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Sports Day for very very nervous child - WWYD?

(33 Posts)
PorkChopSter Mon 27-Jun-11 14:20:55

My DD (5) can be very fragile in situations where attention is focused on her. During dentist/GP appointments she will scream and hide under furniture, attempts to run out of the room, attacks whoever is trying to calm her down etc. She's been much the same when making her Rainbow promise or doing nursery sports days. However, she had no trouble doing school nativity or her class assembly - it seems fairly unpredictable but is extreme when it happens.

I was warned by her TA that she is refusing to practice for Sports Day and is starting to get wound up by the idea. Could I build her up and tell her it's not about winning. Well yes, I could... I've already sat her and DS down and promised them all manner of reward if they can just start and finish their races without crying grin but it's not making an impression. Tbh when she's in one of these moods, nothing gets through confused

I can't take her out of school because I want to watch DS. The TA said she wouldn't be allowed to sit it out with me.

WWYD?

mogmum Mon 27-Jun-11 14:48:42

Hi,
Is there a chance that she could sit with the teacher and watch the others doing their races and maybe if she then decides she wants to join in then she could?

Hope this helps smile

rebl Mon 27-Jun-11 14:56:10

I would be surprised if they forced her to do it. She'll have to sit there with all the others but really, at my dd's sports day a few reception children just sat and watched. They were given gentle encouragment to participate but none were forced or made to cry.

EttiKetti Mon 27-Jun-11 14:58:37

Why can she not sit it out, there is a little girl similar in my DSs Yr1 class and she did about half the activities (barely recognisable as sports tbh grin ) and the rest just sat with the others waiting their turn, it was no big deal, I only noticed as I waas chatting with her mum. It seems a bit harsh not to let her sit with her classmates in her PE gear and cheer them on tbh.

going Mon 27-Jun-11 15:00:47

My dd1 claims she hates sports day. In year 3 she burst out crying djust before one of the races as she had had enough. SHe sat with me for the rest of the sports day. it was totally out of character and suprised her teacher, sitting with me was not a problem at all.

IndigoBell Mon 27-Jun-11 15:01:56

It's not necessarily a bad thing if she has such an extreme reaction in school.

It will allow school to see what the problem is, and to work with you to try and help her.

If the TA has already flagged up a problem I'd be asking the teacher what school are going to be doing about it.

I personally wouldn't be happy with her sitting out sports day......... Unless you had some clearly defined strategy for working on this problem so that next year she could participate in full.

harecare Mon 27-Jun-11 15:05:06

Can the teacher think up a special sort of non competitive/non centre of attention game that she can take part in and sit out the rest? There was a thing on radio 4 this morning about how some kids can be put off sport for life by the badly handled competitive nature of school sports.
It really is up to the teacher to be clever about inclusion.

mrsravelstein Mon 27-Jun-11 15:09:10

well if you want her not to have to do it, and the school won't help, just ring the school to say she is ill on the day, then she can come along and watch your ds too. it's hardly going to impact on her education if she misses a sports day. i've let ds1 miss several 'dance displays' and school plays when he was little as he absolutely hated that kind of thing and was painfully shy. he's 10 now and just grew out of the self consciousness.

PorkChopSter Mon 27-Jun-11 16:22:33

Looks like she'll be crying over one side of the field and I'll be on the other then. It's only two races, one running and one obstacle/novelty one, it's not particularly competitive, it's more that People Will Stare. The fact people will stare more if she is screaming at the top of her voice and throwing herself over the fence misses her entirely 3).

I listened to Women's Hour this morning harecare in the hope they would have the answer grin

pepperrabbit Mon 27-Jun-11 16:30:50

I was that child! I absolutely hated being the centre of attention, team games even parties were the stuff of nightmares when I was little. I would still rather cut off my right arm than have to do a "fun" sports day.
I spent many happy years "helping" the teachers, holding clipboards, handing out stickers/badges, collecting tennis balls etc on Sports Day.
TBH it hasn't scarred me as an adult, I'm perfectly sociable and even do amateur dramatics (as long as I don't have to sing on my own..)
It made me so much happier to be allowed to help rather than join in.

bubblecoral Mon 27-Jun-11 16:33:12

I would encourage her to do it, but if she has a meltdown, the school will probably let her come to you simply because they will be busy running the day and will be unable to give her one on one attention just because she is having a tantrum.

Elibean Mon 27-Jun-11 17:00:24

dd1 was a lot like that aged 5, much more resilient now in Y2 (though still loathes sports day 'because I never win' - she isn't the best on sporty stuff!).

I agree with the others - I'd play the whole thing down as much as possible, and let school handle it. Just be there ready to step in and cuddle if needed smile

PorkChopSter Mon 27-Jun-11 19:25:54

Don't remind me about pass the parcel pepperrabbit The helper idea is great.
I'm not sure that they will let her sit with me, last year DS lost it in front of me & was pulled away. And I can't sit with her as will have younger DC with me.

bigTillyMint Mon 27-Jun-11 19:30:33

Is she identified as having SEN? If she is statemented you might have some hope of them doing something differently to meet her needs.

You mention your DS "lost it" infront of you and had to be pulled away last year. Is Sports Day an issue for the whole family?

swash Mon 27-Jun-11 22:02:06

My DD is similar. She cried at sports day when she was in reception and had to come and sit with me (she did go back though after lots of cuddles). In Y1, she cried but was comforted by the teacher... this year I am hoping she will get through without tears. She's more robust but has already planned to 'fall over the day before Sports Day so I don't have to do it'!

I always pretended to be sick so that I didn't have to do PE in school so I am sympathetic but haven't given her the day off because I don't want to encourage her in thinking it is some terrible thing.

She will probably cry on the day and be have to be with you like bubble says. Gentle encouragement to join in is helpful, but it doesn't matter that much if she doesn't.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 27-Jun-11 22:08:50

the thing is, if one child goes to sit with their mother then all the rest want to as well and total anarchy ensues - ime anyway

no child in my class would ever be made to participate if they did not want to. Gentle encouragement to join in only, and if that didn't work then they are allowed to sit it out with the other children. Or I have to endure the horror that is running WITH them....

UniS Mon 27-Jun-11 23:03:52

WWID?
Not make her practise for sports day. Not talk about sports day, not make a fuss and promise anything by way of rewards. Take the pressure off the kid.
Let her get on with sports day as part of her class and let Teacher and TA deal with the melt down in their own way IF it happens. It didn't happen for nativity.

seeker Mon 27-Jun-11 23:07:29

I would remove my child from a school where a 5 year old was forced to take part in sports day against her will.

fairydoll Tue 28-Jun-11 20:42:34

seeker- what about the other end of the spectrum where you have a Y5 or Y6 girl, not very sport, and doesn't want to be humiliated compete in public? As a teacher i would be interested in your take?

fairydoll Tue 28-Jun-11 20:43:38

That is you as a teacher, not me. I'm not one

Lara2 Tue 28-Jun-11 21:04:28

My DS2 who has since been diagnosed with AS totally hated sports day in primary school - just couldn't cope. They were fab and always found a 'job' for him to do - he particularly enjoyed being the photographer one year.

bigTillyMint Tue 28-Jun-11 21:38:37

Do any schools humiliate children who don't win the races?????? Or allow the children to humiliate the ones who don't win who are in the vast majority as only 3 get 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

Even when I was at school 40 years ago, and never ever won any races, I never felt humiliated. Just pleased for my bf's who were twins and won everythingsmile

Elibean Tue 28-Jun-11 21:43:25

Have just come downstairs from huge cuddle and listening session with dd who burst into tears after asking 'when is Sports Day?' whilst brushing her teeth.

Seems she's not so much more resilient after all...though she's fine with taking part in the team games that run all day long (mixed teams of different ages, big ones help little ones). Its the big running race at the end that everyone takes part in that she loathes - she just told me she spends the whole time feeling sick and dreading falling over sad. Just like the OPs dd, she also hates being watched by the crowd.

I told her I'd talk to her teacher about it, and the PE teacher, and dh, and we'd sort out a way for her not to feel like that: be it not take part in the race, or find a strategy that works for her. Either way, she is not to sit feeling sick with nerves for a whole afternoon like that; she was immensely relieved.

Sigh.

Elibean Tue 28-Jun-11 21:45:16

I doubt it, Tilly - but as dd just explained to me, its just being watched by a crowd whilst doing something she hates doing that makes her feel that way. Not losing per se, or anything anyone else does or says.

She did used to fall over a lot as a little one, and still isn't hugely confident at high speed!

seeker Tue 28-Jun-11 22:15:41

fairydoll, I'm not a teacher either. But my feeling is tha there is a big difference between a reception child, just starting out at school and a year 5 or 6 child who should by then have learned that there are sometimes things in life that we don't enjoy but just have to get on with.

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