4 year old refusing school

(12 Posts)
InYourDreams Thu 21-Jan-16 13:43:37

This is basically a desperate plea for any help, support and really just to let it all out!
My dd (4) has struggled with going back to school since the Christmas holidays. It's now got the point where she is extremely stressed in the morning. She refuses to eat or drink in the morning, won't get dressed or brush her teeth.
She cries and pleads with to let her stay at home as she hates school.
Yesterday I literally had to drag her through the playground.
I ended up going into school this morning to ask for help on what I should do and I was told to bring her in in her pj's, simple as that.
How am I supposed to force her to eat or pin her down to dress her? She is only 4 and it's really wearing me down now.
The teacher says she's happy at school but lacks confidence. My daughter doesn't seem to like the teacher though and comes up with so many excuses why she doesn't want to go.
Any thoughts on what to do?

irvine101 Thu 21-Jan-16 16:14:07

Sorry I don't have any good advice, but I just wanted to say that I think you should make sure she doesn't realise you agree with her about dislike of her teacher. My ds didn't like his reception teacher at first, she was very experienced and strict.(Not in the nasty way.) I just kept telling him that I really liked her(truth), and she is just trying to help him etc. In the end, he started to see what I was saying, and loved her .

They are so young and I can understand it's hard for them to get used to going to school everyday. Is there anything bothering her at school? Friendships? Routine?

There was a time my ds said he wanted to stay at home, but I kept telling him about fun things he can do at school, play with friends, etc, and he needs to go.

I think you should have a proper meeting with the teacher and talk about what you and school can do to help your DC. Good luck.

Inkymess Thu 21-Jan-16 22:44:48

Have you been into school and discussed what the children do in the day and friendships etc ? Was she just at home before and not nursery etc. would be useful to have more insight. Our school is great fun in reception with fab playgrounds and play based stuff.

KarenLong Fri 22-Jan-16 00:10:50

You just have to book no arguement. If you start giving in to this now, you will have 11 years of it. Just take her in every day, with the minimum of fuss. Don't react to her behaviour.

MrsKCastle Fri 22-Jan-16 07:44:22

Make an appointment to see the teacher and discuss the issue in full. Don't focus on the difficulty in getting her in- focus on the fact that she's not happy about school. Ask what they can/will do to help her settle more. Can they make a point of giving her more praise or a special job? A bit of individual attention from the TA? Ask them to tell you about the daily routine, so that you can prepare her for the day. Also, if you know what topics they're doing, maybe she could take in a relevant drawing or book to show the teachers, so that she's got a reason to go in and a way to get some praise/attention.

InYourDreams Fri 22-Jan-16 13:00:46

Thank you for your replies. My dd did attend a nursery and we did have similar issues at the start. As she was so stressed and started to vomit every time she got there they advised me to stick around to settle her. Eventually after a few weeks she felt secure enough to attend on her own. She was absolutely fine attending school over the last term. It's been building up since Christmas and now resorted to not eating and now wanting to sleep in our bed as she's scared on her own. We have insisted she sleeps in her room. We have tried to talk to her to see what's bothering her but there's nothing in particular.
I did chat to her teacher yesterday and she said she is happy in class but lacks confidence. I'm trying to make school sound fun and exciting, saying how great the teachers are and how they love to see her. It's falling on deaf ears at the mo. I'll keep trying. Seeing her so stressed is quite distressing for our family but we know we have to stay strong.

irvine101 Fri 22-Jan-16 15:49:21

OP, in my country, a lot of parents co sleep with children until school age.(year they turn 6!).
If she wants to sleep with you, can you use that time to speak with her to
find out what's bothering her? I did have a long chat with my ds in bed in the past, and found out what he is thinking in depth, which is completely different from talking in the daylight or under the room light. In the complete darkness under duvet holding hands with him, he was so calm, a lot of his worries came out as a result.

cestlavielife Fri 22-Jan-16 15:55:11

agree with irvine, what is the harm in her coming to your bed and co sleeping? if she feels secure then she will go to her room when she is ready.

if school is bothering her and she feels you arent listening (nothing to be scared off go sleep on your own!) she may get more anxious. let her come to you and she may eventually talk abut her worries. also get teh huge bag of worries book virginia ironside give her space when you read it to talk if she wants to or come up with her won ideas

sanam2010 Fri 22-Jan-16 16:15:53

Poor girl, I would also talk to the teacher more specifically. "she's fine and she's happy here" is not good enough, clearly something is not fine. I think you should also take your daughter more seriously. With such a strong reaction, if you just say "school is fun and your teachers are great", she will feel that you don't listen at all and she will not open up to you. Instead of denying her feelings, a good idea would be to state that you can see that she really dislikes school and that you can see that she is terrified and that you would love to help her. You need to dig a bit deeper. In my experience, where there is smoke there is fire. Yes, there are kids who are a bit clingier than others, but she does sound very distressed and I think just because her teacher says everything's fine, it doesn't mean it is. Some other kids could be mean to her, she may be afraid of something, I think you should dig a little deeper.

smearedinfood Fri 29-Jan-16 12:37:49

It could be separation anxiety, she just misses her Mum rather than there's anything really wrong with school.
Try and have some long chats about it with the child but let them know they have to go.

steppemum Fri 29-Jan-16 12:50:10

well, I know it isn't popular, but having my dcs co-sleep aged 4 would have killed me, as they slept ON me and then I couldn't move or sleep.

I think there are a few things that are important

1. teacher is saying she is happy once there
2. How long does it take her to settle? Is it a hand over issue or is she crying for 30 minutes (too long)
3. How do they go in? Do they line up in the playground? Can you take her in 5 minutes before or 5 minutes after the rest of the class, directly into the classroom?

I would ask for a meeting, and explain just how anxious she is, and how distressed she is getting. They need to know this is a bit more that tears as she goes in. Then ask to come up with a plan together.

I would suggest you and she go in just before the rest of the class, you sit at a table and do something together as the others come in. Once the class are mostly in, and moving towards sitting on the carpet (or whatever) then she goes and joins them and you slip out.

A home/school teddy might help. DD2 often cried at drop off and hated the transition, she found it easier if she had something from home in her pocket.

A plan for playtime eg that teacher finds a friend for her to play with so she doesn't go out on her own.

many schools have a TA/support staff who run groups for children needing emotional support. Does your school have one, and could she do a bit of play work with dd to see which bit of school is causing the problem.

That last one is very important, it can be something totally random that causes the problem, eg she is scared of the toilets, or she got wet feet at playtime.

ridinghighinapril Fri 29-Jan-16 15:07:42

My tuppence worth....I agree completely with sanam2010.
If you don't listen to the small things when she is small then she won't tell you the big things when she is big.
Hopefully, there is benign reason behind it all, it must be really hard for you to see her like this.

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