Struggles with my 3 year old since starting pre-school

(9 Posts)
TheVeryThing Mon 11-May-15 13:32:46

My ds2 is 3.10 and started pre-school, two mornings per week, after Easter (we are not in the UK and he won't start school until he is 5).
The first week or so was fine and then he began to get upset and say he didn't want to go, but always settled as soon as we left.

Now it has escalated to the point that he is refusing to go to bed the night before, refusing to get dressed etc and this morning I had to chase him around the car park to get him inside!

The teacher texted me a photo of him playing happily a few minutes after I left, despite his hysteria when I was leaving.

DH and I spent the morning distracting, cajoling, talking to him etc and in the end I had to force him into the car and just go.

He has also started refusing to cooperate at other times and I'm really not sure what the best approach is.
Any advice?

angemorange Mon 11-May-15 13:54:37

Be guided by the staff - they have probably seen all this before. My DS was upset every morning of pre-school and it was a nightmare leaving him, even when staff rang to tell me he was fine. The staff were really great and tried a few ways of distracting him, letting him wave goodbye at the window until I was out of sight etc. After a few weeks it got better and then he actually started to enjoy it. It's all very upsetting at the time but, like most things with kids, it will pass!

TheVeryThing Mon 11-May-15 14:01:30

Thanks angemorange, the staff are sure that he is just testing boundaries and I understand that. My older ds also had a few unhappy mornings when he started but nothing on this scale.
This is his fifth week and it's getting worse. This morning I felt it would have been better to just not entertain the protests and put him in the car, as after all the cajoling etc that's what we ended up doing.
Maybe we are giving him too much attention and need to be more bright and breezy?

angemorange Tue 12-May-15 09:45:57

You could try that although it's hard when he is so upset. What about a reward chart or some bribery? If he gets ready with no fuss he can get a star - leading to a treat he responds to after 3 stars or so. A friend of mine had to send an alarm clock with her DS - he knew she was coming to pick him up when it went off. Only downside was she had to be 5 mins early every day to make sure she was there when it went off! Good luck over the next couple of weeks smile

TheVeryThing Tue 12-May-15 12:22:35

Thanks, I'll need it! I might try a reward chart of some kind, I did try bribing with a kinder egg yesterday (works for most things) but he was too upset at that point.

TeenAndTween Tue 12-May-15 14:41:55

Possibly slightly stupid question, but how does he know the night before that he's going in?

DD2 only used to know it was a nursery day when we stuck a blue sweatshirt on her 2 minutes before leaving the house! (She used to cry and cling on to me too which was heart wrecking, but she was also fine when in).

Definitely bright and breezy, and matter of fact. No discussions. 'I understand you would rather stay with me, but you need to go, and you will enjoy it when you are there'. (Plus a treat for when he comes out).

TheVeryThing Tue 12-May-15 16:07:32

He asks us every night whether he is going to pre-school the next day ('once I go to sleep am I going to preschool?').

Initially I did try distracting and avoiding the question but he is very determined so now I prefer to answer truthfully,

I have been doing some reading on the aha parenting site and the advice fits with your idea of empathetic but firm. I might be off work on thursday so can have a treat for when he comes out.

He has been talking about it quite positively over the last couple of days so maybe the next morning won't be so bad.

AliceAnneB Wed 13-May-15 20:14:53

We had this with our 2.5 year old. It just got worse and worse. Finally I spent two weeks going in with him and just reading a book for thirty minutes and then we left. By being in there I could see some of the things that stressed him. Me being in there for a bit helped him see it as a safe place. He happily goes in now.

TheVeryThing Thu 14-May-15 11:51:44

That sounds very tough Alice, glad your ds is settled now.
I know my little boy is happy when he's there and us staying a little while only prolonged the hysteria, whereas he settles as soon as we leave.
We had more drama this morning, refusing to get dressed and he had to be carried screaming to the car. Dh said he'd worn himself out by the time they got there so was ok going in.
I think he has chosen this as a battleground and just doesn't want to give in, it's exhausting though and I hate having to force him. Bribery etc just isn't working at the moment.

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