to talk to nursery about their zombie outbreak?(63 Posts)
When I took 4 year old DS to nursery on Friday the group of kids he usually plays with were all chasing each other around, pretending to be zombies, trying to eat each others brains and having lots of fun. And suddenly it all drops into place.
For weeks now we've had problems with DS having nightmares and waking up screaming. On the few occasions he's aware of what he's dreaming about he's mentioned zombies and not wanting to be eaten.
So do I say something? Will they think I'm 'that' parent?
I don't know if it's relevant but DS is autistic and can be quite literal in how he sees things. He also struggles with playing with other children and nursery having been working really hard on this with him. 6 months ago he was oblivious to the existence of the other children.
Worth mentioning, but also speak to ds about pretend play not being real. They can pretend to be policemen and robbers but it still wouldn't be real!
Absolutely say something. Not unreasonable at all
I would say something to nursery so they are aware but I would also explain to your son about zombies in a way that will help him to undersand they arent real. You are the expert on your son so best placed to help him deal with things like this. If they weren't pretending to be zombies they might be ninjas or monsters or aliens and your son will need coping strategies as he gets older as these make believe games are going to be part of the playground culture.
That seems pretty inappropriate for nursery, I don’t think our nursery would let the children play that. I’d mention it to them.
How tricky for you.
I think if you say something you have to have a plan of what you want them to do about it.
The children aren't doing anything wrong, but then it's obviously upsetting your ds too.
Do you want them to ban the game?
I think I would have a word, he is obviously scared by it, and I would agree it is a scary game for four year olds to play/ I would guess they have got the idea from seeing halloween stuff around in the shops perhaps? Which might mean it all dies down and they think of a new game after Halloween is over.
I would hazard a guess that he is not the only child there that doesn't like the zombie game.
And if that is the case then I think nursery would be justified in telling the zombies to think of another pretend game and dropthe scary stuff.
Its a difficult one, but as pp said, if it wasn't zombies it would be something else. Do you anticipate he would be similarly upset at kids lunging at him ninja style? And would you want them to tone that down too? Maybe discuss appropriate levels of interaction with nursery, but also work on dc understanding of play vs reality.
I don't want them to ban it. At least I don't think I do. To be honest I don't know what I want really. I don't want to damage DS's new friendships, but I don't want him to be scared, but I don't want to spoil the other kids fun either. So I want everything and nothing, both at the same time. No wonder I'm confused.
Maybe the way to approach it with nursery is to explain your DS is having nightmares about the zombies and ask them for suggestions as to how you could help him learn that games like this ar not real.
They may have suggestions, they may not but you've broached the subject without asking them to stop or criticising them.
The SN board may have suggestions to help teach your DS that games aren't real though.
Think about it from the other parents' perspective. If they ban the game they will essentially punishing children for no good reason (nursery age children won't be able to understand why it's banned). At that age it is also extremely important for them to learn to play with others and use their imagination so the nursery would probably be hesitant to ban the game in case it impedes that for some children.
I had to speak to my DD's teacher when DD was about 8 because one of her mates was telling her and a few others horrendous "spooky tales" at breaks.
They were re-tellings of some of the worst horror movies out there! Turns out the girls' older sister had been showing these films to her little sister and really, as a way of processing them, she was sharing them!
Teacher had to get the girls parents in!
I think those of you who've mentioned understanding play v reality have hit the nail on the head. That's what it's about, not zombies.
During his in class assessment the ed psych noticed that he doesn't understand 'pretend' at all. It was during exercise and the teacher told them they were bunnies and had to hop around the room. DS was utterly confused and kept saying 'but I'm not a bunny, I'm a boy' and wouldn't join in.
I'd try "plants vs zombies". I bet that's what the other children have been playing. And once you have the visuals of the silly zombies, plus a repertoire of plants who can destroy them, and it's also very clearly imaginary because it is a cartoon game, that will help to defang the monsters i reckon xxx
Ahh Halloween. My three year old was scared of monsters because of nursery Halloween activities. The nursery staff would chase the kids around as they all squealed in delight.
I had a long campaign of explaining that mobsters weren’t real, we only talk about them at Halloween and that it is supposed to be fun. Rinse and repeat. Respond to every bit of nervous chatter about monsters with ‘yes but Mo stars are real/are just pretend’ until the next year..
I’m sure it’d work for zombies too. Look DS, the kids are having a lovely time playing zombies. You know zombies aren’t real right? Should we join in?
Not a difficult one at all. I am sure he isn't the only one to be upset or worried about the game. It is not an appropriate game to be playing on a daily basis - death, gore, fighting. I would be deeply unhappy if that sort of game was tolerated among pre-schoolers when mine were in nursery. It's not Lord of the Flies, the adults should be steering the kids into games that are fun and do not cause anxiety or fear in others. Stop worrying about being that parent for goodness sake. Your kid is upset!
What is the outcome supposed to be here? Stop children playing? It's almost halloween, it's normal play behavior for children.
Plants vs Zombies is rated age 12. I did let DS play it when he was little because things like that didn't bother him but many parents wouldn't be okay with that.
OP I think as nursery are supporting him with his social issues I'd definitely explain the situation to them and see if you can have a convo and work out a plan. They can decide whether to discourage the zombie game, tone it down, or just do some work with him to help reiterate that zombies are just pretend and that no monsters who eat people really exist (even wild animals live very far from us and/or are safe in zoos.)
OP didn't mention plants vs zombies. I think halloween is a more likely trigger than a yeard old game none of them are likely to have ever played.
Yes, definitely work on the 'not real/pretend/playing a game' aspect. To most small kids 'zombies' are just another Bad Guy for games (like the bear in Going On A Bear Hunt or dragons in fairly tales) so don't get distracted by worrying about other parents not being strict enough with what their DC view.
Also, maybe get your DS a copy of this?
You need to explain to him the difference between fictional stuff (vampires, zombies etc) vs real life. It might help to lead in with things he knows aren’t real (Fairies perhaps, or one of his cartoons) and compare zombies to that.
Practise the bunny situation at home. Play other pretend games so that he begins to understand the difference between reality and pretend.
My ds had a very active imagination so struggled with this for a long time. He didn't like dressed up characters either but eventually he grew out of it.
Can you work on your DS so that he understands that children are only pretending to be bunnies and zombies. Maybe you could help him by pretending to be a car and explaining you are pretending. The penny may or may not drop
Unless you happy to be in the same area I used to work in, I think the zombie game is a pretty common on in nursery/primary.
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