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Argh - ds started FT reception last week - startwed well, hates it now

(23 Posts)
CocktailQueen Tue 13-Sep-11 08:55:59

I had strong reservations about ds starting FT school as he's only just 4.5 and quite 'young' for his age. Anyway he did vv well last week and skipped in every day.

But this week is v different. Tears each morning, clinging to me, very sad, he doesn't want to go, he's too tired, school is too long a day, he misses us.

What to do? What do you say when your dc says similar?? I have been saying 'you have to go, your teacher is expecting you, think of al the fun things you'll do today' but it's not cutting it. Help! Advice please? Is this just a phase??

My instinct is to say 'well, a day at home with mummy won't do any harm' as he is only 4, but I guess that's not setting a good example for the rest of his school days... Help!
Thanks
Jane

sailorsgal Tue 13-Sep-11 09:36:23

Ds also started full days from the start. Looking back I think he would have been better if he did half days. How has he been at school?

CustardCake Tue 13-Sep-11 09:38:46

I think the novelty wears off and they get tired. School is all exciting in the first days with new people and things to do but a lot of children don't get the concept that this is it forever and they have to go everyday now for the foreseeable future. And when they do start to grasp that concept not all of them think its such a great thing!

If you want him to have the afternoon off or day off it might be best not to let him know that it is your decision. Much better to ask the teacher to tell him or to say to him that the school said he will be off on Fridays or whatever. If he gets the idea that you have it in your power to give him days off at a whim then he might well pester you. Also make sure you make home life as boring as possible in the weeks. If you tell him that whilst he was at school that his younger brother went to the park or that you went shopping and had a cake or whatever, he will be wondering all day what fun things you are up to. If you tell him you’ve done the hovering and gone to work or something else mundane, he won’t be scared he’s missing out.
The tiredness thing really kicks in about now as well. My two both had much earlier bedtimes in Reception class than they had ever had before. Maybe you could start the evening routine earlier, get him fed by 5:30 and in bed for 7pm with a story and let him get plenty of sleep this term?

Lonnie Tue 13-Sep-11 09:40:50

we had this with dd3 when she started school (now in year 3) I dealt with it by telling her that she was now old enough to go to school so needed to do so. The tears took about 2 weeks to stop and then she had fallen into a new routine. It is quite normal for them to happen in the 2nd week as the excitement and newness of being big and ready for school has stopped.

speak of stuff you will do after school and perhaps make sure there is extra time for "helping w dinner" or similar. I find it a bad idea to let them stay home for " just one day" they start to expect it.

CocktailQueen Tue 13-Sep-11 09:45:51

I met with his teacher before term started and asked if he could go PT to start with but they were not keen. He has been mainly fine at school but cries on and off as he misses us, cries sometimes when he does a new activity/he's not sure about what he's meant to be doing/cries if he can't find his big sister at lunchtime (she's in Y3 at the same school).

He's gone from a v relaxed preschool 3 mornings a week to FT school and the jump is too big. I'm a SAHM so he's always been with me.

I have been telling him that mummy is working and doing housework when he's at school, to let him know I'm not having fun without him. Tea bath and bed have been earlier than usual as he is so tired, and I have been spending all my time with him after school, making tea while he's at school etc so I can concentrate on him.

Gah. I just hate the thought of him being at school all day and me not knowing how he's feeling and being there for him when he's sad. I don't need school to act as childcare for him (new govt guidelines offering kids FT places from 4); I am happy to look after him!!!

Matildathebrave Tue 13-Sep-11 10:29:18

We are exactly the same. I am a full time mum and my DD started FT reception last Monday. The first week she was fine and happy to go in, this week we have had tears every morning and the teacher has had to take her off me to get her in.

This morning I hung around and looked through the window and saw her sitting down colouring a picture. She wasn't crying but wasn't smiling but seemed ok.

She comes out of school happy enough and the teacher says she is happy in the day but don't always believe what teachers say!

I think it just takes time to settle and though it seems mean, I think letting them have a day off would make it worse.

I live in hope she will settle and be happy. I wish you the best for your little boy too.

Elibean Tue 13-Sep-11 10:40:48

Its hard, if he has to be in for full days straight away - I have no experience of that, but sympathise. Its also true that the second week is often the hardest - novelty has worn off, and the realization that this is going to go on and on and on kicks in!
I suppose with my dds (admittedly both have had the gradual adjustment thing of p/t for a few weeks first) I just compensate for how much 'bigger' they have to be at school by letting them be a bit 'smaller' at home - while they adjust. More cuddles, earlier bed times, cutting them more slack on moods and naughtiness that is clearly a reaction to tiredness and the discipline of school.
I don't think setting a precedent of letting him have a day off here and there is going to help you, or him, later on - but I have to admit, if he got beyond a certain point of exhaustion and the school weren't flexible over agreeing one afternoon off towards the end of the week or something, I would book a dentist appointment and take one anyway!
Perhaps its my unBritishness, but I do find it odd that some schools think making 4 year olds do such long hours acceptable, on the premise that 'they get used to it and stop crying after a while' (shades of Victorian England, IMO) but hey ho. I am in a minority on MN with that one smile

smee Tue 13-Sep-11 11:17:07

Could they let you flexi-school, so maybe do 3 full days and have two days at home? Our school lets kids do that. I didn't do it, but when DS was too tired, I'd just take him out for a day and write a sick note. He was sick in a way, as he was so tired he could hardly walk straight. Glad I did, as it made a huge difference to how much he enjoyed school if he wasn't there too much iyswim. grin

smee Tue 13-Sep-11 11:20:18

ps: I used to tell DS that he had a temperature, and that the school wouldn't let him go if he had one. That way he didn't get the idea that he could just have days off when he felt like it.

Fimbo Tue 13-Sep-11 11:20:44

I didn't think it was compulsory for them to go full-time until they were 5? I know in ds's class that there was a boy who went home in the afternoons at least twice a week.

sarahfreck Tue 13-Sep-11 14:05:02

I'd empathise with him a lot so he knows that you know how he is feeling "Yes I know you aren't too keen on school at the moment, but you will get to enjoy it". "I know you are missing me, but I think of you lots when you are at school and look forward to picking you up afterwards." "Oh yes, I know it will feel like a really long day until you get a bit more used to it" etc. Then keep really calm and matter of fact (regardless of what you feel inside). I'd keep sending him though. Reception is very play-based and children can chill out or even snooze if they need to.

I bet within a couple of weeks he'll be loads better.

CocktailQueen Tue 13-Sep-11 14:22:08

Thanks all.

Fimbo it's not compulsory going FT till the age of 5 - but ds's teacher didn't want him being the only one going PT hmm

I think the 'exhausted' day off idea is a good one.

Elibean I agree with you! Some children are ready for school at this ateg. Most are not. If they're going to play/snooze etc in the classroom then they can do that just as well at home!!

Hmmm. Will see how it goes. If no improvement will talk again to teacher and HT.

piprabbit Tue 13-Sep-11 14:24:52

I think it is very common for children to enjoy the first few days/weeks of Reception, and then have a wobble as they realise that it wasn't a temporary thing and they are now stuck with school. The wooble is generally short-lived and if you speak to the teacher, they should be well placed to help and support your DS.

Bramshott Tue 13-Sep-11 14:28:02

I sent DD2 (who was having a tiny wobble at the idea of the childminder picking her up for the first time) off this morning with a small heart drawn on her hand "to remind you that Mummy loves you and is thinking about you while you're at school". Pretty sure I got that idea on Mumsnet somewhere. It seemed to work a treat, she was regaling DD1 smugly with the fact that "I have a special heart on my hand because Mummy loves me"!

piprabbit Tue 13-Sep-11 14:33:09

wooble? wobble blush

CocktailQueen Wed 14-Sep-11 10:19:03

OP here - he was even worse today. cried from 8am to drop off. Had to be wrenched off me by the teacher. sad Have spoken to school sec and he was ok within 10 mins but sigh. I hate that he gets so upset. How long should this go on for??!

CocktailQueen Wed 14-Sep-11 10:19:42

Bramshott - liked the heart idea and tried to do that with ds today but he didn't want to know...

crazycrofter Wed 14-Sep-11 11:03:24

My ds started school last Jan, when he wasn't quite 4.5. He found it very difficult, lots of tears going in in the morning and on and off throughout the day. He went down with something about five weeks in - I think due to being run down and stressed - and had a week off school. He then had one more week at school before half term which was no better. I was dreading him going back after half term, as I thought we would be back to square one, but amazingly, he suddenly seemed to settle. We had parents evening in the middle of that first week back and his teacher agreed that he seemed much happier since the holiday. He has been fine ever since - he's a typical boy and would still rather be playing with his lego at home, but he's happy enough going in and he seems to enjoy it while he's there.

I'm not sure whether that's particularly encouraging or helpful for you - half a term is a long time! - but just wanted to share a similar experience and let you know it does get better eventually.

My ds struggles with new or unfamiliar things and I think new things kept cropping up for the first half term - once he knew the place, the different routines on different days, the people etc, he was fine. But all that took a while! I did try a half day after his illness, but this seemed to unsettle him even more, as it was another new routine - leaving after lunch when the others were staying - so I knocked that on the head and perservered with full time.

Anyway, I do hope your son settles soon!

Bramshott Wed 14-Sep-11 13:32:11

Sorry to hear that he didn't go for the heart OP. I had to be a bit "brisk and efficient" with DD2 this morning, so I think it's something they all go through - just some more than others.

familyfun Wed 14-Sep-11 13:48:56

dd1 exactly the same, fine last week, cried this morning, actually about 7 of them were crying but peeked through window and she was fine again.
happened 2nd week of nursery last year too but then she loved it.
i give dd a choc button which i kiss so she has mommy kisses in her tummy smile [soppy bugger]

Fimbo Wed 14-Sep-11 14:01:24

Are they staying for lunch? Could you put a little note in their lunchboxes? Or even just draw heart and put it in?

CocktailQueen Thu 15-Sep-11 11:47:46

Fimbo - I did that today smile For both my kids smile

He went in happily today so yay! The last couple of days his teacher has had lunch with him and some other children, that has really helped.

Bramshott Fri 16-Sep-11 10:10:06

Glad he is/was happier CQ. And it's nearly the weekend! DD2 is so ready for it (and me!).

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