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DD1 anxious about starting school - any advice?

(18 Posts)
hecklephone Tue 14-Jun-11 21:31:40

DD1 is starting P1 in August and up until last week I thought she'd be absolutely fine, would walk through the front door with barely a wave. However, last week she began getting a bit tearful at nursery, 'wanting a hug from mum'. This has now progressed to her screaming and wailing as we leave her at nursery - she says she wants to stay at home with me. SHe settles down quickly after I go and even after the school visits is full of information about it, happy to talk, even wants to try on her uniform, but claims she 'just doesn't want to go to school'.

This is normal behaviour for this kind of thing, yes? Probably just unsettled with all the changes imminent I'm guessing?

Any advice/tips on how to make her less worried about the whole thing would be very gratefully received. Thanks.

Rosebud05 Tue 14-Jun-11 22:25:59

Marking my place

sunnyday123 Tue 14-Jun-11 23:00:46

ah, my dd1 was the same! - she'd been at nursery 2 days per week from 8 months old and started school age 4 and 10 months. She was terribly nervous -thought i wouldnt come back for her which is mad as id dropped her off at nursery and picked her up for so long and never been late or anything! I think she just didnt like the idea of change and shed gone from being the 'boss' of her nursery class to the smallest in a school of 400+. For the first couple of weeks she'd cling on the playground but was fine after that - she begs to go to school during the holidays now!

blackeyedsusan Tue 14-Jun-11 23:01:54

honestly, they are often ok after the first minute or two. it is rare to have a child upset after the first few minutes of the morning. some kids hate change.

it is probably harder on you (definately) having done both sides now...

sunnyday123 Tue 14-Jun-11 23:03:08

in terms of tips i found highlighting independence helped e.g. "you and your friends can play without mum (like real playing out)" or "you get to line up and choose your own dinner - not up to mum anymore".

myBOYSareBONKERS Wed 15-Jun-11 06:46:19

Kisses in the pocket. Fill her pocket with "kisses" and then if she is feeling a little bit sad she can reach in and take one. Will post on her some tips I found of help when my ds started school - some relevant some probably not!!

myBOYSareBONKERS Wed 15-Jun-11 06:47:31

Reception help list:

The summer before my August born boy went to school we started practising on preparation – here is my list of helpful hints!

Velcro shoes – unless they can do laces up with no help and very quickly

Make sure you contact your school to find out how to obtain the uniform. Sometimes it has to be ordered via the school and when they close at the end of July its means you won’t have a uniform for September!!

Find out which days P.E is on and on those days don’t button up the polo shirt – with a jumper on over the top it won’t be noticed anyway!

Personal care – ensure can wash hands, sort clothing out. My son couldn’t wipe his own bottom and so I ensured he got into a “routine” of doing one before bed so I knew he wouldn’t run into difficulties at school.

Put half a smiley face in each shoe so that when they are placed together the correct way round they form one big happy face – helps to get the shoes on the correct feet.

Practice with a lunchbox and different wrappings. I realised that I just hand my son a plate of food (as does nursery) and so he never had to undo anything!. He found a zipped lunch box easier than a velcro one. He found cling film to fidderly and so I get cheap food bags and put his sandwiches in them and wrap them over. He then puts all his left over’s in the bag so the lunch box comes back in a decent state!

Put a slit in the top of packets so they tear open easily or open them and fold them over and seal with a sticker (children can ALWAYS get a sticker off things!).

Fromage frais makes less mess than runny yogurt. Don’t forget to pack a spoon.

Sport top on bottles easier than screw tops or cartons (it all comes home in the lunch box so think of less spillage)

Label everything unless you don’t want it back. I got some really good stickers printed with just our surname on so all the family could use them for different things. They are dishwasher proof too.

Small icepack for the summer.

Some foods are not allowed in lunches so check with the school.

Before my (very young and clumsy)son had school dinners I brought a tray plate (from boots) that the food gets put directly on as that is what they use in school so he could practice carrying it to the table without dropping it. (was terrified he would drop it at school and everyone would laugh).

If they are a very small or slow eater don’t give them too much otherwise they will spend their whole lunch break eating and not outside playing. Some schools insist they eat everything. Just take a snack for on the way home if they are hungry.

Elasticated skirts and trousers to make it easier to get on/off.

If there is a 'school' coat, and it's not compulsory DON'T BUY ONE. If 30 children all have an identical coat it's a nightmare to sort them out.

Show your child how to hang their coat on a peg, using the loop. Otherwise the coat will live on a muddy cloakroom floor.

Tie something distinctive on your child's bookbag and PE bag, so they can recognise their own among many identical ones - a keyring or something is ideal

Putting his clothes back on when they are inside out and back-to-front (ie as they'll be after he's taken them off after PE). My DS could dress himself so it never occurred to me that his clothes were always presented in a nice "sanitised" manner

Some children found the sheer noise and busy environment very stressful when they first start school and I wasn't prepared for that with my son who found lunchtimes in the hall with a hundred or so other children all chattering, clanking cutlery, scraping chairs and clinking plates really intimidating and scary.

Not much you can do (unless you have a massive home and a hundred children to invite round) but by going to busy places with him beforehand and telling him that school might get noisy sometimes but it's nothing to be worried about he will at least be able to remember your words when faced with increased hustle and bustle.

My son was sometimes a bit nervous about going in and “being alone” all day without me, so I filled his pocket with “kisses” and told him to reach in for one if he felt a bit sad. At nearly 7yrs he still asks for them if going somewhere new (eg Beavers for the first time)

Teach your child to stuff their hat/scarf/gloves into the sleeve of their coat when they hang their coat up - stops them from getting lost and reminds dc to put them back on when they go out to play as they automatically find them when they put their coat back on!

A top tip I was given was that school shirts come in packs of three so you buy 2 packs, that gives you 6 shirts, one for every day of the week, plus 1 you put aside for the school christmas show, prize giving or whatever.

If you are a working parent, as soon as you find out your allocated school you MUST sort childcare. Childminders and after school clubs get booked up very quickly. The school office may have a list of childcare establishments.
I sewed back the bottom bit of the material away from the zip on my DS's coat when he started Reception (to make it easier to do up).

If they wear proper shirts (as opposed to polo shirts), don't bother with long sleeved ones - the cuffs will get so grubby you'll only get one day's wear out of them. Short sleeves are better!

School uniform does go missing – be it misplaced or stolen. If you don’t need to get logo’d uniform then don’t as this is what tends to go easily. Also make your uniform more distinctive so when the children leave school you will be able to spot a piece of your Childs clothing on another child. Eg put a small key ring on the zipper of the school coat/jacket. Will make it easier to pull up as well. Write in permanent ink inside the collar or sleeve – any where it can be easily seen and can not be cut out (like labels). Sew a small colour co-ordinated flower/star/circle (whatever is appropriate) on the collar – again is small but distinctive.
Phase out any after-lunch naps - they don't get this at school and it will be much harder for those who are still used to this.

goinggetstough Wed 15-Jun-11 07:36:20

Great helpful hints- sadly too late for my teenagers!

chopchopquick Wed 15-Jun-11 08:31:02

Thank you sharing the tips

hecklephone Wed 15-Jun-11 13:20:43

Wow, great tips myBOYS! Thanks for that.

Big sigh of relief this morning when the nursery (by nursery, I mean pre-school) drop off was smooth, quick, no tears smile. I think it helped that she knew the morning would just be spent at nursery - no visit to the school.

I won't count my chickens yet - but at least I have hope that I won't spend every morning for the next 2 and a half weeks til the end of term peeling her off my arm in hysterics!

suiledonne Wed 15-Jun-11 13:31:20

Hecklephone, my dd is starting school in Sept too and has started to do the same things as yours at pre-school drop off the last week or so. After months of running in without a backward glance she now needs hugs, kisses and to repeatedly be told I'll be back to collect her.

She often wells up with tears now as I am leaving.

I am dreading school but working really hard on not letting it show.

myBOYS tips are great! I am planning bootcamp this summer - I'm guilty of dressing her etc to speed things up in the morning but I know she needs to manage all this by herself by Sept.

Seeline Wed 15-Jun-11 14:03:25

Is your daughter familiar with teh school she will be going to? How about a couple of walks past it and pointing things out like the playground - even better if some of the children are there.
I expect the school will organise special times when the children can visit and see there actual classroom and meet their teacher.
How about seeing if the school is having a summer fair (most do) and going along to that.
Does she know anyone else that will be starting with her - a few get-togethers with a couple of other children might help her feel more secure.

hecklephone Wed 15-Jun-11 14:14:17

Seeline, the pre-school and primary school are connected, although not in the same building so she's already been on various visits and regular trips to gym/assemblies etc - tbh I think that might be part of the problem - she knows what's coming and is feeling a bit overwhelmed perhaps?

ThePathanKhansWoman Wed 15-Jun-11 14:48:03

Bloody hell myboys how impressed am i?!! <all hail to myboys>. smile

Write a book will you please? just in case i lose this thread, brilliant, brilliant advice, thankyou. <backs away reverently>

sarahfreck Wed 15-Jun-11 17:16:43

It all sounds fairly normal to me. There are books about starting school that you could read together and chat about. www.amazon.co.uk/Lucy-Tom-School-Picture-Puffin/dp/0140544151/ref=pd_sim_b_5
and www.amazon.co.uk/Starting-School-Picture-Puffin-Ahlberg/dp/014050737X

Can you play at schools with dolls and teddies. Read a story to teddies - then let them "choose" what they want to play with. Get the teddies to line up and then come and sit down on the carpet to listen to a story. Ask a teddy to draw a picture on a black/white board. Ask a teddy to do some counting (of something interesting like Smarties maybe?) If you start this she may choose to join in and may feel more "empowered" if she has role-played being the teacher!

If she is having packed lunches can you have some "practice" ones at home in her new lunch box so she gets the feel for it and it isn't totally strange.

Try and emphasise that you and she can still do things together - maybe think of a special treat you could do together after school or on the first weekend after she starts school. That way she gets the idea that she isn't losing all her time with you!

sittinginthesun Wed 15-Jun-11 18:39:32

No tips, but just to say, we had the same thing with DS1 when he started reception. He'd been at nursery five mornings from 6 months, so was used to being away during the morning, but he hates change.

He had nightmares for weeks before he started, didn't even want to drive past the school, and screamed blue murder during the settle-in sessions...

Then, first day of school, he sat at a table and said "I'll be fine". And he was. Completely absolutely wonderfully fine. Not a second's worry after that.

Good luck. x

hecklephone Wed 15-Jun-11 19:56:34

Great story sittinginthesun! Let's hope DD1 goes the same way grin

myBOYSareBONKERS Wed 15-Jun-11 20:45:39

As much as I would love to take all the credit for my helpful tips list, sadly I cant as I have gleaned some of them from other threads over the years. . .

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