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Is anyone keeping child at home until school?

(17 Posts)
Jakeyblueblue Thu 10-Jul-14 09:11:43

Just that really?
Excuse if this is long, it's really mithering me and would love some input from wiser mums!
Ds just 3 is due to start a private nursery in the next couple of weeks for his free early years place, but I strongly suspect, that once he realises I leave him, he will refuse to go and it will become a daily battle.
There's a bit more to this story though, I'm 30 weeks pregnant and due beg of sept. Tried looking at playschools / preschools but none were particularly accommodating of the fact I was due the same time as he was expected to start. I went for a private nursery as 1. I have no clue what school he will end up attending as all nearby are over subscribed, so no advantage of him meeting school friends, and 2. With private nursery I can start him pre sept and avoid
him having to experience such a big deal of a new sibling and starting preschool x 5 days a week in the same week.
He's a bright and happy little

lad but very clingy. Has been since the minute he was born. Had to be constantly attached to me. He's been with my mum / sister whilst I've worked three days a week since he was 9 months old but has never gone willingly to them at any point. Fine after I've left and sometimes even cries when I pick him up, but has never got used to it and tells me every day he's cried for his mummy..
Unintentionally i have attachment patented him and often wonder if I've made it worse. We co sleep and he
only self weaned from the boob when I fell pregnant again. On the other hand, I cried every day until I went to junior school and mum says I was exactly the same, so I do wonder if it's just his personality??
He would love being with the other kids and all the activities but my question is, what do I do if he's really distressed about me leaving and refuses to go?? I'm not the type to force him to do anything, and physically he's 98th centile, I'm heavily pregnant and dragging him / carrying him there won't be an option I'd relish, especially when I am going to be at home so doesn't need to go??
The thing that really worries me though is that he's a June baby so will go to school next sept. Obviously he will have to go to school if he refuses or not! But he will be over a year older then? Will this make a difference?
So my question is - does he have to go?? What would you guys do? He may of course totally surprise me and happily toddle off, which will be great, but I know him and thus the doubts!
What are my options if he doesn't want to go? Would a playschool be enough for him? One where I could stay to start with and then gradually retreat? (Nursery are a bit stricter about this and suggest I don't hang around at first.)
The other thing at the back of my mind is that none of us went to preschool or nursery? It was mainly just playgroup the year before school. Am I really putting him at a major disadvantage if I don't persevere? We have a very active life, we go swimming, soft play etc, lots of arts, crafts, reading and trips out at home.
Sorry to ramble on, just want to have a plan for worst case scenario. Baby brain is well and truly kicking in and this is really stressing me out. Just want to find the balance of what's best for the little chap without either putting him at a disadvantage or forcing him to be distressed every day for no reason??
Any help would be much appreciated!

IWillOnlyEatBeans Thu 10-Jul-14 10:48:27

My DS1 sounds very similar to yours. Very, very clingy from babyhood. I gave up work to be a SAHM when he was 14 months, as our experiences with childcare (nursery, then a nanny share) were such a disaster.

I started sending him to a little playschool (2 hours, twice a week) when he was 2.7. He didn't really enjoy it, but it did gently ease him in to spending time without me. He spent most of the session holding hands with the group leader (who was lovely, and didn't mind at all), but as time went on he started to join in more, especially with the structured activities (craft, singing etc).

He started pre-school (a school nursery, 9 hours per week) at 3.2, increasing to 15 hours per week at 3.7. I would honestly say that it has done him the world of good. He is so much more confident now. He has made some friends (he used to be TERRIFIED of other children) and asks to meet up with them outside of nursery.

I am still a bit anxious about him starting school (moving from half days to full days, with the added stress of staying for lunch), but I would be feeling panic-stricken if he was going from staying at home full time, to school full time with nothing in between.

It wasn't an easy decision (I didn't HAVE to send him anywhere) but I am sure it was the right one.

FWIW, I had DS2 when DS1 was 2.10. He is a completely different kettle of fish and has a massive tantrum every morning because he is not allowed to stay at school with his brother.

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat more. Of course your son doesn't have to start school yet. Legally he can stay at home until the term after his 5th birthday, which is ages away smile But I am glad that I got the separation anxiety etc out of the way in a gentler setting, rather than having to go through it all at the school gates...

Piratejones Thu 10-Jul-14 10:54:03

I didn't but I’m just jumping in to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping them home, there is no legal requirement at all for nursery. I have a feeling this thread might get a bit negative, but please do what yuo feel is best.

lljkk Thu 10-Jul-14 10:59:04

If I had a baby on the way I would want the older one out of the way a bit (few hours/week) just for my sanity. I sent DC1 for a day/week when DC2 was born.
Does your nursery require him to go EVERY day?
I think they benefit from some practice at being away from mom most mornings before they start school.
I might delay starting nursery until January in OP's position.

mummytime Thu 10-Jul-14 11:04:04

Preschool is the new name for playgroup - you do realise that?

It might be much easier for you in September to have him regularly going outside the house - so you can use that time to: catch up on jobs, spend time with the baby or sleep.

But if it makes things harder for you both, then it isn't compulsory. To be honest if you presented playgroup as just something you start the September after you turn 3, then I don't feel it is much worse if it also coincides with you having a baby. The problem is if the LO feels they are being only going because there is a baby.

It isn't compulsory.
I do think you should give him a chance to socialise with children outside the family, and do things without you. But if nursery doesn't suit, he still has plenty of time to grow up and adapt before school starts. You can also be much more flexible over pre-school than real school.

Have you looked at schools yet?

kavv0809 Thu 10-Jul-14 11:08:05

It is really hard when they don't want you to go. I would say if you find the right childcare setting for him he'll possibly be a bit happier. At his age he should be able to go around with you when you visit, and see what's on offer and perhaps he'll express a preference?

The other thing to say is you don't always have to do five mornings or afternoons. I found getting up and out each day with a newborn and 3.5yo challenging enough without also entering into battles about not wanting to go. He might prefer just a couple of half days and one full day session, or mixtures like that? Possibly enough to get him used to it and get the benefits without sending him every day.

Don't stress yourselves out, yes school is looming but I don't think he will miss out from being at home, it's lovely that he wants to be there.

duchesse Thu 10-Jul-14 11:15:34

If I had my time again with my older children, firstly I wouldn't have had 3 in 4 years, and secondly I wouldn't have rushed to get my oldest into formalised settings so young. Back then I thought that he needed to socialise and get used to a school-type environment. Now I realise that he is who he is, and no amount of playgroup or nursery was ever going to change that. If I were you, I would just play it by ear and find a balance that suits you both. Many children are really not ready for school at 4, whatever the school system tells people. They need the extra year to age 5 to learn all sorts of social skills that many children now appear to lack at primary school. You don't actually have to send him to school at all until you want/ he is ready. You can register to home ed until you think he's ready.

Jakeyblueblue Thu 10-Jul-14 12:28:17

Thanks guys - some helpful advice.
Mummy time - I've looked at schools but am smack bang in the middle of four that are massively over subscribed so no idea which he will end up at. The best one and one I will be putting as first choice does have a preschool but they wouldn't entertain him doing less than 5 mornings despite the fact the baby is due the same week he is due to start. The reason they have was that they have a waiting list and others want 5 days so a waste of place. The others had a similar view and one was only offering 3 full days which I think would be worse.
The private nursery I've picked is very nice. Recommended by several trusted friends. It's small, as in 8 kids per age group and in a big house so like home from home. The only down side is manager is quite strict about settling in. Says I can come for two hour sessions then would be expected to leave him. Having said this she was very helpful with accommodating him prior to baby arriving so he doesn't link the two and feel pushed out. This is my biggest fear. He will be going 3 x 2 hr sessions until sept when he will go 3 x 5 hr sessions with free 15 hr place.

My mum keeps telling me pre school / playschool is the same but I've looked at local playgroups and they seem no where near as structured. All two hr sessions, mainly free play with a bit of arts / crafts and story at the end. Was worried this isn't stimulating enough for him and he will be mainly with younger kids?? I may be wrong about this though so please correct me if I am!
As a previous poster suggested. I do think he just might always be like this and school will be difficult when he starts, no Matter what he does before. He is actually very confident and sociable when he's with me, will happily run off at soft play etc, always approaches other kids at the park to play, it's just when I leave, he's inconsolable!
I'm also not sure I need a break from him. I may well change my mind when I have a screaming newborn too though! It's taken us 10 yrs to achieve two pregnancies so I'm absolutely looking forward to having a year at home with the two of them!
I'm trying not to let this cloud my judgement though as I do accept that experience of other children will be good for him in the long run.

Any other advice?

NorthEasterlyGale Thu 10-Jul-14 12:59:03

Well, I started school quite early (think I was around 3 or a bit younger when I started doing half days - I'm in late thirties now though so was a long time ago) but have no intention of sending my boys!

I have a 2.1 yr old and an 18 week old. Neither of them go to nursery and we plan to home educate so won't be sending them to pre-school or anything like that.

As DH and I job share, there's always one of us at home and we can easily meet up with other HE kids locally and there are plenty of activities available etc. DS1 is very sociable (lost count of the bemused people in shops and restaurants who wonder why this little lad is waving at them and saying hello, acting like he knows them grin) and good with adults and other kids alike. Who knows what DS2 will be like - he's much more laid back so may be more of a watcher than a do-er in social terms!

If the boys ever want to go to school when they're older, they're free to do so and we'll discuss it as they grow and do what works for everyone at the time. In the meantime, we plan to enjoy the chaos of having both at home smile

Do what works for you, what you feel comfortable with and what feels right, and ignore judgement from anyone that doesn't agree; they're not you and you know your family best.

Good luck with DC2!

mummytime Thu 10-Jul-14 13:11:14

Okay some people call what I'd call toddler groups - playgroups nowadays; that is somewhere you take a child and stay while they play and have a drink, and maybe crafts/story etc.

What used to be called playgroups - 3 or so hour sessions, play, crafts, music etc. and the child is left - are now usually called pre-schools, and have to be a bit more structured to get the 15 hours funding. They are considered part of the Early years curriculum.

Personally I think it is good for children and parents to occasionally be apart; and with a small baby and the limited help available to most families nowadays it can be crucial. Especially those first 10 to 15 weeks, which are exhausting.

With my children they often settled very very quickly once I was outside the room, and the staff were very used to settling small children. It was much better than school.

findingherfeet Thu 10-Jul-14 13:34:20

Similar to you although my little girl was a bit younger, I was pregnant and wanted one morning a week with baby.

My daughter although bright and bubbly with familiar people can be extremely shy around new people, she was used to only being with me really and her dad occasionally. I wanted to settle her into nursery pre baby so there would be consistency of her routine when baby arrived which inevitably was going to be a big change for her (including having to share mummy)

I KNEW she'd struggle with me leaving her and I knew I would too! But as I said I wanted to do it pre baby and before she turned 3 and had to go to nursery (as I'll be back at work) at least this way I was home ready to collect her at anytime necessary.

She cried and clung to me at drop offs, I let key worker take her for a cuddle and distracted her as I left, they assured me that she was happy once I'd gone and would join in and play. DD was always smiling and excited to see me when I picked her up (having eaten all her lunch and played fine which reassured me) but I can't lie the drop off were initially awful. Me and hubs went on a really pro nursery campaign at home, talking about it, praising all the things she did there, we also would read her a book about starting nursery (she still loves this!)

It was hard and I felt a bit wicked but actually it's been amazing for her, she's so much more confident, I get a lot of comments about this from leaders of groups we go to together, she's really eager to join in and will do things away from me without seeming anxious, just happy!

She loves the messy activities, the singing, baking and outings with the nursery. These are things when her brother was first born I was not doing and I felt awful (hormonal) about but she wasn't missing out. She's beginning to play with others (more so than just parallel play) and chats about all her nursery friends to me.

I've really trusted her key workers and I think this is important, I like how they respond to my DD and she can see that I like them so feels safe. They've also helped a great deal in being more adventurous with her food which benefits me!

Of course you don't have to send your LO if you don't want to but I'm so pleased I did. I get time with baby alone and time to do chores etc but more importantly is how much enjoyment DD has got from it. I was a nervy and anxious child and I don't want that for my DD, I think as she's seen me happy for her to go off, she's much more relaxed and I'm not worried as I was about pre school/school start.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Thu 10-Jul-14 17:46:35

What about one of the previous poster's suggestions of a January start? So he has more time with you and won't feel pushed out by the baby?

Jakeyblueblue Thu 10-Jul-14 20:55:26

Yes I think a January start may have to be on the list of options if he won't settle!

jenniferalisonphillipasue Thu 10-Jul-14 23:09:42

My ds was very similar to this. However when we got to pre school age he really surprised me. He was initially going to do 2 mornings per week but very quickly wanted to stay on with the other children.
He has really blossomed and his confidence has improved massively. He is still very clingy when I am around (v frustrating as when I am not there he just gets on with it) but I think it has been really positive for him. He is a June baby too and I was worried about the September start but he is ready for it and looking forward to going with his friends.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 10-Jul-14 23:13:17

Hello Op

None of our dc went to pre school or nursery and just started school.
Our eldest went at just 5 because the year he should have gone had only just turned 4 and he wasn't ready then.
He started reception the following year, they all settled easy enough.

Toastmonster Fri 11-Jul-14 07:58:20

I just wanted to let you know of my story OP. My DS is 3.9 yrs and is still at home with me atm. He has always been super clingy and still is really. I have never done any playgroups with him and he just hated them and I dreaded it so I just thought I'm not going to put us both through it anymore. He is due to start school next year as a September baby so I just had to enrol him at something as I just felt chucking him in full time school would just feel horrendous for him. I looked around alot of preschools and nurseries, he clung to me as usual. Until we visited a montessori, he walked off joined in, it was calm, he did his own thing and I cried. He was ready. He has just done his two induction days, first morning I stayed, the following week, I took him that morning and said mummy is going now, he kissed me and said see you later mummy. I cried again! Simply out of utter relief that I had been dreading it and been worrying for 18 months that it would never happen, but he strolled off and on my return the owner said DS was quietly confident and I had done the right thing for him as it's his personality. Yes I've had stick from people for 18 months all saying why doesn't he go to preschool etc, he'll have no friends etc but he needed extra time at home pottering! He's doing mon, wed and fri 9 - 12, why not try similar in January as new baby and preschool might be too much for him. There is hope, I promise although I wouldn't have said that. Have confidence in yourself to think I'm not going to follow suit and think of it from your DS point of view. Good luck with him and new baby

combust22 Fri 11-Jul-14 08:19:03

I would saya that children can change a lot even in a six month period.

I live in Scotland where children start school aged 4.5-5.5 years. Before that they can attend pre-school nursery, normally attached to a school for two years from the age of 3. Funding for this can be transferred to a private nursery. Deferement is also possible.

I was in no big hurry to see my kids off to a formal setting, my kids were quite attached to me in the early years, and although we attended lots of todddler groups and playgroups I always stayed in the room.

I uptook only one of the funded pre-school years for my kids, my DD was 4yrs and 3 months, my son was 4 years and 9 months when they started, mu son being 5 years and 9 months when he started school.

So in effect their "formal education" started when they were both over 4 years old.
Despite their earlier attachment by this time they marched on in with barely a backward glance. I would not have left them to cry or be unsettled- that's not the type of relationship we have.

You know your child better than anyone.

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