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Should I give up on pre-school and try later?

(17 Posts)
Runoutofideas Sat 07-Nov-09 15:07:23

My dd2 is 2.3 and started pre-school in Sept with the idea that she would have 2 years at pre-school before school - the same as her older sister. She is an August birthday though so is one of the very youngest there. She is particularly clingy so we have tried a very gentle settling in process with me staying for nearly all of the sessions, barring time for a coffee upstairs in each one. When I go upstairs she cries for the entire time (10-20 mins). She also breath-holds to the point of passing out if she gets too upset which is another reason why pre-school are encouraging me to take it slowly. They are scared that she's going to faint on them and that that will become associated in her head with me coming back to rescue her so she'll do it more often....

I have now done this for an entire half-term and it doesn't seem to be getting better. I don't work, so I don't need her to go for childcare reasons, although I was looking forward to 6 hours a week to myself! Am strongly considering pulling her out and trying again next September when she'd just turned 3. What would you do?

Sallyallyally Sat 07-Nov-09 15:15:22

I would take her out. My DD did this and my mum gently pointed out that she was only little and wanted her mum, and if you weren't entitled to that when you were 2 when were you?
So I tried again when she was 3 and it all went a lot better.

Runoutofideas Sat 07-Nov-09 15:25:38

Thanks Sally - am glad it went better the second time round. I've been prompted into thinking this by my mum too. She said yesterday "even if she does get used to being left, she's not actually going to enjoy it, is she?" And she probably does have a point. DD2 dces enjoy the activities, but I just can't see that she's going to have a happy time just yet while she's so clingy. She still cries when I leave her with my mum, although she normaly stops after a couple of minutes, and when we are at home on our own she follows me around like a little shadow. I can't go upstairs on my own, or even into the next room....Any general tips for separation anxiety?

Runoutofideas Sat 07-Nov-09 15:26:36

sorry "does" and "normally" oops

blueywhite Sat 07-Nov-09 15:39:32

Well, every child is different, but FWIW here's my experience:

My dd was a very clingy child and very unhappy at pre-school to the point were she was so distressed that one day she developed a stutter for 10 days afterwards shock.

I gave up trying to leave her after that and developed a very full, interesting social life with her (partly on the home-ed circuit) until she was ready to start school at 41/2.

She had no problems with school at all, has become very independent to the point where she's off away from home on residential school trips or at sleepovers with friends with hardly a backward glance.

Don't be afraid to delay leaving her and choose a moment when your dd is ready.

Runoutofideas Sat 07-Nov-09 15:47:11

Thanks blueywhite - did she just start in the normal reception class then with no prior formal pre-school experience? I'm interested in what sort of things you did "on the home-ed circuit". Does it count as home-ed if you don't send them to pre-school. I imagined that was for school aged children but am keen to be put right....

Bubbaloo2 Sat 07-Nov-09 16:43:25

You can teach your child most things they would do at pre-school nursery at home. Sing songs, number rhymes, puzzles, early learning centre have good games that nurseries use, sticking, cutting, drawing, junk modelling, playing outside on bikes and slides. Go to the park and keep going to mother and toddler groups for social interaction and you will be absolutely fine.
You can also try these music/ physical activity groups which you have to pay for each week where the children take part but still sit on your lap.

Runoutofideas Sat 07-Nov-09 17:33:27

Thanks - we have been doing a music class with action songs etc and she never seems to enjoy it much. She sits on my knee and watches all the others, then comes home and does all the actions and knows all the words - maybe she's just not much of a joiner-inner...

castlesintheair Sat 07-Nov-09 17:38:51

I had a similar problem with one of mine. She ended up just doing one year of pre-school and it has done her absolutely no harm at all, in fact she is my 'low maintenance child' smile

Bubbaloo2 Sat 07-Nov-09 18:00:06

My DS is the same, refuses to join in any singing, ciccle games, holding hands! I wonder why I bother going sometimes ...

racmac Sat 07-Nov-09 18:15:54

DS2 started a playgroup and would not leave my side - he was 2.5 and i felt i couldnt leave him - he was hysterical and having nightmares about being left etc. In the end i just stopped taking him - it was supposed to be a bit of fun for him and a break for me but it wasnt like that.

I worried about how he would settle in at nursery - the first day he waved me off and said goodbye and bounces in happy as larry - this was 6 months later and no problem since.

Im glad i listened to my instinct though and took him out - lots of "helpful" mums told me to make him stay and leave him to cry cos it would do him good shock

blueywhite Sun 08-Nov-09 13:58:10

Hi - sorry only just come back to this.

Yes, dd had no formal pre-school experience, and started Reception absolutely fine.

We didn't go back and even try pre-school again because a speech therapist said another traumatic episode of being left could result in a permanent stammer shock shock - we weren't going to risk that!

The only comment dd said curiously after a few days at school was "Why are we always in the same place?" because we had had such an interesting and varied life up till then!!

You're probably right that "home-ed" refers to education from school age (tho home-edders could say differently). I didn't home educate other than the usual introduction to numbers and letters, but just joined in with home ed activities, e.g. linked up with three different local groups for meetings in their homes/halls to do things like crafts and drama, and meeting up at places like kiddie farms, picnics, etc. Also did Tumbletots.

So dd mingled with regular groups of children, got invited to birthday parties etc, but without separation stress and built up her confidence gradually.

We did it partly to keep our options open in case she needed to be home edded beyond 5 but she was fine with school. They change so quickly. I do think my dd has a lovely quiet confidence now and have no regrets about letting her go at her own pace with regard to being left when she was young.

Bonsoir Sun 08-Nov-09 14:07:24

2.3 is very little. My DD started pre-school at 2.10 and that was little - it was fine, but I am not at all sure she would have enjoyed it at all at 2.3.

MrsJohnDeere Sun 08-Nov-09 14:09:29

I would take her out and try again in September. 2.3 is very young and she will change a lot in those few months.

A friend of mine has just taken her 3yo out (we start pre-school at 2.9 here) because, after half a term he was still getting really upset and just wants to be with his mum.

MegBusset Sun 08-Nov-09 14:18:28

I would take her out. We tried DS1 at pre-school when he was just 2 and he didn't settle at all. Took him out after half a term and enrolled him at a different one when he was 2.8. It was much easier and within a few weeks he had settled well, although he still is wary of joining in too much!

Runoutofideas Sun 08-Nov-09 14:34:39

Thanks everyone
MegB - did you try a different one because it had a different approach, or just so he wouldn't associate it with being the same place?
I have absolutely no complaints about the pre-school itself. The ladies are all warm, welcoming and experienced and the atmosphere is lovely. DD2 actually loves it, until I dare to leave the room! I am thinking about trying to offer my services as a volunteer there in return for a free place for dd, but obviously I'd then stay with her. Anyone think that's a good idea...?

MegBusset Mon 09-Nov-09 19:47:38

Was a bit of both really. He was too young and the first pre-school was a Montessori -- more formal than the one he's now at (which is a mainstream pre-school). And I had issues with the standard of care for the little ones. In fact where he goes now was originally our first choice but they didn't have any spaces when DS1 turned 2.

But if you're happy with the pre-school then I would definitely say take her out before she can form any bad associations with it, by next Sept she will be a different child and it should be much easier.

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