. It would reinforce her anxiety and would do nothing to increase her confidence. Next time she has to do something that is difficult or challenging for her, it would be even harder.
I'm not unsympathetic (son with ASD in a mainstream primary), but I think that doing things outside their comfort zone can really boost self-esteem. DS2 also hates sports day (motor problems). This year he got a massive cheer for doing it and finishing the race.
I would probably mention it to the teacher / LSA to make them aware that she needs some encouragement & support.
Yes, you're right. It's just really hard hearing her going on about it every day and pleading with me. I'll have a word with her teacher. Her one to one lady is off sick at the moment and she doesn't have much of a bond with her replacement lady. It's a shame as her one to one lady was always so good at calming her anxieties.
Talk to the school - if it was a child in my class (not that I teach anymore) I might just ask her to be my helper and hold certificates or whatever, and then gently see if she wanted to duck in for one of the events or whatever at the end (or make a spectacular arse of myself running it with her... although last time I tried that stunt with skipping I ended up face-planted on the playground - yes the parents used to have a field day with how klutzy I was... I regularly got reading diaries sent back with the dates gleefully corrected in red pen as I was still writing the wrong year in March - but all in the spirit of good-natured banter).
Can you try to put her energy into practising? My DD gets worried and I find that giving her tips and tools for use on the day seems to boost her confidence.
We practice the "on your marks" bit a lot so she gets a good start and my tip is to look at the end of the line...the end of the race...do not look anywhere else....focus on that and get to it and you will be fine.
I hated sports day as I was so much worse than everyone else and after a few years my Mum let me stay home instead. I still shudder at the memory of sports day. I wouldn't make her go in if it is making her so unhappy and frightened. Although the idea of a different role is good, I'd have likes that.
I'm going to speak to her teacher today. I'm sure she'd much prefer to be the teachers helper for the day, then maybe join in if she wants. That would be perfect. Her teacher is really nice and is also the schools SENCO, so I'm hoping she'll be good about it.
I detested sports day during childhood. Being made to do it early on has given me an absolute hate for running and that type of sport. I was crap at sport and remember feeling such pressure. I would cry, beg, plead not to have to do it. But I was made to. Putting a child through that level of fear and dread, over something as silly and unimportant as sports day is crazy IMO. By the time I was in secondary school my mum let me miss it a few years, which I believe was the right thing. Some things aren't worth the upset. I think being the teachers helper is a brilliant idea. I'd let your child decide if they want to join in. If this isn't an option I'd keep them off school for the day to be honest. Good luck. Hugs to your lo, I remember how she must be feeling!
I explained the situation too her and she asked Lucy what she was most worried about, and she said everyone watching. The teacher said, they'll have a trial audience on Friday as year 1 are watching. She said this might help, but if she really doesn't want to do it, then she won't make her. She'll find another way for her to be involved, so maybe handing out prizes etc. She said it would be lovely if she did, as she's sure she'd win at least one race and it would boost her confidence, but agreed with me that if she really doesn't want too, then it's not worth all the upset.