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Horrendous school drop offs - help

(41 Posts)
Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 12:27:28

My son is now on his 4th week of foundation (Reception). School drop off was ok the first two or three days but has got worse and worse - to the point where the TA has to now grab him and drag him screaming across the playground to stop him running away.
Apparently he’s fine after 15 minutes and he says he’s had fun when I pick him up, but the next morning when getting dressed will start to say he doesn’t want to go - and then all hell breaks out at drop off.
I’ve tried a visual timetable, talking to him about nerves, promises of ice cream after school, sticker chart, books about going to school, going in with a friend, drawing hearts on our hands, going in late when it’s less busy, being dropped off by someone else. Nothing seems to work.
His emotions are so high at the moment - he’s now refusing to go to his swimming class which he used to love and he keeps crying at home about things that never used to upset him! I’m pregnant (due after Christmas) and have been pretty sick with HG but no other big changes at home.
I just don’t know what to do next. I feel like I’ve failed him, all the other kiddies seem to be so happy going in!
I’ve spoken to his teacher who says she thinks he’s trying it on, as he’s happy after 15 mins, but I just don’t agree with that assessment as it’s affecting home life too. Any help / advice would be appreciated, this is starting to really affect all of us!

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emptyshelvesagain Tue 22-Sep-20 12:30:02

the TA has to now grab him and drag him screaming across the playground to stop him running away.

This is not acceptable. Can he not be taken in the main entrance and met by a teacher/TA? We have quite a few kids who come to school that way because they can't cope with going through the line etc. School should be helping you, staging a child screaming through the playground is totally unacceptable

GreenGoldRed Tue 22-Sep-20 12:31:41

Can anyone else do the drop offs for you for a week or so? Your sons Dad? Mine always use to be far worse for me then my DH

Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 12:33:52

@emptyshelvesagain I did think that the first time it happened, but I didn’t know what else she could do (there’s a busy car park at the exit of the playground where we drop off). She told me Monday they just take him away from the car park bit and then let him have some space to calm down. I’ll certainly ask later about a different drop off location.
They used to let parents drop off at the classroom but due to covid they now do it at the main gate

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RedskyAtnight Tue 22-Sep-20 12:35:01

I think there is two issues here - the morning drop off, and the emotions at home.

Re drop off - you have to trust the teacher that he is ok after 15 minutes, so the best you can do is have a brisk goodbye "routine" and hand him over to the teacher/TA and walk away. It may just be that he's in the routine of having a protest - I know this isn't what you want to hear but my DS did this all the way through to Year 2 (I literally had to peel a screaming child off me every day) and only stopped because he went to a separate junior school where we shared school runs with other parents plus I think he got the vibe that it was babyish behaviour at juniors! So really best advice is not to take it to heart.

Re after school - I suspect this is down to tiredness mainly - he's got a lot of new things to deal with and take in, plus he may be unsettled due to imminent new baby. I'd suggest you just have to go with the flow - make sure he has a drink and something to eat after school, and just accept that he may need to take things more easily in the afternoon/evenings so don't put any pressure on him. He will acclimatise!

Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 12:38:11

@GreenGoldRed thanks for the suggestion. We tried him doing drop off three times last week and it was no different. Do you think worth trying for longer?

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ScarletZebra Tue 22-Sep-20 12:39:34

My DC1 did this in primary, though not in YR. The EWO arranged to collect her and take her into school.

One word of caution. That DC is now 34. She changed overnight the day she started secondary school. We had all sorts of issues with the Head in Y5 and Y6 and didn't believe DD because we were raised to believe that a Head Teacher was trustworthy.

Knowing what I know now I would have moved her sad because she was right and the Head was very wrong. She had loads of friends so I thought she was just being awkward. We moved her brothers and were glad we did.

Try to get to the bottom of why your DS doesn't want to go in. I wish we had.

ZzzMarchhare Tue 22-Sep-20 12:43:13

Are you waiting around a lot in the playground? Could you time drop
Off so you literally walk in and drop? Or does he have a friend you could meet on the walk in then they go in together?
Tiredness was a massive problem at the start of reception for both of my boys. I put everything on hold- swimming lessons, weekends out and let them chill.

Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 12:44:09

@RedskyAtnight thanks, agh all the way to year 2?! Good to hear it’s not just us who’s experienced this. Some of the other mums sympathetically say to me “oh my DD was a bit upset this morning so I gave her a hug and then she was fine” - my son doesn’t seem to be so compliant unfortunately.
I just want him to be happy.
I think you’re prob right about the tiredness, good point - it’s a massive change for him

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Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 12:45:44

@ScarletZebra thanks, I’ll try and chat to him and see if I can get him to tell me if something is happening he’s not happy with.
Sorry your daughter had a bad experience

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Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 12:47:53

@ZzzMarchhare that’s exactly what I’ve been trying - meeting his bestie and then walking them up to the gate. As soon as we get to the gate he turns to run or grabs me so I don’t really get a chance to escape quickly! As soon as the teachers have him I leg it!

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seayork2020 Tue 22-Sep-20 12:48:27

My son was always worse when I was, so as soon as i was confident gave him a hug said a very quick goodbye the better he was, if I dragged it out he did too. Yes in .y case my son was trying it on

Itllbeaninterestingchristmas Tue 22-Sep-20 12:49:38

I had to be peeled off my mother in reception after we moved classrooms when the school renovations were finished. I was fine before we moved. The teacher would sit me on her knee and cuddle me and I gradually got better.
I would ask for a change of drop off point as it will just stress your ds further and could also have a negative effect on other children.
If you think he’s unhappy move schools.
There were two children ahead of us in the queue for preschool (attached to a school) last week and both were screaming they were picked up and carried in by staff. They were large preschoolers as well.

Pashazade Tue 22-Sep-20 12:49:55

Does he find it a bit overwhelming when he first gets there, the noise and chatter of the other kids? Is there any way he could go in early play with some Lego and settle before the rest arrive. It worked for us albeit as a temporary fix. Although I know drop off is probably more complex right now.

Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 13:02:22

@seayork2020 thanks, I’m trying to make it super quick - he grabs me often before I can make a quick get away

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Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 13:04:37

@Itllbeaninterestingchristmas yeah I am worried it’ll affect the other children. I try and get there last at the moment (reception is the last class to be in school) so at least there’s minimal others around.

I just don’t know how to tell if it’s the change to starting reception or the school itself. Getting him to talk about school is like drawing blood from a stone 🤦🏻‍♀️

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2bazookas Tue 22-Sep-20 13:05:21

Is it too far to walk from home to school, a slower transition?

If that's not on, perhaps, you could park further from school, somewhere quiet, and walk the rest holding his hand, maybe go in through a quieter entrance. Calm goodbye, no persuasion or begging.

Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 13:05:45

@Pashazade I’ve been trying to get there last so it’s quiet, haven’t thought about trying earlier than the others - I’ll ask the teacher

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Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 13:08:21

@2bazookas it’s about a 10 min walk from our house, which we do most days unless I have to dash to an appointment afterwards. He seems really happy on the walk - the silliness doesn’t start until the gate for some reason!

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FeminismandWomensFights Tue 22-Sep-20 13:09:50

This is tough OP and can be one of the first times you have to disagree with your kids’ school, but it’s worth trying whatever you can try to help the settling happen, which it will in the end. This is something that schools often take a really standardised approach to and that really doesn’t suit every child.

We found it better to take child into school building with us, take them to the toilet, take them over to the classroom, physically hand them over to TA then say bye.

Something about the walk alone up to the classroom door from the playground having waved goodbye and then entering alone into what can be a busy classroom can be very unsettling for some kids. This too shall pass!

HorsePellets Tue 22-Sep-20 13:11:18

Have you tried sending him with a small, laminated photo of you?

15 minutes of that amount of upset is a long time, if he was trying it on he’d stop as soon as he was in through the door, and grabbing him and dragging him across the playground to stop him escaping is not ok. Their approach is just setting him up for a long-term school aversion.

They need a different, calmer, kinder approach. There is clearly something about school, and particularly the drop off, that he is finding very hard.

Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 13:31:41

@FeminismandWomensFights that’s a really good point Thankyou, yes it’s quite a long way to go across playground to entrance door to classroom by himself. I’m definitely going to have another chat to the teacher about how we do drop off for him

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Beeperbird Tue 22-Sep-20 13:35:29

@HorsePellets thanks, no I haven’t tried a photo - on it now!
I will speak to the teacher again about how we do drop off. It was horrible seeing him pulled away (I had a cry too on my walk home)

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alphasox Tue 22-Sep-20 13:49:40

Don’t underestimate how unsettling your pregnancy will be. (On top of all the other shit we’ve been going through). When I was pregnant my 5/6 year old turned into a demon. And I’m afraid it continued for 4/5 months after baby arrived too. However, it passed, as do all things with kids. So hold tight and keep doing what you’re doing and you will both be ok. Sending hugs though, as I remember how upsetting a difficult drop off can be xxx

IHateCoronavirus Tue 22-Sep-20 13:54:07

Former EYFS teacher here.

Things are tricky with the Covid restrictions. Transitional objects, which I would have suggested, might not be possible due to risks of cross contamination.

How is he with visual, auditory stimulus generally? Might he be finding the business too much to cope with.

The other question I would gently ask parents is relating to experiences of childcare settings before coming to school. Have they been used to shared attention, waiting to have needs met, following boundaries? Some little ones find the transition from being the centre of everyone’s world to one of 30+ confusing and unsettling for a while.

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