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what to do with a free spirit who WILL NOT even try on school uniform

(113 Posts)
jamsandwich Tue 11-Aug-09 21:53:14

Help, help, HELP!
PFB dd, turns 4 on 31st August, then starts school a few days later. Quite reasonably thinks school uniform is awful (bottle green and grey, why oh why?!) I bought it all nice and early as she has always had strong views on clothing and needs a looooong time to come round to new things. But we have made absolutely zilcho progress. To the extent of not even trying things on, so who knows if they even fit.

She has anxieties anyway about school, so I can just see that we will have the most almighty row on the first day about what she will wear, which will make everything even more difficult.

So, questions for the school old-timers:
1) how pragmatic are schools about dresss code for first few weeks (surely some stripey pink socks wouldn't make her fail her GCSE's later on down the line?)

2) and what top tips do you have for trying to overcome this little hitch?

My ideas so far are: sewing on some pretty buttons or beads - not found any that make the grade yet, apparently, but still feeling hopeful/ Dragging her round to see some poor friend wearing her uniform before term starts - not holding out much hope as she won't ever wear trousers, short sleeves or skirts despite having seen endless friends wearing them/ running away and leaving dh to deal with it...

thanks for any helpful thoughts/ similar expereinces (I can't be the only one?!)

Fennel Tue 11-Aug-09 21:55:59

State primaries can't insist on uniform, though they may pretend they can. So I would just leave it and she will quite likely change her mind once she starts school and sees the others wearing it.

My older two both tended not to wear uniform in their school nursery class (aged 3-5) though all the other children did, but they moved into wanting to wear it after a year or so.

I wouldn't make it a big issue especially in the first few days of school. It doesn't really matter.

Tortington Tue 11-Aug-09 21:58:55

free spirit my arse

" get your uniform on now - cos i said so!"

its school policy and hard shit

georgimama Tue 11-Aug-09 22:01:02

Custardo I love you. And I agree.

jamsandwich Tue 11-Aug-09 22:01:12

ooo, this sounds good Fennel. No one has said this to me before. I'll get busy on google to see if I can find anything official - any ideas where you found this out?

I'm already in the "awkward sod" parent category because of the other anxiety issues we have had to deal with, so it won't make much more difference to how we're viewed by the school.

dragonseye Tue 11-Aug-09 22:01:16

lol at free spirit! i can think of another word! wink

drinkyourmilk Tue 11-Aug-09 22:03:20

She has to go to school first day (though ob not legally till 5) - so try your best. Let the teachers bully her into waeringthe uniform id nec. (but then again i'm all for self determination- ahem, or not arguing when someone else can do it!)

drinkyourmilk Tue 11-Aug-09 22:04:24

or 'wearing the uniform if nec'

jamsandwich Tue 11-Aug-09 22:06:00

I know where you're coming from Custardo and georgimama, promise I'm not an indulgent parent in most areas.

But perhaps "anxiety issues" was putting it a bit too mildly - basically she's so terrified in group situations that she cannot speak (like, at all, even to family, best friends etc) or show pain, so I have to do everything I can to remove at least one irrelevant source of stress. Then we can focus on the biggies.

drinkyourmilk Tue 11-Aug-09 22:06:17

Also - any chance she'd do it for choc buttons? ( all for bribery too if no other option - i respond to it so why shouldn't the under 16s?? grin)

jamsandwich Tue 11-Aug-09 22:08:16

love the choc buttons - I could stitch them all over the bloody thing!

ravenAK Tue 11-Aug-09 22:11:39

I'm pretty sure Fennel's right about uniform not being compulsory in state primaries, so there isn't much school can do if you sanction her refusing to wear it.

Otherwise I'm afraid I'm with Custardo - 'free spirits' need boundaries & school needs your support. Not to make teachers' lives easier, but for your dd's sake - ultimately, she'll have to follow school policies or, well, not go to school.

Probably best (& easier on you in the long run tbh) to have the battle over & done now, rather than have it become a war...

Fennel Tue 11-Aug-09 22:16:00

Save the battles for things that matter, I am hard line on some things but uniform isn't worth it.

If the school is bothered about the uniform they'll let you and her know but they'll probably be more concerned about the anxiety about starting school or talking in a group and how to deal with that first.

ravenAK Tue 11-Aug-09 22:19:22

Hadn't seen your subsequent post on the extent of the anxiety issues!

Yes, in light of that, those need to be the priority. & she may change her mind when all around her are in bottle green & grey (sounds quite nice to me, ds has royal blue. Ugh.)

Reallytired Wed 12-Aug-09 11:30:36

Who is the parent and who is the child? Who is in charge? Children feel more secure under a belnevolent dicatorship, than when they are given excessive freedom. Obviously the adult has to be caring and reasonable, but there is a balance between the victorian father with the slipper and a parent who allows their kids to do whatever they like.

If she refuses to wear the school uniform on the first day of school then you physically pick her up and take her to school in whatever she is wearing. (Even if she is wearing her nightie) You hand a bag of school uniform over the school for her to change into.

I know someone who did this with her little girl and the little girl never played up about getting her uniform on again.

However I suspect that you will find that your little girl is really excited to wear her new uniform and start school.

Barmymummy Wed 12-Aug-09 11:38:30

Can relate to anxiety issues re starting school, DS is the same. Does she have sensory issues regarding clothes? ie struggles with socks & shoes feeling uncomfy or clothes feeling itchy? Or is it simply the complete change of clothing that makes her so anxious?

DS is also very anti new/different clothing so I have been putting his school polo top on with normal jogging bottoms and he hasn't noticed. School trousers on with a normal t-short, hasn't noticed...that sort of thing.

When I try and put him in the whole caboodle he immediately gets anxious and wants to take it all off because he is associating it with going to school and thats what is freaking him out.

Any of this ring true for you? Apologies if

stonethecrows Wed 12-Aug-09 16:48:32

Not sure it's a good idea to push the problem over to the school. seems to me this is a problem for parents to fix in advance of the new term - I can imagine a reception teacher with a new class of 30 will not thank you for passing the buck on this one.

stonethecrows Wed 12-Aug-09 16:49:17

Also meant to say, I can't help thinking that she may have picked up on your views of the uniform??

Hassled Wed 12-Aug-09 16:53:27

If it were my DD I would tell her she has to wear her uniform because those are the rules, everyone else has to and it's not up for negotiation. I think if you categorize a just-4 year old as a "free spirit" it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By the time she's 14 you'll have no chance.

sherby Wed 12-Aug-09 16:58:13

Good god she will only just turn 4 a few days before she starts school, so she is what 3 NOW?

Benevolant dictatorship? Let the teacher bully her into wearing it?

She is 3 year old who already has what sounds like anxiety issues surrounding school, wtf does it matter what she wears or how her mother bribes her to wear it.

sherby Wed 12-Aug-09 16:59:29

yes I have no doubt that if you let her be a free spirit now she will no doubt be shooting up behind the school sheds and stealing cars before you know it hmm


preciouslillywhite Wed 12-Aug-09 17:00:32

it's so ridiculous. Starting school (esp when you're just four!) can be hard enough without having uniform issues to deal with as well- not even having the security of wearing your "own" stuff. booooo!

LIZS Wed 12-Aug-09 17:03:53

I'm afraid I'm with Custie, unless she has some form of SN. A child at dc school had sensory issues and was selectively mute. He started with a compromised uniform (ie t-shirt without collar) but it was still recognisable as such iyswim, over time he acquiesced. in the meantime I'd either give it a rest and put the uniform away or get a favourite toy or doll togged up as she will be.

PinkTulips Wed 12-Aug-09 17:04:26

jamsandwich... my dd had similar issues for a long time with regards to freezing up in social situations, completely and utterly.

She didn't speak to a single playschool teacher for 6 months after starting and stopped communicating again when a new teacher started for about 3/4 weeks.

She responded at roll call for the first time a month before she finished in playschool grin

We've found that simply letting her be silent whilst everyone carries on as normal around her is the key, if there's no focus on her at all she gradually integrates herself but if attention is put on her it amplifies the problem.

Even knowing where you're coming from with regards the anxiety though i agree with those who've said it's as simple as saying 'You have to wear it, put it on NOW'.... nervous kids benefit from firm parenting even more so than the extroverted loud kids.

BTW, have faith, dd is more likely to be the loud bolshy one in a social situation these days, most of the time you'd be hard pressed to believe she used to clam up completely. She's starting school in Sept and i fully expect a few weeks of regression but as she's in a class with all the kids she was in playschool with i don't imagine it'll last too long this time.

3littlefrogs Wed 12-Aug-09 17:06:07

Why on earth should an only just 4 yr old have to start primary school? It is madness. Will the school not allow you to defer until she is 5? I really despair sad

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