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Feeling a bit uncomfortable with child's school

(108 Posts)
FruitCider Tue 26-Sep-17 10:25:28

My DChild started reception on 4/09 and they are still not settled. Floods of tears every morning etc. At the end of last week the TA held them in the morning and told me to leave. My child was screaming and fighting the TA, trying to follow me. This week the TA has virtually ignored my child at drop off time, despite my child crying clinging on to me begging me not to leave. Is me expecting an empathic response rather than a frosty one being OTT? I know they have 30 children but it seems like the teacher is inexperienced at managing this and I'm really unhappy with the TA restraining my child last week.

This week I've stayed a bit longer until my child has stopped hyperventilating and dried their eyes etc, explaining that being scared is normal but they still need to stay. At what point should I ask for a meeting with the teacher if my child is not settled?

Clawdy Tue 26-Sep-17 11:01:57

It sounds as if the TA saw you were unhappy about her holding your child, so decided to take the opposite approach next time. Seems she can't win.

Clawdy Tue 26-Sep-17 11:04:03

I would probably ask for a meeting with the teacher this week, you need to discuss the whole problem.

FruitCider Tue 26-Sep-17 11:10:27

I didn't say I was unhappy, I just walked out of the class at that point as my child was very distressed already and I didn't want to prolong it. My question was is it actually normal for school staff to do that? I was a bit shocked. And now she's not being supportive at drop off times at all, it's like she's bored of my child being upset now. The result is that I'm wandering around the classroom with my child clinging to my leg crying until the teacher is free. I can't just leave my child in the classroom crying without anyone to comfort them. Not sure what I am meant to be doing here! confused

MiaowTheCat Tue 26-Sep-17 11:11:02

I'd ask for a meeting - you need to get a plan in place of how you're going to deal with the morning drop offs consistently if it's continuing. Usually a brisk drop and run tends to work best though - but it might be that there's things that can be put in place to help make it easier - something like a morning "job" that could focus them getting into the classroom or a buddy from another class or similar?

The brisk peeling the child off and distracting them thing though is fairly normal and often experience has taught it's the best way to get them to settle - even though it looks and feels awful at the time so I wouldn't really be too hung up on that. I'd guess they've stepped back because of how you've struggled with that type of arrangement - hence another reason you need to get together briefly just to sort out a consistent plan of how to approach it.

(I used to teach reception - have one of my own in reception at the moment and another just gone out of reception - so I'm not talking 100% out of my arse on this one)

DD1 I know would just feed off me hanging around talking about being scared though - try to focus on what's going to be positive about the day - even if it's just "oooh let's check what's on the lunch menu" - I always found focusing on her stomach distracted DD1 no end (the child's a bottomless pit where food's concerned)!

MiaowTheCat Tue 26-Sep-17 11:15:11

I'd also try going into the classroom and asking them to do the morning stuff bit by bit - "oh I'll wait here while you go and pop your bag in your tray"... "ok now you need to go and do your coat on your peg" - I've been doing that with DD2 gradually moving towards doing it while I'm near the doorway over the last couple of weeks. DD2's not struggling with going to school and staying - she's just bloody away with the fairies and would still be standing in the middle of the room holding her bag wearing her coat at hometime if not prompted and I'm trying to get her set up to do it all independently gently!

Just dripping away getting them to detach somewhat from your leg a little bit at the time - might help somewhat while you're trying to get things sorted out.

But yep - be bright, breezy and cheerful - "oh let's go pop this away" "oooh look what's out here" rather than dwelling on the tears - it's definitely the way forward honestly!

I've only ever known one child where the tears have lasted past about 9.05 am incidentally - normally the second mum's out of sight they stop (that was in about a decade of class teacher then supply teaching in various infant/early years classes).

Awwlookatmybabyspider Tue 26-Sep-17 11:15:36

What was the TA supposed to do. Let your child run out of the school after you. Sometimes they have to restrain them. What if she heaven forbid ran out and got hit by a car.
You're not happy that she restrained and tried to comfort your child. Yet you're not happy that she took a step back.
You can't have it both ways.

FruitCider Tue 26-Sep-17 11:21:25

Well I don't know what to expect! They are my first and only child for goodness sake I have no other experience to relate it to!

I wouldn't mind if one of them was trying to comfort my child but they don't, they don't even try and I guess that's the real problem. Do you not get how difficult it is to leave a 4 year old in a room crying hysterically wh

FruitCider Tue 26-Sep-17 11:23:11

I cut myself off then.

Crying hysterically when the adults in the room can't even be bothered to get my child a tissue anymore? Christ.

I get dropping them off breezily and leaving promptly is the best plan but if there is nothing in place for a distressed child after I've gone isn't that a bit concerning? I guess I just expected to the teacher and the TA to care a bit.

FruitCider Tue 26-Sep-17 11:26:01

I've only ever known one child where the tears have lasted past about 9.05 am incidentally - normally the second mum's out of sight they stop (that was in about a decade of class teacher then supply teaching in various infant/early years classes).

That's really reassuring, thank you x

UnicornPug Tue 26-Sep-17 11:35:27

I think most of us have dropped a screaming child off at some time or another. It's not easy and it never gets easier.... but you do learn to manage it and it doesn't last forever. I'm also a teacher so have been on the other side too. I think at this stage your best bet is to try and catch the teacher at the end of the day and ask how you can manage drop off together. Bright and breezy is the right approach for most children, but not all, and you need to be happy with whichever approach you use. I'd hazard a guess that they are waiting for you to leave before they attempt to comfort your child as you didn't like them restraining her when you leave, but obviously I'm not there so can't be certain.

I've only had 1 cry for more than 10 mins and that was when Dad helpfully said 'she's upset and doesn't want to stay so I've said I'll take her home.' We managed to persuade him that that wasn't the best plan and then child cried on and off all day because daddy had said she could go home. (Obviously we distracted her and she was fine until she remembered, iyswim...)

Awwlookatmybabyspider Tue 26-Sep-17 11:40:29

Oh well if they're restraining him/her. without comforting and reassuring them. That's an entirely different matter.
Im not surprised they aren't settling to be honest. The classroom will look enormous. Its full of strangers and loud noises and. There are strange adults just watching him/her cry.
Yes I know its the same for all of them, but some children take more time than others.

thelonelyhamster Tue 26-Sep-17 11:41:06

Most children don't need much comforting once the parent has left, they calm down on their own really quickly... it's the leaving that's upsetting, and making a fuss makes it worse.

Suggest you meet with the teacher soon and get a plan in place for what you're going to do, and then stick to the plan even if you find it difficult.

Sometimes having the TA hold her, sometimes you stay a bit longer, sometimes something else etc. It will all be confusing things. You need a plan.

Chicklette Tue 26-Sep-17 11:42:42

My kids are adopted and due to this, we do a very soft drop off when've they are transitioning to new places- Giving them lots of time, being very empathetic, some what 'indulgent' some might say. We don't do 'drop and run' and ensure that they feel ok before we leave. Lots of reassurance Etc. This goes against the way that schools/nursaries expect but I have to say, over the years, I think a lot of kids would benefit from this. I think there is a strange unrealistic expectation that kids will get used to a rushed, panicky drop off that leaves them upset- all be it for a few minutes. It usually takes our kids a couple of weeks to get used to drop off and then they are fine, whereas I see other kids who are struggling for months. I wish schools recognised that some kids actually just need reassurance and that they accommodated that. We are fine as we can always play 'the adoption card' but as we are in the classroom for 10 mins or so, I see those other really distressed kids and wish they are also allowed to have a bit more support from either staff it parents. As an adult, I wouldn't want to be pushed into a scary experience, be grabbed and whisked away by a relative stranger whilst my parent is saying 'hurry up, hurry up, I've got to go' so in not sure why we expect small children to feel Ok about that.

LIZS Tue 26-Sep-17 11:51:23

Is it possible that other children might need the TA s supervision, if their parents aren't able to come in for example. It is perfectly normal to ease off their input and encourage independence. Agree with starting to get child to do more of the routine themselves step by step.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 26-Sep-17 11:54:20

I think you and the school might be better off with parents not going in to the classroom. We didn't after the first day. An extra 30 adults getting in the way isn't really going to help anyone. A quick handover at the door is likely to work better.

Try some of these:
- transition toy to hold as they go over the threshold
- an object with your perfume to have in their bag
- direct handover to teacher
- promise of reward for going in nicely
- getting there slightly after everyone when doors are already open and shoo them straight in
- getting there early so they can be first in
- being allowed in early to do a special job

If all else fails, be tough with yourself and walk away, they'll almost certainly be fine after 3 minutes.

My DD2 (also adopted, waves at Chicklette) wasn't good at goodbyes on and off well into y4. In Reception we did handover to teacher, but in general we had best success with a small transition toy held in her hand and then kept in her bag.

5rivers7hills Tue 26-Sep-17 11:57:01

it's like she's bored of my child being upset now

She probably is, but also she has probably seen that the s come you are out of the door your DD calms down and gets on with things!

FruitCider Tue 26-Sep-17 11:59:42

Chicklette that's kind of my feeling about it, we practice sensitive parenting at home e.g. If she's upset we acknowledge they are upset even if it's something we find silly like daddy put their toys away before they had finished their game and it's not fair! I'll still cuddle my child and express that I understand they are upset, i validate their feelings and that's what I have done yesterday and this morning.

They are the only one in the class still crying at drop offs, the other children have now settled and I can see parents looking at me sympathetically, one mother looked sad when she saw my child crying this morning. It's just so hard, and because my child went to nursery 4 full days a week I guess the reaction has caught me unguarded.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 26-Sep-17 12:03:48

The thing with my DD was that it was the idea of leaving me that was hard, not the actual leaving. So the more I hung around, the longer she stayed upset because the idea of me going was still there. Whereas if I turned and walked away, then as soon as I was round the corner, she knew I was gone, so she could get on with school.

Hammy12345 Tue 26-Sep-17 12:05:42

I don't have any advice really, but I just wanted to say I had exactly the same problem last year with my son when he started reception. I would dread the mornings and would spend my whole day worrying about him. Fast forward a year and he is so settled at school. He absolutely loves it and is always happy when I leave him there. I think something just clicked, he became familiar with the routine and seemed to grow up emotionally quite a lot. I know at the time it feels like you will always have this issue, but it honestly does improve. I think really after the first term things were quite a lot better.

Igottastartthinkingbee Tue 26-Sep-17 12:17:17

Its a horrible feeling having to leave a child at school distressed. I've been there plenty of times. Do you know if your child takes long to settle once you've gone?

I'd probably grab a word with the teacher at the end of the day or email them. See how things are going once you've left and have a plan for drop off times from now on. My DS had various phases of clinginess during his reception year. At his worst the teacher was very quick (after 2 or 3 very bad drop offs) to help resolve the issue. In the end they had the social development staff member (who wasn't part of the reception team) chat to him about it. They also started a reward sticker chart, which he helped to design, for coming into school happily. I was in charge of giving a reward at the end of the week if he's been good all week.

Contact his teacher because you don't want it to escalate.

Barkybarkynutnut Tue 26-Sep-17 12:18:45

I taught Reception for many years and sadly I disagree that most children stop crying after 10 minutes! I ve had some that can't stop crying and are fairly hysterical by the time we call Mum to come back! I'm not saying it to upset you but don't assume your child rallies round quickly! Maybe suggest that you stagger the times over a week or so with the teacher. Make an appointment and get a little plan in place. Something that works for your child and you. It's tough on you both and your LO will settle . Just might take a bit longer than first anticipated. Good luck

Terrylene Tue 26-Sep-17 12:24:03

Ask for a meeting.

They should be explaining fully what their strategy is (in fact, it would have been helpful to have given the parents some idea of what to expect before they started school hmm )

You can't work together with them if they do not tell you how they manage this sort of situation (which must be very, very common and expected).

Alexkate2468 Tue 26-Sep-17 12:25:12

It's a horrible feel feeling. My guess would be that the attention and sympathy prolonged the crying as often it is only done because the attention of an adult is wanted. By ignoring the behaviour, maybe your dc settles quicker once you've left. I'm a teacher and often find that a quick bright and cheery good morning to a crying child and then just learning them to it sorts the issue quicker than trying to comfort and settle the child. They will be fine on a few weeks. Harsh as it sounds your dc needs to accept that they are 1 of 30 now and not the one and only child at home.

Alexkate2468 Tue 26-Sep-17 12:26:02

Lots of typos - sorry

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