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Help! My preschooler is stressed!

(25 Posts)
Onlyinanemergency Fri 09-Feb-18 07:09:02

My DD is about to turn 4. There has been a lot of upheaval in her life over the past year, including the birth of a sibling and moving house, and she doesn't seem to be coping. She is due to start school in august and I think this is also adding to the pressure despite the fact she is really keen to go. She has always loved nursery and has been going since she was 1 but has suddenly begun refusing to go. Unsuccessfully I might add - I have to go to work. She becomes hysterical in the mornings and sobs all the way there. Nursery assure me nothing has happened there and there is no obvious reason for this sudden change in attitude. She complains of headaches and stomach aches on the days she goes to nursery but not any other time. She is now often tearful and her moods swing from upset/angry to hyper and over excited. It is exhausting for everyone, not least herself. Any advice?

Onlyinanemergency Sat 10-Feb-18 19:08:01


EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Sun 11-Feb-18 12:59:26

She does sound stressed poor love. What have Nursery said? Are they doing anything to reduce her stress? What’s your gut feeling about them?

Onlyinanemergency Sun 11-Feb-18 20:14:50

The nursery seem to be doing all they can - encouraging her to join in with others, doing lots of art and craft things with her which she loves, etc. I've always been really impressed with them and think most of the issue is with DD worrying about things and not really being able to vocalise how she feels. Not sure what we can do at home to help her.

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Sun 11-Feb-18 20:26:33

Is she in nursery full time?

Onlyinanemergency Mon 12-Feb-18 06:42:38

3 days a week, but all day. She's been going since I went back to work part time when she was a year old.

speakout Mon 12-Feb-18 06:49:55

You won't like my view but my view would be to give her full time attention and support.

jaimelannistersgoldenhand Mon 12-Feb-18 14:11:18

You might be doing this already but stop talking about school and definitely don't use terms like Big School to her. In my experience, some adults go OTT about school too early so the kids end up worrying for months. 6 months is a huge chunk of a 4 year old's life and it would be good to focus on now rather than the future or past.

InDubiousBattle Mon 12-Feb-18 22:11:58

So does she not settle at nursery once you've gone?

Onlyinanemergency Tue 13-Feb-18 07:24:31

Jamie, thanks. Nursery suggested that too. Wee hadn't been going on about it too much but school was definitely coming up regularly in conversation. I think because she sometimes brought it up herself we were helping to prepare her for it but you're right - 6 months is a very long time for a child.

Onlyinanemergency Tue 13-Feb-18 07:26:54

speakout, what would you suggest? Quitting my job?! Obviously she gets time and attention from me but 3 days a week I have to be at work!

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Wed 14-Feb-18 08:28:48

What do you do on the 4 days you don’t work Only?

InDubiousBattle Wed 14-Feb-18 10:55:53

What are you going to do for childcare when she goes to School? Might it be worth finding a childminder (if that was your plan for wrap around?)? I know some of my friends dc are starting to struggle at nurseries they've been attending since they were little becasue they have been moved into the pre school room and are now having to do more 'school' type work and the atmosphere is more school-like.

Onlyinanemergency Wed 14-Feb-18 10:57:57

Weekends we usually see family one day and try to have a day out (softplay, museum, park etc) on the other. On my days off we spend some time playing at home and then do an activity out of the house, again usually softplay, park or cafe. My DH is very good at helping with shopping, housework etc so DD can have some time with me in the evenings too, even if it's just bath and bedtime stories. We often do better than than though, and do a jigsaw/ play a game etc in evening. She is not very keen on playing by herself but I know she can do that at nursery so not too worried.

Onlyinanemergency Wed 14-Feb-18 11:02:47

When she goes to school she will switch to a different nursery for the school run and about 1 hour after school. Again, this will only be 3 days a week. I can usually be back from work before 4pm so it won't even be an hours after-school most days. I'm not sure there is much more I can do. To be honest, I am completely exhausted and have no time for myself but I am willing to put up with that to help DD.

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Wed 14-Feb-18 18:44:02

I’d try to cut down on the activities if you can. It sounds like she’s having 3 very full days at nursery and is then being kept very busy on the other days. Sounds like she needs more down time at home.

Onlyinanemergency Thu 15-Feb-18 07:26:29

I think you're probably right. This week I made a big effort to stay in and do calm activities in the house. It seems to have made a huge difference to her levels of stress. It's just not easy when I've also got an almost one year old to try to entertain/ placate. Taking them out is far less stressful for me!

FurryGiraffe Thu 15-Feb-18 07:55:36

I'd second the cutting down on the activity. I think it's easy to underestimate how much they need downtime. DS1 is very prone to anxiety and definitely needs time at home with things not too frenetic. Unstructured time too, where he's just pottering about playing rather than being entertained.

Entertaining the little one will hopefully get much easier very soon. My two are exactly 3 years apart and at 4.9 and 21 months play together brilliantly and have done for a while.

Onlyinanemergency Thu 15-Feb-18 13:45:13

That's encouraging, Furry. I think part of the problem with time spent at home though is that she either wants me to join in with whatever she's doing, or she just wants to watch/ play with the iPad. I don't know how to get her to potter around or play without my constant input. Would love suggestions.

EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Thu 15-Feb-18 19:03:50

I found it much easier going out but my DD has always been much happier when she’s had lots of “pottering” time.

Do they play anything together currently?

Onlyinanemergency Thu 15-Feb-18 20:12:10

Not really, DS is fantastic at just investigating things by himself. He'll spend ages putting toys in a box and then tipping them out again or trying to poke a ball through a gap in something! DD is not impressed by this sort of thing! It's either quite complicated imaginative play, messy craft activities which are hard to involve DS in or iPad.

InDubiousBattle Thu 15-Feb-18 20:26:13

My 2.6 year old dd is much better at entertaining herself than my 4 year old ds. He seems to need quite a lot of me recently too. He started going to pre school one full day and two mornings a week in September. We used to do a toddler group and the children's centre on the other two days but now only do one or the other because I think he really benefits from a day at home. At home he's like my little shadow, he 'helps' me cook and clean etc.

Onlyinanemergency Thu 15-Feb-18 20:51:22

That's probably worth trying - getting her to help with things around the house. I've shied away from that because after her brother was born she very much didn't want to help out with him! I think the dust has probably settled enough now that I could get her to lend a hand if the tasks don't involve caring for DS!

InDubiousBattle Thu 15-Feb-18 21:02:10

He washes all of the bath toys whilst I clean the bathroom (takes 3 towels to mop up after!), helps me put clothes away that sort of thing.

Onlyinanemergency Fri 16-Feb-18 07:20:31

Sounds good. She actually has a cleaning set and vacuum cleaner (because her grandmother is terrified I will turn her into a militant man-hating lesbian) so she has all the equipment!

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