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Anxious 5 year old starting school in September. Help!

(5 Posts)
Lizann Tue 08-Jul-03 09:46:29

My DS who has just turned 5 will be starting school in September. He went to pre-school for one year and it took him quite a while to settle in (and even then we had some very bad mornings throughout the year). He's quite clingy and still very babyish but does mix well with other children (eventually!). I've done all the 'right' things to prepare him for school - he's already quite familiar with the school as his brother goes there and he has met his new teacher (and seemed to like her). On the one hand he seems quite excited about it but then again he becomes very clingy and starts to fret about things and become anxious about how long he'll be there and what time I'll collect him etc. I'm not sure if I should keep talking about school or just not mention it at all until he's about to start. If any of you have gone through a similar experience I'd be grateful for your advice on how to make things less stressful in September

Jaybee Tue 08-Jul-03 10:07:23

To me, it sounds as though you are doing everything that is necessary. I don't think I would continually mention school just answer his questions when he asks and try and reassure him if he seems to have concerns. I always feel that starting in September after a long break away from play groups etc is quite cruel - they clingy kids get used to having Mum around and not going to these places then they start school - no wonder they are often worse. All I would recommend is that you try and keep in regular contact with a few of his classmates to be - assuming he knows some. It may be worth leaving him with another Mum for an afternoon a week and if you have an agreement with a few other Mum's to take their turn too you will get him used to you leaving him for a while.
Only other things would be ensuring that he can deal with practical things like wiping his bum, getting his uniform on and off, getting his PE kit and plimsolls on and off (velcro ones are easier!!), opening his lunch box, drink bottle and a crisp packet. Maybe ensuring that he can recognise and possibly write his own name (assuming he can't already). I always think that if they are confident with the practical stuff it makes their life alot easier - it also gives you something practical to concentrate on to stop you worrying about your baby starting school.

kayleigh Tue 08-Jul-03 11:19:19

Lizann, could you get together with some of the other mums in the summer holiday whose children are starting at the same time. We did this with my ds1, who had hardly any knowledge of the school, and he was quite happy knowing his "new" friends would be with him at school.

Jaybee Tue 08-Jul-03 12:54:41

Lizann - after more thought.... I have noticed that many of the ones in my dd's class who used to play their mum's up when they first started seemed to do it purely for effect - virtually as soon as mum was out of sight they were fine. It always seemed to be the ones where their mum fussed them and responded to their clingyness who took longer to settle - my friend's dd was terrible, my friend didn't help matters (she openly admits this now!!) by hanging around the classroom, cuddling her dd, trying to stay until she was ok etc. etc. In the end, her dd became unbearable every morning - she then used to drop her at mine - a quick goodbye and I would walk her into school - the little madam was no problem as she knew she would not get the same reaction to her clinginess from me. It only took a week and her mum then took her in herself without problem.
I am waffling but what I am trying to say is - reassure your ds that he will be fine - maybe have a quick chat with his new teacher about how they deal with clingons but it may help if you can be matter-of-fact with him when you leave him. Goodbye, love you, have a good day, I will see you here later and go!!

Lizann Wed 09-Jul-03 11:12:10

Jaybee, I know exactly what you mean. We did have a few (quite a few!) mornings where he was a real clingon in pre-school but once I had gone he settled down. So I guess I'll just have to be firm with myself and not hang around too long when I drop him off at school. No doubt I'll then go back to the car for a little sob!!! Anyway, thanks for your advice Jaybee and yours too Kayleigh. Now I'm going to try to put school out of my head and enjoy the Summer.

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