Is a (negative) change in behaviour normal for a reception starter?!

(21 Posts)
EggsOvaryZee Tue 25-Sep-12 11:11:24

DS just started reception. Doing AM's only til after half term, used to go to nursery 5 AM's a week. DH has been off for 2 weeks, so is doing the drop off/pick up.

When I get home with his sister (who is still at nursery) - at 1pm, he is awful to me. And then throughout the day....like a sullen teenager. Arguing the point about everything, huge meltdowns...and it's 'all about dad', questions about his day are met with 'it's a secret' or 'Can't remember' - even 'play' is negatively directed at me, so 'll be 'the baddie' who everyone 'hates' etc...for whatever reason, I am finding it super hard not to take personally and am getting very stressed....

Apparantly, he has no issues going in or out. Teacher says it's all OK. But I'm worried cos starting form Mon he'll need to go to a breakfast club aswell. The only time I see a tiny bit of my lovely boy is at bedtime...

Is this change in nature normal? Does it get 'worse' or settle down?

feetheart Tue 25-Sep-12 11:21:11

It gets better, honest.

DD was shattered after school until about the Spring half-term (sorry) and would have MEGA meltdowns on the way home, at home, out and about, etc. Meeting her from school with food and a drink helped a bit as did a super-early bedtime (6.30pm) but it was HARD WORK.
DS seemed to need to run around wildly every time he came out (still does in Yr2) but was never in DD's league when it came to stroppiness.

It is a huge step for them even if they have been to nursery/pre-school and they are still so little. Hang on in there, hug him as much as you can and it will get better.
Good luck

Pavlovthecat Tue 25-Sep-12 11:30:17

I agree completely with feetheart the first term, as in until christmas at least is really tough for them, although the hours are similar to your DSs nursery, there is more input, new surroundings, different expectations, new children, older children, daily reading, the list goes on. It absolutely wipes them out.

DD like feethearts DD had her bedtime brought forward to 7pm for a long time, as she was soooo tired. She would bounce out of school happy but by the time we got home we would have enormous meltdowns almost every night to the point I wondered why on earth we thought she was ready for school! and like your DS, at school she was fine, no problems, got on well with teachers and children alike but once in the car she would turn into a shouty crying, grumpy girl. We also make sure even now that DD has food on the way home, and some time to be on her own in her room without DS bugging her.

It will get easier, absolutely it will. Especially if he is enjoying school. DD is now y2 and is much calmer. She still needs her quiet time but she is able to afterschool activities a couple of times a week. We need to ensure she eats quickly when met, that she has tea quite early, and is in bed by 7:30pm, or at least tucked in bed with stories being read if not asleep (she wont sleep that early any more).

In terms of how he is behaving towards you, I think it is quite common for children to roleplay their fears, frustrations, tiredness towards mummy rather than daddy. Perhaps by the time he sees you he is over-tired?

Pavlovthecat Tue 25-Sep-12 11:35:14

oh and the 'cant remember' is a standard line at primary school. I wondered if there was some secret thing going on and all the children were told they must say this to their parents grin DD still says it now! Last night I had, all excitedly 'today was awesome!' 'why was it awesome?' 'because we did lots of great things!' 'like what?' 'cant remember' grin

noramum Tue 25-Sep-12 11:36:41

Yes, it is normal. We had really problems until half-term. I actually think the half days they did for 4 weeks were part of the problem as DD was on a super-high and couldn't go down. Going to full days was already and improvement.

We stopped after-school activities for the first term, DD wanted to start with sports but we soon found that she needed a lot more quite time.

Quite weekends, snuggling on the sofa with a DVD in the afternoon helped as well.

cupcake78 Tue 25-Sep-12 11:36:50

My ds is struggling and it's presenting itself in naughty behaviour, hitting etc. answering back, lots of tears. He's very sensitive and very clingy, always wants to be next to me and hates being on his own in his room at night. He's got a sore tummy each day around lunchtime and he has had some tears at school. My friends dd is the same.

EggsOvaryZee Tue 25-Sep-12 11:46:24

Am soooooo glad to hear this is 'normal'! I love Mumsnet! (I have no close friends with similar aged children....)

Thing is, he goes to bed now around 7.30pm but absolutely will not go any earlier, and can't really - has a noisy younger sister who's room is right next to his. Also, lately he likes the door open and hall light on, so when we tried last week to implement an earlier edtime, just complained for over 40 mins "Why is she still up?!" etc...

Was getting excited about after school things like football etc...but will hold off until Jan at least to see how he's doing.

Would you take the lead from them though? When I suggest the park, he doesn't want to go. Is it alright to just stay at home and veg from 1pm..?! For the next 5 weeks, I appreciate that he's going to be tired but surely it's not fair on 3.5 sister if we just stay at home all afternoon?

Fuzzymum1 Tue 25-Sep-12 11:46:30

My youngest started reception last year - he'd been doing 2 full days and 2 mornings at pre-school for the previous year. He was vile for a few weeks after starting school, he was grumpy and stroppy and just generally not nice to be around for a few weeks then he seemed to settle back to the sweet and loving little by he really is - we had a similar if less extreme experience this year when he started year 1.

steppemum Tue 25-Sep-12 11:51:52

totally normal. School is much more tiring than nursery. It costs lots of emotional energy to do school. You have to be 'good' all day, and listen and remember all the ways of doing things, and they have much higher expectations in terms of putting things away, behaviour etc. You are also dealing with lunchtime with all the big kids and things like assembly.

It is also normal that they are angelic at school and then come out and shout/kick/hit etc. While you don't want to encourage any of it, I find that 'not noticing' a fair amount is quite useful. Also unless you live less than 5 minutes from school, bring a snack otherwise the walk home melts down.

Build in some mummy time, cut down out of school stuff, don't plan to be busy all weekend. Give them space to chill out.

If you want to know what they did, ask more focussed wuestion, later in the day, so towards end of dinner or in the bath - what was your favourite thing, did you play with anyone new, did you do any gluing/painting/making etc

and breath. This too wll pass....

steppemum Tue 25-Sep-12 12:02:51

question even

Cat98 Tue 25-Sep-12 18:02:49

My ds hasn't been too bad, but I echo taking a snack for when he comes out. I forgot ds's once and the resulting meltdown was not pretty!

Pavlovthecat Tue 25-Sep-12 18:45:27

Park is fine, as you said, no need for his sister to lose out, but you could maybe suggest taking some quiet toys to play with if not up for climbing etc.

shelley72 Tue 25-Sep-12 19:37:03

Thank goodness I've found this thread, I was wondering what had happened to my lovely little boy. The last 2 days I've literally had to frogmarch him screaming to the car, there is no reasoning with him. He didn't even have tantrums like this when he was 2!

MadameCupcake Tue 25-Sep-12 21:00:46

My YR DS had a 40 minute meltdown at his sports lesson after school today, he hit me 5 times and tried to pick up the very large baby change unit and throw it (WTF), he only joined in the last 20 minutes of the hour lesson.

I was so upset as it was in front of lots of people including a teacher from his school (not his own teacher). There have been lots of tantrums since he started school (full time straight away) but this was by far the worse.

It resulted in me being very stressed and he ended up crying in the car as he couldn't have chocolate after his lesson, I was very distracted and drove into a post so have trashed my car!

Glad to hear its normal though (well maybe not to his extent?!)

PoppyWearer Tue 25-Sep-12 21:17:56

Oh gosh, so glad I've found this thread! My DD just started and seems to be the only one going in reluctantly in the mornings, and we've had lots of tears when leaving in the afternoon (doing full days) for various spurious reasons.

Full on meltdown on Sunday evening doing (fun) "homework" with heaps of parental support and love/hugs and another full on meltdown on Monday morning.

Stroppy behaviour and cheekiness at best at other times. This from my near-angelic DD who adored nursery and Pre-school. She seems to enjoy what she does at school, but hates her uniform (rips it off as soon as she can when we get home, even the "boring" white socks, vest, knickers!) and the regimented nature of being there at x time every day. I admit we were a bit lax with Pre-school arrival times.

<sigh>

beanandspud Tue 25-Sep-12 22:31:24

Similar here, despite DS having been in f/t nursery. Lots of strops and cheekiness which is really out of character and a full-blown meltdown for offering the wrong jumper on Sunday confused

We are just trying to cut him some slack at the moment and attempting to accept that he is trying really hard to be good all day and coupled with new rules, new people and new routines he is letting off steam in 4yr old style.

It's been really hard. He is loving school but I'm not used to this type of behaviour from him. It's a real case of 'choose your battles' at the moment!

BlueSkySinking Tue 25-Sep-12 22:48:01

He has had a lot to deal with - lots of change, exhaustion, new faces, new things to learn. He's having to hold things together for hours and hours each day. I think if you are getting the brunt of things then he obviously feels safe to let it all out with you. Take it as a compliment - although it is horrid . It will get better honest Can you try some reward systems?

unsureunderneath Wed 26-Sep-12 09:35:42

Dd1 is exactly the same. Massive meltdown last night because she didn't want to get out of the bath. Screaming and shouting at me. She has never been like this, even as a toddler, and I don't know where my lovely little girl has gone.

She loved nursery and I wish she was still there tbh. It all just seems to much for her. She never once said she didn't want to go to nursery but this morning she said she didn't want to go to school sad.

I also think she is missing the amount of time she used to have to play. Now it always seems as if I'm interupting her games for dinner, bath, reading book, put uniform on etc. This morning she said she wanted to stay home to play. I felt quite sad for her, although I didn't show this obv, I told her all her school friends would miss her.

I do wonder how much effect school will have on her imagination. Does that sound daft? She makes up great games and now she is constantly being stopped from playing them, will she just give up?

shelley72 Wed 26-Sep-12 09:44:38

no, as i worry the same way unsureunderneath - DS has just turned 5 and does seem to be loving school but sometimes he just wants to play. and he asks so many questions about very random things (which we then go and find answers to) that i am worried that at school, where he cant be attended to in the same way (obviously) that his enthusiasm / inquisitive nature will somehow be switched off and he will just not bother. it sounds horrible i know but we dont live in a particuarly great area and 'not bothering' with school is the norm.

i suppose its still early days and his class teacher and room setup seem lovely so will see how it goes. i always have in the back of my mind though what about a plan b if it doesnt work out? and i think we have already pretty much decided that we will defer (at the very least) late spring born DD when her time comes.

its a worry isnt it, this parenting lark grin?

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 26-Sep-12 13:47:59

I started a thread almost identical to this when I was feeling tearful on Saturday (following several hours of whingeing, tantruming and then tears from 4.5 year old DS). Having calmed down (thanks to mumsnet and RL friend who is ed psych), I think it is pretty normal. They have to behave (in the sense of sitting still and quiet) in school in a way that even pre-school will not have completely prepared them for. One of the things that really struck me at the end of DS's first week was seeing all the children sitting cross-legged on the floor while their parents waited at the other side of the class room for the teacher to say it was ok for them to go. Not one child made a break for it and ran over to mum/dad (whereas they certainly would have done at DS's nursery). Being expected to display that amount of self-control at just over 4 in some cases has to lead to a bit of playing up in other areas of life as a reaction - and it's usually a testament to good parenting that children feel their home environment is safe enough to kick off a bit.

Maria2007loveshersleep Wed 26-Sep-12 15:31:39

Seems very normal to me smile My own DS who also started reception this month loves it so far, but has these out-of-the-blue meltdowns on the way home (even though it's only part-time for now). He also told me one day that 'it's a bit tricky at reception mum as I don't know many children'. It's a big change for them, they have to hold themselves together so much more, I'm sure it'll settle down. Good luck smile

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