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I am in an absolute anxiety paralysis about DD starting Primary, I can't cope with it any more

(32 Posts)
ScarlettIsWalking Mon 19-Sep-11 17:24:54

OK I have one DD just started at an independent (v academic slant. great results) school for 2 weeks, she came down with a nasty cold over the WK and has had to have today off and somehow this has triggered a massive panic for me.

I am v happy to have just DD and have no desire whatsoever for another baby so it's really not that I want to "baby" her or keep her at home, I have enjoyed our time together and thought she was ready for this, having been to pre-school for 2 yrs. However I really feel that I have made the wrong decision in sending her to school so early. It's crazy.

It is so full-on; full-time from first week and very busy and I just think she is drained. V pale and confused at the whole thing but coping well enough. But I don't just want her to "cope". We chose the school overall because of the pastoral care for the students and great reputation. Also DD seemed to love it at the assessment days and we got such a positive vibe.

I can't believe I am almost in tears here, dreaming about moving to another country where they start at 6 or even HE, lamenting a more relaxed attitude for my DD. The thing is she isn't complaining or screaming that she hates it. It's just this kind of gut feeling of mine that it is too rigid - the uniforms, coffee mornings, all the party invites that seem de rigeur already when I just want her to relax on the WK. I wish I had chosen a different path for her. The independent thing is not my or DH's background or something we felt strongly about, we looked at a lot of schools and just liked this one, so not sure if that has anything to do with the overall experience I'm having.

I would love to hear from more experienced Mums as to what I should do, if anything. Should I voice my concerns to the school so soon? I don't really have anything to complain about as such other that I feel my child needs to wait another year to physically and mentally cope with this experience. I just want to run away somewhere with my family and start again.
Sorry for rambling. I a so emotional about this.

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 19-Sep-11 17:29:14

Send her to a good state primary where the emphasis in reception is on learning through play. There are schools in this country where the atmosphere in reception classes is relaxed; my children barely noticed the transition from nursery to reception. They certainly didn't have to sit still at tables or do homework or anything insane like that.

Helennn Mon 19-Sep-11 17:29:26

How old is your dd?

ScarlettIsWalking Mon 19-Sep-11 17:31:01

she is 4 - I am going to read these and think deeply and seriously about what you say so may be a few moments coming back

usualsuspect Mon 19-Sep-11 17:34:46

I would send her to a state primary where the atmosphere is more relaxed

ScarlettIsWalking Mon 19-Sep-11 17:38:19

Are states normally better on this then? the ones I looked at were such big classes I thought it would be harder to get that attention if something was wrong.
I really don't care about attainment at this age I just want her to feel relaxed and happy and for the teachers to be kind. They seemed to be big on care though at the meetings. I really think I have got this so wrong how could I be so stupid?

Helennn Mon 19-Sep-11 17:38:52

Sorry but I really can't see that there is a problem - other than your anxiety. My dd was just 4 when she started in the state primary, she started full-time and had a uniform so doubt it is much different. They are all shattered to start with and you say she is not complaining or un-happy, just a bit washed out. I also don't understand why you find coffee mornings or birthday parties wrong, if you don't want to go then don't.

However, it did take me several months to get used to it. I was mourning the trips out that we took to the cafe, the feeling of freedom and the fact that she was my little girl to do whatever I liked with. I had to hand her over to this noisy, busy place that I had no control over. But - she loves it, its good for her and she has lots of friends there, so it was my problem, not hers.

So, I think you should give it a good few weeks and see how it goes. Maybe keep yourself busy or start a new hobby would help or even speak to somebody about your anxiety, I don't think you should be that stressed.

usualsuspect Mon 19-Sep-11 17:41:39

I have no experience of private schools ,but at my DCs state reception the emphasise was still very much on learning through play

ScarlettIsWalking Mon 19-Sep-11 17:42:35

Thank-you helen. I don't find coffee/ parties wrong that was badly put. But it has been a bit of a bombardment from day 1 at events in the school new parents had to attend. YOu are right I shouldn't go if I don't want to. But I want to be sociable for DD.

stealthsquiggle Mon 19-Sep-11 17:48:32

Take a huge deep breath. Go and talk to her teacher about it. Remember - one of the points of independent schools is that you are the customer. Talk to them about your concerns, and come together to a plan for your DD - maybe doing 4 days a week for a while, for example?

BibbetyBobbity - independent schools have to follow EYFS, and are inspected by Ofsted on that basis. Reception is as much about "learning through play" as it is in the state sector.

OP - I am sure you are emotional about it, and understandably so - it can seem hugely overwhelming, especially when everyone else seems to know each other and know the systems - but if your DD is basically having fun, then you need to relax. If your DD has not been at nursery before, she will be tired, and she will catch lots of colds. My very wise GP once told me that DC work their way through a certain number of colds, coughs, etc - if they start nursery at [insert age] then they are largely done by the time they go to school. If they have been mostly at home until they start school, then that is when they start working their way through the colds. I have no idea on it's basis in science, but it made sense to me!

Overall, I would talk to the teacher now, but then give whatever plan you come up with until at least half term before making any drastic decisions.

stealthsquiggle Mon 19-Sep-11 17:52:21

Also - don't judge by other people's DC. My DD is in YR (independent school, FWIW), but she is almost 5, and has been in full time nursery since she was 6mo. She can deal with a school day + after school activities and still have too much plenty of energy left. There is a little boy in her class who is barely 4, about half DD's size, and the teacher allows/encourages him having a nap in the book corner in the afternoon. DC vary hugely at this age and the teachers will understand that.

Helennn Mon 19-Sep-11 17:52:27

We have a coffee morning for new parents at our school so that new parents can meet each other, but if you don't need/want to go then don't, I really don't think your dd will mind. You will need to learn what to attend and what not to else you'll never have a minute to yourself with after school clubs, invites to parties etc. Just take this at your own pace and don't feel pressurised into doing things.

I really think you could find exactly the same in state school (all the demands for this and that) and you have said yourself that you have visited a state school and thought the class size was too big and that your current school seemed big on care. I think you'll find you made the choice for the right reasons and it will be fine in the end but you are just having a wobble as it is a shock to the system.

Do you have a friend you could talk to in real life about this? I do worry about how anxious you are.

Hassled Mon 19-Sep-11 17:56:45

Being shattered is absolutely normal. They all are - she won't be alone. State or independent - there are 4 year olds throughout the land who are like zombies at the moment. It does get better.

Guard those weekends, though. Your instincts are right - she needs that downtime. It's OK to say no to invites.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Mon 19-Sep-11 18:00:44

If she's just started school she will be shattered and a bit overwhelmed full stop. And picking up a bug when she's around a new group of children isn't unusual! It would happen if she changed nursery. 18 year old's get bugs in their first few weeks of University as they're also prone to getting a little too close to each other.

Give it at least half a term. This is the school you picked very carefully. It hasn't changed.

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Mon 19-Sep-11 18:02:24

reception year at independent schools is very much based on learning through play. I am not sure whre the OP said it was otherwise in her post - she did say it was an academic school, and that her dd's first week was "full on" but starting school is full on - lots of new things, people, routines etc.

Scarlett: talk to your dd's teacher. let your dd get over her cold, and see how she settles. it's not been long.

FWIW, my dd2 has jst started reception. she has very full, busy weeks, with lots of things to do. she is shattered, but not becuase she is at an academic school (her school is academic, but she is in reception, and spends her time playing), but because she has lots of new people to adjust to, and new things happening each day.

she loves it, and is very excited by it all - the phonics, the reading books (for us to share!), and the after school clubs she has to stay for (I have to pick up her sister first).

btw - you can opt out of this year - legally, your dd only needs to be in full time education the term after she turns 5. but she would then go into year one, not into reception - which would be a big leap, imo.

ScarlettIsWalking Mon 19-Sep-11 18:05:38

Thank you all. I am trying to calm down about it now and think through carefully. This was a considered decision.

I don't really have anyone I could talk to as such, although I had to decline a playdate today due to her being unwell and the Mum said if I needed to talk to call/ contact her. -I explained in my text DD was v tired-. Although I don't really want to bother her will all my panic about having made the right choice for DD. I am just bottling it in at the mo as I don't want DD to pick up on it...

ScarlettIsWalking Mon 19-Sep-11 18:07:49

You are all really helpful! Thank you

Helennn Mon 19-Sep-11 18:09:13

Just to make you laugh - my friends little angel has just started reception, she turned 4 in July. Last week she stood at the top of the bank with all the waiting parents admiring her cute blonde curls - then turned around, pulled her knickers down and waved her bum in the air grin They are all so little and the school knows it.

Also, I couldn't imagine having a six year old still at home all day, I would want to tear my hair out and I'm sure it doesn't do the child any good at all.

Helennn Mon 19-Sep-11 18:13:50

Sorry, the second paragraph related to you thinking of moving abroad where they don't go to school until they're 6.

I'm sure it will be fine, but if its not you can move her when she's had a good chance to get used to it. There's nothing worth panicking over now.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Mon 19-Sep-11 18:16:56

It sounds like you're doing exactly the right stuff. You're not letting her see you're stressed and you're making sure she has quiet time to rest. If this were to continue on into November and not seem to ease then you might want to look at other options, but for the time being it is worth sticking with it. She doesn't sound upset or unhappy, just shattered. If you can you could always give her the odd duvet day if she looks particularly tired/drained.

olddog Mon 19-Sep-11 18:21:29

I was in an assembly at my dcs state primary with lots of learning through play and I really noticed how awful the reception dcs looked. One of them went to cuddle in to the teacher and actually fell asleep on her knee. Its a big adjustment but they do get used to it.

CurlyhairedAssassin Mon 19-Sep-11 18:26:20

I agree with the others that it's only YOUR anxiety that is coming across here really. What your daughter is going through is no different to any other children in Reception, state or otherwise. It is a big transition but almost sounds like its affecting you more than it is her!

I really don't think the type of school is an issue. It is just school, full stop! She sounds like she is doing just fine. Some might view the coffee mornings/social side of things as a strength. Personally I think too much social stuff outside of school in reception is way over the top. School is for socialising at that age, keep evenings and weekends for family time. Yes, do the odd play date or party but don't go over the top.

It is hard though, to know what things to turn down and what to accept as often they don't give any indication as to who their friends are, as they are still getting to know everyone. So I think parents tend to panic that their kids will somehow miss out if they don't attend EVERY party.

Seriously, I would try to chill out a bit about it all. You and your daughter will soon settle into it all and feel like old hands at everything. It is all just so NEW at the moment and feels strange. Far too early to make any big decisions about anything.

smile

NormanTebbit Mon 19-Sep-11 18:26:33

DD2 is 4.6 and has just started full time at her local state primary. She is pretty tired. We have had tears all the way home because she wants to go back to nursery.

But the thing is I know she is positive about school, she is loving learning to read, her teacher is very experienced and has a positive relationship with DD2 and I know that she will settle in eventually Actually she has to as there is no alternative.

I think you are projecting alot of feelings on to your DD that are not hers. Shje is coping with tiredness and a new routine, new people and some separation anxiety. It is something every child has to deal with and it is as much a learning experience as the academic work at school.

If she doesn't settle maybe you should consider whether this school suits your DD. Consider the state sector - it may be things are less intense and she will find it easier to shine.

Theyremybiscuits Mon 19-Sep-11 18:27:16

My DD has started reception today aged 4.

She said with emphasis that they 'got no rest!!!!'

That would be no rest from the play then. It made me smile.

She is tired of course, but says it's great!

NormanTebbit Mon 19-Sep-11 18:29:48

And I agree about keeping socialising to minimum at this time. She needs down time. Time to come in from school and zone out. DD2 is currently doing dot-to-dots and is happily humming to herself, crying fit is forgotten.

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