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Should I let my tired & unhappy 4 year old do school part time?

(26 Posts)
peachcake Sat 09-Feb-13 22:03:21

My four year old daughter is suffering terribly from separation anxiety and is so unhappy when she has to go to school, she started school in September and was ok for the first term but after Xmas just doesn't want to go in. She says she just wants to stay with mummy sad I have tried everything I can think of to make school life easier for her, spoken to teachers who have been very helpful and put my suggestions in place, personal item belonging to me in pocket, reward chart, earlier bedtimes, lots of praise and attention after school etc etc...
I am now wondering whether i should take her out of school on Tue & Weds afternoons or whole day Wednesday or Friday just so that the school week doesn't seem so long and tedious. she is a summer birthday so doesn't have to be there at all until this September!
Please can all you experienced Mum's give me your opinion, is this giving in to her anxieties which could make matters worse? Could it create more problems long term when she starts year 1 and has to go F/T? Will she push for more time off if she thinks it's negotiable? Or am I worrying too much and should I just let her have a P/T week at school while she can? If so which afternoons or days do you think most suitable to break up the week and give her some rest?
Many thanks! x

BusyTiredAndLoveIt Sat 09-Feb-13 22:08:26

I think it's best for you to judge as you know your child best.

But, ime, kids bargain with you where possible. And if she has to go ft in September it may be easier for her to bite the bullet and get on with it now. As its not negotiable in sept.

Maybe invite a friend over for dinner once a week. Get her involved with school life a bit more? So hard at 4. It seems like such a big school for them.

PoppyWearer Sat 09-Feb-13 22:08:32

It's hard isn't it? My 4yo summer-born DC1 is finding it exhausting and we often have problems getting her in the door in the mornings.

FWIW, I haven't once thought about taking her part-time. I give her lots of support about the social side of things, which is where she struggles (as did I) but unless you plan to home-educate, school is a fact of life.

WaitingForPancakeDay Sun 10-Feb-13 10:40:18

Loads can change in the months between now and sept. that's why you see an autumn baby being massively ready for school and a summer baby being too tired. If it were me, I would do the same as you and consider part time or removing her until September.

lljkk Sun 10-Feb-13 10:56:57

I think you are delaying the inevitable & better to bite the bullet & be firm now. I know it's tough, btdt.

The cling-bots in DS's reception year have all settled down for now, although we had a bad patch after Christmas with many finding it hard to come back after the big break.

newname2012 Sun 10-Feb-13 11:01:21

What is she like once you have gone? Does she settle fairly quickly? How is she for the rest of the day?

AbbyCat Sun 10-Feb-13 11:08:04

My dc are not in school yet, but I went through a phase of refusing to go to school. Essentially I was bored as I was miles ahead of the class and this wasn't recognised (went to school abroad). My parents got tire of my whining and let me stay at home in the hope that I'd get bored o f staying home and doing housework (what I was made to so since I didn't want to go to school) but after 2w I showed no signs of relenting and they made me go back. They did speak to the teacher though and I was given more challenging work. No real advice about your dd unfortunately, but perhaps explore why she doesn't want to go?

catladycourtney1 Sun 10-Feb-13 11:09:34

My first instinct would be to say no, you'd only be setting yourself up for more problems in the future when she does have to be there full time.

But, if she's essentially a year younger than some of her classmates then its natural that she won't be quite as ready for the separation and new environment as they will. You know your child best, and if you think that keeping her in school full time is causing her more harm than good, then certainly consider it.

peachcake Sun 10-Feb-13 16:10:33

Right... Thank you ladies for your experience and advice, most helpful. I have now decided to carry on as we are for a few more weeks after half term and if we are still having the same issues I will reduce her school hours. She does settle within the first hour of being at school as her teacher will phone and let me know if she has been very upset at drop off time. She appears to be happy most of the day with the exception of lunchtimes on some occasions.

I just want to do the right thing, I made my older daughter who is now 14 years old go to school regardless of her anxiety (even though hers was much, much more severe) and she carried on suffering right up until secondary school, which nearly destroyed us at times. I have to distinguish between the 2 girls and realise that my younger daughter's problem with school may just be temporary (I hope) and not severe and long-term. And I shouldn't react too quickly, it's hard though as it tears at my heart strings so much.

I will play it by ear and re-evaluate and make changes if I think they will have a positive effect. In actually typing these words and sharing this problem it has really helped clarify the situation. Thanks again all advice and opinions so welcome :-)

BusyTiredAndLoveIt Sun 10-Feb-13 16:21:48

And also, just for reference-dc don't have to start full time school until the term after their 5th birthday. (So in 2014)

Though I do agree with biting the bullet now, if she still really struggles then its something to bear in mind.

BusyTiredAndLoveIt Sun 10-Feb-13 16:22:57

Term after her birthday 2013 sorry!

BusyTiredAndLoveIt Sun 10-Feb-13 16:25:46

Forget those 2 posts I'm confusing myself. Your dd in reception, 5 in the summer so sept start in year one?

Busy and tired by name and by nature today! Sorry!

Babieseverywhere Sun 10-Feb-13 16:43:11

I see from your last post that you are going to see how things go over the next few weeks, I hope things improve for you and your daughter.

I'm having similar issues with my DS also summer born 4 yo. Academically he is excelling but he is struggling socially and is over tired and emotional at the end of the school day etc.

I spoke to the teachers who said that as he was now in school reception class, he had to attend full time, even though he isn't 5 yo until summer. So part time was not an option for us. He is enjoying half term holiday atm and I hope this break will recharge his batteries for the next school term. It is hard when they are so tired they just cry sad

I found with his older sister (another 4yo with summer holiday too) things got a lot easier in Year One. I hope it will be the same for DS.

peachcake Mon 11-Feb-13 12:35:04

Thanks BusyTiredAndLoveIt I will definitely be playing it by ear over the coming weeks and will not be scared of rocking the boat at school, I will do whatever I think is best for my daughter (back when DD1 was in Year R I felt so disempowered as they literally dragged her away screaming in the morning) no way will I allow them to do this with DD2, they have to do their bit as I am doing mine!!

Babieseverywhere, I'm sure there is no legal obligation for your son to be at school full time until the term after his 5th birthday as previous replies have said, the school should be fully aware of this and it should of course be your decision, like me, you don't want to put them off altogether, just to let you know that it is definitely a real option for you and your son, I hope he feels happier soon too!

This is such a wide spread problem I wish schools/teachers were better able to cope with these issues, it's the same old argument of lack of time, resources and money and in the meantime our children and whole families struggle on suffering sad I will however be very proactive in getting what I deem to be reasonable measures in place to help my daughter with the difficulties she is experiencing.

littone Mon 11-Feb-13 13:23:47

Thought here is no legal obligation to be at school, I think once you have accepted the reception place you have to be there. If you withdraw her now, you may have to reapply for a place next September (and as the application date has passed you may no longer get a place in the same school).

Bramshott Mon 11-Feb-13 13:30:34

I'd certainly be tempted to let her have the occasional day off if she's very tired - being very tired counts as "ill" in Reception IMHO. If you're worried she'll milk it and ask to be off all the time I'd have no qualms in taking her temperature and "adjusting" the results to suit what I wanted to happen (eg. "yes you do have a little bit of a temperature, you'd better have a quiet day at home today" vs "oh no, your temperature's fine, you'll have to go to school today")

Princesspond Mon 11-Feb-13 13:41:06

A friend's child (summer bday) had similar probs, in consultation with the school they reduced some days at end of week to part time. He improved and eventually increased them again with no adverse effects on him maintaining friendships etc. Fwiw I think they are v young at four I wouldn't have any hesitation in doing that if I felt it was right for my child.

Floralnomad Mon 11-Feb-13 13:51:05

I agree with Bramshot , just have the odd 'sick day' . I think taking her out will just be delaying the problem as she may well have the same issues in YR 1 . I also think that the school may take a dim view of 'part time' schooling , although this obviously varies from school to school . I think once you accept your place you are obliged to do the hours that are set not pick and choose, so it may be a case of all or nothing .

spanky2 Mon 11-Feb-13 13:55:15

My ds1 was just the same . He is born in July. He had sick days for being tired. He is year 4 now and is fine now. Although he does go to sleep at 7pm .

toughdecisions Mon 11-Feb-13 14:03:05

Another one who says have a few random duvet days. Just say to your DD she looks a bit pale or similar and tell school she is under the weather. I wouldn't give her cause to make any link to unhappiness with school. I should have done this with DS and with hindsight wonder if the reception teacher was trying to steer me towards it with her comments of he's really tired and often in tears towards the end of term.

peachcake Wed 13-Feb-13 14:01:42

Well I must be fortunate with my daughters school at least as it was the head of Year R that suggested the idea to me! She said it was fine to take her out whenever I felt it was necessary on a permanent basis through Year R if required and even suggested she could have Tuesday and Thursday afternoons or days off for that matter or Wednesday or Friday afternoon or whole day if needed, and I coulkd adjust this to suit on a weekly basis. no mention of having to be their full time to "hold" her place. Really nice to hear that the teachers are more interested in putting the well being of the children first before anything else, and so it should be!! Each child is unique and should be treated as individuals. I'm sad that other peoples experiences have been different, I do believe if you don't ask you don't get, the teachers did know I was having a real struggle and seem more than willing to help.

seeker Wed 13-Feb-13 14:06:10

I sent my ds part time until he actually asked to stay all day. I had to be quite assertive with the school, but I did it! And I kept him off the occasional Friday all through Reception. He went into year 1 fine, and never looked back.

bumpybecky Wed 13-Feb-13 14:11:17

my ds was struggling in reception a bit at the beginning, we got round it by having something different about each day so it sort of broke the week up a bit.

Monday is breakfast club day
Wednesday is beans on toast day (dd3 has brownies, so we need a quick tea)
Friday is chips day (school dinners!)

we've also had going to the park day, friend round for tea day, comic day etc etc

peachcake Wed 13-Feb-13 14:16:32

Just re-read my last message, terrible grammar and spelling mistakes, apologies :-o

Seeker, really nice to hear of someone that has tried it and has had a positive outcome, great idea about sending your child mornings until he asked to stay all day, that way you knew he was ready, brilliant.

I think sometimes we need to listen and look for signs of what children are capable of doing rather than basing our decisions on what we or the authorities think they should be doing. Would cause a lot less stress all round!!

Goldmandra Wed 13-Feb-13 14:41:27

I did this when DD2 started school.

It was very clear that she was not ready emotionally and I knew that I had to do something.

The school weren't happy but it was the right thing to do. She would come home and fall asleep on my lap within minutes every day.

After two terms she started full time again and the second time she coped much better. That six months or so made a big difference in terms of her development.

I am an Early Years practitioner and I have looked into the research about the well-being of young children in group settings at this age. Reception aged children are included in this bracket and it has been recognised that they may not be as OK as they appear to be once the parent has left. There is a lot more work to be done on this.

You need to trust your instincts on this one. Her parents are the people in the world who know her best and the only ones who will genuinely act solely in her best interests. You need to do what you think is best.

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