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Impulsive nearly 5 year old DD - difficulty in reception

(19 Posts)
Allegrogirl Mon 15-Oct-12 22:44:37

My DD has always been strong willed and impulsive. She was a bolter and full of mischief, always trying to distract other children to muck about with her. As she is getting older she isn't the sunny child she once was as she is frustrated at having to do what she is told and finds it hard to control her emotions in social situations. This is rarely a problem with good friends but she did flare up at nursery they assured me it was nothing out of the ordinary. She is very sensitive, hates loud noise and her feelings are easily hurt by the actions of others. She has found her own way to cope by taking herself out of stressful and noisy situations until she has had a chance to calm down. She will play quite happily on her own until she is ready to join in again.

She ignores anything she doesn't want to talk about and will refuse to make eye contact or change the subject. This is very frustrating for us and we often end up shouting at her. She fidgets and is easily distracted unless it is something initiated by herself.

On the plus side she is affectionate, imaginative, curious about how things work, loves maps and has a great sense of direction. Loves her little sister and is very patient with her. She has lots of friends and makes new ones easily. Basicly happy and easy going as long as things are going her way.

I have had her first parent evening and it didn't go well. There was a lot of negative feedback regarding tantrums, difficulty sharing (this is unusual for her), screaming at the tiniest slight from another child, refusing to stop her activity and join the class on the carpet. Apparently the rest if the children are getting impatient with her too as she is holding them all up with her behaviour. I think that part of the problem is lack of sleep. We've had a good routine for 4 years then at Easter she stopped going to sleep at bedtime. It's often 9.00 by the time she drops off and she's exhausted. She is used to be able to go and chill out at nursery, at school she must join the carpet with the other children.

The teacher did say that DD was polite, helpful round the classroom and made good contributions to discussions once she actually sits down. On the whole the teacher was very negative and made me feel I felt as if I was to blame. She hasn't really advised me on what I should do though.

Sorry for the essay but I'm feeling upset this evening.

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Mon 15-Oct-12 23:22:50

Have you looked at her diet? It's often the very first thing that we can easily control and often can make a real difference.

My DD (I have 2) is very sensitive to additives and processed foods. She doesn't get a rash but she will have meltdowns if she eats certain things.

We cut out processed foods.....no sweets, no jelly, no cakes from shops...I make them.

It gets harder when it's parties and things...but we manage...keeping the sweets etc to only a few for a treat.

During the school week she has porrige, fruit or breakfast....lunch...she takes her own in and it's well balanced...no fruit winders or things like that....dinner is healthy and snacks are too.

Is there anything in your DDs diet that might affect her? Juices? Treats?

Nishky Mon 15-Oct-12 23:23:32

I would possibly arrange a meeting with the head: to discuss strategies that school and home can implement together

Your little girl sounds lovely, but she needs help to be able to deal with school if that makes any sense, perhaps speak to the head in the first instance and tell them how you feel

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Mon 15-Oct-12 23:25:44

I would hold off on that...at least until a week or two after half term...look at her diet OP....and if it has some junk in it, cut it out and see if there's any change...tell the teacher what you are trying too.

Then if she's not settling again, ask for an appointment and see what advice you can get.

Allegrogirl Tue 16-Oct-12 14:08:58

Nishky I think she's lovely and the nursery preschool thought so too. I hope the teacher can start to see it soon.

I've just spoken to the parent support advisor at the school who is going to send some advice on behaviour and the number of a helpline. She also mentioned possible referrals for help, all a bit serious. I thought DD was normal but a bit of a handful. It does explain why DH and I are knackered as we have been dealing with this at home for so long.

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights DD only has sweets at parties but does have chocolate, cakes and biscuits as treats sometimes. Cakes are usually home made. She usually drinks diluted fruit juice (refuses to drink water most of the time since she was a small toddler). She eats lots of fruit and veg and has porridge or weetabix for breakfast. I will look to reduce processed stuff further and see if that helps.

Most people we know well think DD is lovely so maybe I have subconsiously avoided situations that will cause bad behaviour. I feel like a failure at the moment.

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Tue 16-Oct-12 14:38:45

This is going to sound a bit extreme, but have you considered/are you able to consider home schooling? Some children are just not suited for the classroom, particularly when they're so young. I think a lot of what you describe would probably sort itself out as she gets older.

AngryFeet Tue 16-Oct-12 14:41:34

Has she been assessed for sn/sen?

ppeatfruit Tue 16-Oct-12 15:29:16

I agree with Holy she's not even 5 yet there are few DCs who can cope well with full time school at that age (In europe they don't start formal schooling till 6 or older)

YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE they all develop at different times, and I speak as an ex E.Y. teacher who finds it amazing that the schools now don't seem to allow for "readiness"

mumofoliver Tue 16-Oct-12 15:56:10

"She is very sensitive, hates loud noise and her feelings are easily hurt by the actions of others. She has found her own way to cope by taking herself out of stressful and noisy situations until she has had a chance to calm down. She will play quite happily on her own until she is ready to join in again.

She ignores anything she doesn't want to talk about and will refuse to make eye contact or change the subject. This is very frustrating for us and we often end up shouting at her. She fidgets and is easily distracted unless it is something initiated by herself."

OP - this could so have been written about my DS last year. What you have said has rung so true with me. He is now in Y1 and seems to be doing so much better. He had a lovely teacher last year and a very understanding head teacher who made me feel like I wasn't a bad parent but he was just a sensitive child who needed different handling. Reception was particularly frustrating as he didn't want to learn anything and we had a battle trying to do anything, reading, letters, writing etc

The good news is that he is doing so much better this term, to the surprise of us all. It's like a switch in him in his mental attitude but also the school have recognised how to deal with him. He was given his own cushion in the first week of term where he could take himself off if he felt sad or angry. He also is being encouraged to talk about his emotions a lot more which stops his frustrations.

I wouldn't say that diet was a factor just our DC's particular personality grin

mumofoliver Tue 16-Oct-12 15:57:48

oh also sleep definitely played a part in his behaviour - quite often he would be particularly bad leading up to the end of term. We made a really big effort to bring his bedtime forward by at least 30 mins if not an hour

AshieFan Tue 16-Oct-12 19:13:04

She must be exhausted from lack of sleep too. What time does she wake up and does she get up naturally or is she reluctant to get up? My DS was falling asleep after 8 pm but since he started reception I brought his bed time forward and most nights he is asleep by half seven.

It's probably a combo of things to be honest. A referral sounds a bit drastic after only a few weeks - a lot of chn are not ready for reception and takes them at least a half term/whole term to settle. Try to sort out bedtime and I am sure a lot of her behaviour will calm down.

Good luck!

Allegrogirl Thu 18-Oct-12 09:38:45

HolyAutumnGoldBatman home ed not possible really as I would have to go full time (larger full time salary) and DH become SAHD. Not feasible with his chronic pain caused by joint problems with hefty 2 year old and lively 5 year old at home.

AngryFeet no assessent for SN as preschool had no worries with her. Headstrong and sensitive side of normal as far as they were concerned. They has no concerns about her ability to settle at school.

ppeatfruit good to have a teacher's perspective. DDs teacher made me feel awful. Maybe I'm being sensitive and she didn't mean it that way.

mumofoliver good to know we're not alone and that your DS has come on so well. Luckily DD is quite keen with learning letters etc when we never got anywhere with it prior to school.

AshieFan DD is tucked up in bed and lights out by 7.30 every night but just doesn't settle. Her mind is racing. She is also waking in the middle of the night though she settles again quite quickly. Has to be dragged out of bed at 7.30 in the morning. It takes 10-15 minutes just to get her up.

Kleinzeit Thu 18-Oct-12 12:53:35

I’m sorry the parents’ meeting was so negative Allegrogirl. My DS was very well settled at nursery, bright and chatty and mostly well behaved and very sociable but easily frustrated and with quite a temper when things didn’t go his way. Rather like your daughter in some ways (including control of the conversation and love of maps!) though an occasional hitter-out (ugh!) rather than a persistent bolter. But school was a huge step up in demands and it turned out he couldn’t cope with that extra step. That was when we realised he was more than just a rather demanding toddler.

It’s part of the reception teacher’s job to recognise kids who might run in to difficulties, to alert the parents and to start the process of getting support for them. Hopefully she doesn’t really feel it’s your fault even if she came across that way! People couldn’t give me much advice on how to help my DS until after he was assessed and we knew what caused his problems. If the school have suggested an assessment then it could be a good idea – there can be quite a long wait and you can come off the waiting list if things improve meantime.

And you aren’t a failure! I got grief at first from DS’s head teacher who honestly couldn’t believe that we had no idea about his difficulties. He even said that a kid like DS should have come in with a social work report two inches thick! But the reality was that DS was fine until he had to face certain challenges which hadn’t occurred at home or at nursery. In many ways reception class was the worst possible setting and things have improved as he moved up the school and it’s become more and more structured. Once the head teacher realised that we were all on the same side things got a lot better.

westcoastnortherner Tue 23-Oct-12 22:35:12

Could she have ADHD? My DD is exceptionally bright not naughty, will sit still in class but is a dreamer and is disorganized, has trouble tidying her stuff etc. we have now found out that she has inattentive ADHD.

Here is a brief symptom checker pediatrics.about.com/cs/adhd/l/bl_adhd_quiz.htm

I am currently reading an excellent book called "Driven to distraction", which is written by 2 doctors who also have ADHD themselves, and they really say some thing that made a lot of sense to me, telling a kid with ADHD to try harder to sit still and listen is like asking someone who is short sighted to squint harder.

AshieFan Wed 24-Oct-12 01:03:55

That symptom checker describes most of the children I teach in reception! However, as above posters have said it may be worth getting a referral, esp if it takes a long time to come through, although I still think her sleep, or lack of, needs to be looked at.

You say, lights out at 7.30. Does she have a night light? Maybe she is afraid of the dark? My son suddenly started being afraid of the dark from just after he turned four - it's like he made a developmental leap. I stay with him until he falls asleep and I now leave a lamp on in the room when I leave. Ok, with another LO, this may be not workable for you plus it only takes my LO about 10 mins to fall asleep after a hard day at school! Maybe, dinner is too close to bedtime or not close enough. Or she needs to go to the toilet - mine goes to the toilet before and after story books. And can you think back to why she suddenly started to sleep so much later? Did she come out of nappies at bedtime? Did she stop having a bed time milky drink? Does she share a room with her sibling? Did you start back at work f/t around then? So many questions, but hopefully you may be able to pinpoint where the problem, and therefore, solution may lie.

Also, me and my LO have a ritualised story that we share which is the story of the day, which all begins the same way and ends the same way every day. It really helps him to sleep because he feels like it gives him permission to sleep. We do it everyday, whether at home, on a journey or visiting friends or family.

For what it's worth, my LO sounds very similar to your DD.

midseasonsale Wed 24-Oct-12 19:38:32

Have a think abut what you can do to crack the sleep thing. It sounds like the main issue. Warm milk, banana etc at bed time. Whats your usual routine. Stay with her if she needs you to but only agree to stay if she will be quiet and go to sleep. Otherwise leave.

midseasonsale Wed 24-Oct-12 19:40:55

Have you tied a sleep clock. Ours has starts and a moon/sun to indicate what to do at certain times.

horsebiscuit Wed 24-Oct-12 19:49:10

I agree with others who think sleep might be at the heart of this. My DD1 is wiped out by reception and in bed any time from 1800 onwards (easily 90 mins or 2 hours earlier than this time last year!). She has also started needing extra reassurance and coming into our bed at night, plus weekend activities are all pretty much cancelled for the foreseeable future. If she is tired, she becomes a monster!!
I was thinking of you when watching CBeebies Get well soon earlier this week. They had an episode about sleep. I wondered if your DD might enjoy watching this and discussing how important sleep is and what she thinks might help? Good luck.

Allegrogirl Thu 25-Oct-12 20:33:27

I had a quick word with DD's teacher on Friday and she was better last week (after me nagging her every morning before school). She had her first ever school trip on Tuesday to the zoo and the teacher reported that she was really good all day. She is an angel for the CM. I have wondered in the past about ADHD. Nursery reassured me that DD is just the lively end of normal. Teacher hasn't mentioned any further action at the moment. DD does tick a lot of boxes for ADHD though. Thankfully she is settling down to her homework of learning letters and reading with no trouble at all. She gets very excited about things and right now is buzzing about writing and sounding out words.

I do think she is just a 'spirited' child. Very open to being stimulated in a good and bad way. Exhausting to live with at times but a lot of fun. We'll see as the year goes on at school.

The sleep thing is improving. She's usually asleep by 8.00 and is getting up after lights out less often. She has two nightlights, bedtime story, a short story CD, back stroking, lavender balm, night time rescue remedy on the pillow. She has always had trouble switching off since she was tiny but used to conk out from exhaustion at 7.00 ish due to lack of daytime sleep. The current problems started at about Easter with the lighter evenings. There were no other changes around that time but I think she was getting a bit anxious about starting school. Toileting not an issue as she is still in pull ups. Once she is asleep she is very hard to wake and will sleep in wet sheets unless she is dragged out of bed to change her. I'm not prepared to try night time training while she is so tired from school. Maybe Christmas as I have two weeks off work.

Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

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