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coping strategies - please help, school and 2.5 DD

(17 Posts)
frikonastick Thu 02-Jun-11 08:15:03

its actually getting worse every day, not better. the second she opens her eyes she says no school mummy and keeps this up as a mantra (like, repeats it every 2 seconds or so) until she gets dressed, where she adds crying into the mix. this goes on until we actually get to school and then she stops talking at all (has been saying no school mummy the entire time) and just cries hysterically.

she calms down once i have gone (i stick around out of view until i can see she really has calmed down) but this hour to hour and a half of trauma every morning is really making me very down and i feel physically sick and shake for ages afterwards.

i just want to know if anyone knows anything i can do? when she says no school mommy i dont get mad or shout or anything, i talk to her in a normal voice and talk about getting ready and have you brushed your teeth etc etc. i dont ignore her completely because that seems to up the anxiety for her. and i do tell her 'mommy hears you baby' but i cant tell her she doesnt have to go to school!

please, any tips would be very welcome <lump in throat emoticon>

Tee2072 Thu 02-Jun-11 08:24:34

Is she articulate enough to ask her why she doesn't want to go? Is someone bullying her or other issue that would make her so against it?

stickyj Thu 02-Jun-11 08:29:21

Can I just ask if this is nursery or pre-school? Does she need to go? Sounds like you could both do witha break. smile

frikonastick Thu 02-Jun-11 08:36:08

i have tried asking her, but she just repeats no school mommy sad i think she is articulate enough but i just dont know, i am almost 100% sure no one is bullying her, there are only 20 kids and 4 teachers, oh sorry yes, its a montessori (proper one) and i have spoken with the teacher and everything who maintains she is perfectly happy while she is there. and i think the teacher is telling the truth because i have stayed to watch (where DD cant see me) and when i go near pick up time i watch her for a while and she is laughing and playing quite happily. also, for a while after she comes home, she tells me quite happily that she had fun and she likes school. but after about 2 hours, she starts with no school tomorrow mommy........

stickyj, this is her first foray into preschool and i ahve to do it now as i am returning to full time work soon so i wanted to sort of ease her into it while i could still have her come home at 12. she is only there for the morning.

slovenlydotcom Thu 02-Jun-11 08:38:13

how long has she been going? Is this the first time she has been away from you, it may be she is just reacting negatively to the change in her life, but she is enjoying it?

frikonastick Thu 02-Jun-11 08:44:25

its the second week. and i am worried because everyone else says it gets better, but she is getting worse!

its not the first time she has been away from me and she is used to having others look after her and she is gregarious and likes other kids.

i think she does like it when she is there, i just need to find a way to deal with her anxiety about going. if thats what it is. because the hour of crying and begging and sobbing is really honestly bad. my dad was here to witness it this morning and he was nearly in tears! she is very obviously distressed about it. and when she is saying no school mommy she puts her hands on my face so she can look at me properly when she says it. oh god. it really is killing me

tillyma Thu 02-Jun-11 10:59:35

We've been having similar problems recently although our situation differs from yours in that (a) our DD is only 2 (b) she had been in nursery for 6 months before the trouble started and (c) she doesn't seem to completely enjoy it while she's there. However, we've found that allowing her to take a teddy from home helps. She gets the teddy ready for nursery while we do the same for her and making sure teddy is OK seems to take her mind off her own anxiety. Changing the way that we get to nursery helps too. We're only walking distance away so we might go in the back carrier one day and walk the next. She seems to like the control that she gets from deciding how she gets there. We've also been reading 'The Kissing Hand' which deals with the issue of separation when starting school. This might not be as relevant for you though because it sounds like your DD enjoys school when she's there. I hope some of this helps because I know how gut wrenchingly awful it is to go through this.

frikonastick Thu 02-Jun-11 11:06:07

thanks tillyma, DD has a special toy she takes with her, and we too are in walking distance. we usually take the pram and she gets to choose whether the dog comes too, but lately she wont engage in that either.

it really feels like im letting her down sad

will look up the kissing hand, thanks

Tgger Thu 02-Jun-11 16:20:48

Do you know the teachers/carers well enough to chat about them by name with your DD? I found this helped, I also said stuff like, "ooo, you'll do painting and play with your friends and have a story, it'll be really good fun" (in incredibly upbeat tone).

I was lucky that the "no school Mummy" bit only lasted a short time, but actually it probably was at least a couple of weeks or more so give it time. Are you upset by her anxiety, and can she tell this? It's really hard, but if you can give her support (obviously) when she is anxious but show calm positive emotions yourself- not just an act- then maybe she will pick up on this- sometimes I think we can get ourselves into a mother/child vicious circle of picking up each other's anxiety.

It will get better! Hang in there! Lots of stories about school helped here too (peppa pig going to school with her and joining in with everything was a favourite- all made up- so get your storytelling skills out!)

frikonastick Thu 02-Jun-11 17:29:53

thanks tigger, yes, its a teeny school up the road so we do know the teachers by name. i spoke with them again today, and she really seems to be doing great at school itself. they suggested letting my dad try walking her instead of me and see if that helps so we are going to give that a go.

mostly i just want to find a way to deal with and lessen the upset in the morning. it really is very bad. and i think i do a very good job of not getting stressed, at least until she is actually at school. but i think i might be fooling myself there. the crying and begging does make me want to cry and throw up with anxiety. i just thought/think im not showing it. even my dad said this morning that i was so calm about it all. but maybe she is picking up on my horror!

Tgger Thu 02-Jun-11 23:15:32

Sounds like my DD was when she started, altho maybe not quite such a long period of trauma before we went, just a bit of "no school Mummy" (cry) and then a cry before she went in. Always returned to glowing reports from school and very happy DD.

I would answer (to the "No school Mummy!"- "Well, school isn't till after breakfast so not yet!," (first answer), second answer was, "Oh, you really enjoy school don't you, and you just say "bye bye Mummy! (very upbeat tone) and go and play/see X teacher/y friends etc etc.

Actually my DD was still doing the cry on drop off for a while. When I spoke to "school" a bit more about it they questioned whether I was happy to be there and said if I was then give DD that message strongly and she would come round. I thought I was hiding my anxiety, but I was not (!). Whether just a bit more time there or whether I managed to be genuinly calm I'm not sure but she stopped the drop off cry and general anxiety in the morning thing not long after this chat.

Certainly having someone else drop her off may really work- we did this with DS first time round and it worked a treat.

Good luck!

Tgger Thu 02-Jun-11 23:16:38

That should say "happy for her to be there"...

Tgger Thu 02-Jun-11 23:17:58

Also meant to say, it WILL get better. My niece and sister and law have just gone through very similar and come out the other end too. HOORAY!

frikonastick Fri 03-Jun-11 09:00:56

thanks tigga, this morning was marginally better. when she said no school i said ok, we will do teeth first. or lets just put socks on etc etc. that did seem to help. and i was less anxious myself this morning (got a reasonable nights sleep, amazing how that helps!) and so i think that must have communicated through to her

thanks for the support smile its really appreciated

SharonGless Fri 03-Jun-11 09:03:58

Would the teachers be happy to do some sort of montage of pictures of themselves to have up in her bedroom so that she knows they are part of her "family" as in caregivers?
Just a thought - glad she was a bit better

frikonastick Mon 06-Jun-11 07:31:04

sorry, was off the computer for the weekend smile

her new ploy is to refuse to get out of bed at all.....i guess she thinks if she just refuses at the first fence, it will all pan out her way!

but i had a think about everyones suggestions over the weekend and i was very calm (really, proper calm, not just pretending) and when she started with the mantra i just immediately distracted her with something else. and we also drove to school rather than walked and the quicker journey seemed to make a difference as she didnt have as much time to wind herself up. i also started the morning much later, so from the time she got up to us at school was just on half an hour.

she still cried and she was still inconsolable when i left, but all in all, it was better. thanks again everyone, lets hope this is the start of an upwards trend!

Tgger Mon 06-Jun-11 13:18:30

Aww! Well done! Keep going!

I got "no school for me Mummy!" and then when I said "yes, your school too DD (as well as DS)", one cry, but then no more and happily went in.

Do you do a quick drop off when you take her? Hope it's as good/better tomorrow/when she next goes.

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