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Reception - feels like we are the only ones finding it quite tough - are we?

(30 Posts)
WomanwiththeYellowHat Wed 28-Sep-11 21:01:30

My DD1 started Reception this term. She is on full days and is a (quite grown up) May birthday. She was in preschool 5 mornings a week and was, according to her teacher, very bright and capable. She is a very verbal child, chatty and very empathetic. She has a tendency to react quite emotionally to things (ie launches into fake cryinng if she can';t keep up when walking etc) but I was kind of hoping this would wane with the influence of school. She has a sister 18mths younger who is, to put it mildly, quite sparky! They get on well, are very close and happily play together.

She also has a neighbour who started in the same school at the same time. I wasn't really worried about her starting school, as she has always adjusted well to change and been fairly robust.

INstead, the whole thing is just not what I was expecting. She seems to moan / cry more and the bedtimes have become absolute hell - screaming and making crazy demands (which DD2 then copies) so the whole thing goes on forever and I am desperately trying to get her to bed early to try and deal with the tiredness which I think is part of the problem.

They have started on their phonic sounds. SHe is some way off reading, or indeed really blending the sounds, partly as I thought it was best to be led by her and she was not really interested. He friend next door seems to have taken to school like a duck to water, but my DD just seems to be struggling and I just don't know how to help her. She doesn't really seem that engaged by learning anything new and is just so grumpy at home. I feel I have lost my lovely girl.

I work part time but do pretty much all the childcare, as my DH works very long hours. I feel really lost and just don't know how to help her. I'm not sure whether I should speak to her teacher, but don't want to make a fuss when we are only three weeks in, but I am just exhausted and just feel like we are the only ones who are struggling. Everyone else seems to be getting on fine so I just don't feel I can talk to any of my friends really.

I guess I just wanted to know if anyone else is in the same boat, or if anyone else was in the same boat last year but found that it got better? Just to give me a bit of hope that this will pass?

Sorry it was so long!

wobblypig Wed 28-Sep-11 21:08:12

Could she be tired? DS is much more tired since starting school and often crashes and burns around 5.30. Although he is OK when he goes in the morning there is a bit of moaning and quite a lot of ' I don't want to go'.

Is she getting to bed nice and early and sleeping well?

CleanHankie Wed 28-Sep-11 21:20:43

We were sort of in the same boat. Up until a week ago DD1 had the tantrums you speak of, and we had lots of "Don't want to go to school". Getting dressed in the morning was a constant battle too and the teacher or TA had to peel DD1 off us when we got to school. She started school though not knowing anyone so we just hoped/presumed she'd get better as she made friends, and she has. I too made a friend in the playground and we went to the park with the DC. Ever since then DD1 has had no problems going into school (in fact 2 mornings she's been so eager to go in there have been no kisses or goodbyes shock). The tantrums in the morning have virtual stopped, we introduced a sticker scheme so no tantrum meant a sticker on her chart (no idea what her reward will be when she fills the chart but hey ho, it's working!).

DD1 is knackered by the end of the day and yes meltdowns are still there. However we've changed her routine slightly at bedtime now. As she is a "grown-up" girl, she's allowed to go back downstairs once bathed, brushed teeth and pj's on, and watch the bedtime story on Cbeebies. It gives me time to get DD2 in bed and therefore she doesn't witness any later hassle from DD1 and copy her (I so understand you on this point. Big Sister's aren't always a help!). Treating DD1 like the "big girl" she now is seems to help her.

DD1 was so eager to start school that I didn't think we'd have these issues, but I can assure you, not all children take to school like ducks to water. Hang on in there, I'm sure she'll find something she likes about school and it'll just click. Remember the teacher is still finding out what your daughter is like and what she responds best to, along with the 20+ other children.

Catz Wed 28-Sep-11 21:30:21

My DD is a July birthday and has also had lots of relapses in behaviour in the evenings/mornings. She's usually quite mature but since starting school she has had phases of regressing back to being two (screaming because the socks are the wrong ones etc!) I think lots of the children are like this. Certainly at my school people are very open about talking about it and every single person I have spoken to has been having similar issues esp the summer term birthdays. I bet if you spoke to your friends you'd hear the same stories.

How do you/your school feel about taking time out if things are getting hard? One of DDs friends has gone down to 3 days for a while as her tiredness was really affecting her behaviour in school too. Others have taken days/half days off and the school has been quite supportive at this early stage. After all, they are not even required to be at school for nearly another year.

Do speak to the teacher. Ours was really friendly and helpful when I talked to her. I've not kept her off yet but wouldn't hesitate to if I thought it would help. At the moment I've found having an immediate snack and quiet activity/DVD at home has helped but I'm sure you've tried that. Also I think she was getting quite emotionally insecure (which can then build on itself if you're getting frustrated dealing with her behaviour) so I've spent loads of time praising her and having 'girly cafe trips' etc at weekends when DH is around to look after the younger one.

You are not alone!

4ForksSake Wed 28-Sep-11 21:35:36

My ds (just started YR1) was like this last year. He NEVER stopped at reception & was on the go constantly so would com home absolutely shattered. I'd hazard a guess that's what's wrong with your dd. Don't worry about the phonics, it's really early days yet - I'm sure some teachers will give you more info on how to tackle this but I'm sure she'll become more interested soon. Did her friends from playschool move to reception with her? If so, are they still friends? My ds was a bit funny at the start of reception when his so called friends started leaving him out of things they were doing & being really mean to him so maybe it's worth checking things are ok with any friendships.

Don't necessarily believe that all your friends kids are settling in nicely, maybe they just don't want to admit the truth, even if they are, might be worth mentioning it to some of them to see if you can get any hints from them.

Do you have an autumn parents evening to see how she's settled in. If so use that to let them know your concerns. She might be a completely different child at school & might be joining in but is too tired to acknowledge this when she gets home.

Just try to let her have as much sleep as poss (they seem more tired at the start & end of term) & I'm sure in a few weeks you'll be wondering what you were worried about smile

WomanwiththeYellowHat Wed 28-Sep-11 21:42:53

Thanks everyone - I know that at least part of the problem is the sleep but I am just really struggling to get her to bed an earlier. I have managed it by 7pm twice this week but it is usually nearer half past by the time they have both finished messing about.

Tonight was so awful that I am still upset about it 2 hours later! I think the two of them are waking early in the morning and I just can't get dd2 to understadn that she mustn't wake her sister up in the morning.

In terms of her friends from preschool, I think that is also part of the problem. There are two classes and 4 of them are in one class, leaving DD1 and one other girl (who she didn't know well) in her class. I think they did this to separate her from our neighbour, to avoid 'over familiarity', which I think was probably the right call, but it has meant that she feels a bit left out.

I will try to speak to the teacher tomorrow or Friday and see if she has any ideas.

stealthsquiggle Wed 28-Sep-11 21:54:14

I am busy trying to keep quiet about the fact that DD (October b'day, so one of the oldest) seems to be coping fine (and even she is tired, and wailed from the top of the stairs this morning "I'm tooo tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired") as more or less all the other parents say their DC are struggling. Two had major tantrums before school this morning, and a third was carried across the playground yelling "I don't WANT to. It's too BORING"

So - no advice, really, other than what others have said (water and snack as soon as she gets out of the door, early bed, maybe take DD2 in with you in the morning to keep her from waking DD1?) - but rest assured you are definitely not the only ones finding it tough.

Tgger Wed 28-Sep-11 23:45:13

Awwww, you really feel for them when they're like you say. I reckon for the next term even take the odd day off when she's tired- I'm sure it will pay dividends- just be careful how you phrase it so she doesn't get the idea she can decide when not to go!

I think it's tough on the younger children. Can you chat to her when she's calm about her behaviour before bed and reset her wiring a bit? If she's like my son once they get to a certain point of tiredness they lose control and even though they know they shouldn't be behaving in a certain way they really can't seem to help themselves. A reward chart for when she is good at bedtime with a small treat after 3 good days? Just make bedtime even earlier and take your younger one out and put her in with you for a couple of weeks if you need to. TAKE CHARGE!!! (well, that's what I'd do, or think I'd try to do!!!).

Good luck, you are not alone! IMO what friends she has in her class etc is not that important- they are so transient at this age and she will make new friends, I think the tiredness thing is more the issue.

Tweak the bedtime routine to avoid messing about- separate them if necessary- keep the younger one with you if that's what it takes! And have rewards and sanctions if necessary to get the behaviour back on track.

Fingers crossed for you! -(I haven't got probs with my DS nearly 5 prob as older one, but my 2, nearly 3 year old is getting very tired from her nursery now she's quit her nap and boy can you tell the difference in her behaviour!!!!)

stealthsquiggle Thu 29-Sep-11 08:48:30

I withdraw my earlier statement about DD coping - 3 separate toddler-style tantrums before school this morning. I feel for you, OP - my other DC is older and all I have to deal with is him winding DD up. With a younger (and
 close) one, it must massively magnify the tantrums.

letsblowthistacostand Thu 29-Sep-11 09:20:19

We had a bit of this last year (DD1 now in y1, DD2 2yrs younger). Will the school let her do 1 or 2 half days a week? I did this with DD1 for the whole first term, picked her up after lunch on a Thursday and it was really helpful. She just needed a bit of a break sometimes. Also maybe change your bedtime routine? We did dinner around 4:30, bath straight after then jammies and cbeebies til 6:30, warm milk, teeth, books, in bed by 7. I found being in their pjs helps them calm down.

I wouldn't worry about reading or how anyone else is settling in. DD1 took a while to find her feet (didn't go to the attached nursery) but has really hit her stride now and is loving y1.

HoHoLaughingMonster Thu 29-Sep-11 09:32:05

My DD started 3 weeks ago. She's a June B/day and went in full time from the start.

She has been vile since she started. She's stroppy, rude, inconsiderate, uncooperative and has had loads of tantrums.

And she's not just like this with DH and I, but to with Grandparents and her swimming teacher too.

I am embarrassed by her behaviour TBH. When she's rude I pick her up on it, but she just argues and snaps back. She's like a teenager!

And she made me cry this morning (to be fair I am quite hormonal).

No advice but lots of sympathy...

tallulah Thu 29-Sep-11 09:39:40

You are not alone sad

DD asked (again) this morning if she could go back to nurserysad Last week she said she didn't have any friends and wanted her old friends back. I could cry for her.

The last couple of nights altho she's gone to bed on time she won't go to sleep and has still been banging about at 9.30pm. Of course she then won't wake up in the morning and it's been a mad rush.

As far as the phonics goes, we've had one letter so far (week 4 of PT school). I haven't pushed any academic stuff- she'll do it when she's ready. This is supposed to be a continuation of nursery AFAIIA.

Tyrionlovingyourwork Thu 29-Sep-11 09:43:00

MY DS is nearly 5 and school in no way has slowed him down.  He goes to bed at 8Pm and last night was still awake at 9pm. I would much rather he was asleep by 7:30.  Once he goes to bed he stays there and he is getting up ok so I am not going to change this for a few weeks. Letsblow's routine is similar to what we have and it seems to work. Is a change in bedtime routine feasible?  

I think CleanHankie has made a good suggestion and I would separate bedtime for the girls if you can. I am allowing a reward to recognise the move to school. My DS goes upstairs to watch a 20 min DVD with his dad and is allowed to take action figures into the bath. 

I wouldn't worry about reading and phonics.  This is only one part of what they will be learning during the day.   MY DS has felt pushed and as soon as he masters one small thing he is challenged to move forward.  Moving to school is a massive change and it has only been a few short weeks even though it feels much longer to you and your DD.

Tyrionlovingyourwork Thu 29-Sep-11 09:45:40

Also my DS seems to use up all of his good behaviour at school.  He was really naughty for a few weeks but seems to be back to normal now. 

It is awful when your DC are unhappy - here is a brew and a biscuit

stealthsquiggle Thu 29-Sep-11 10:19:47

Definitely don't worry about the phonics if she is resistant to it, OP - the last thing you need is a show-down about that on top of everything else.

WomanwiththeYellowHat Thu 29-Sep-11 10:36:22

Thanks all - this is making me feel better! IN terms of the routine, that is pretty much our routine, the problem is that she wants endless 'one more stories', as does DD2, and they then invent a spurious list of crap that means they are shouting down the stairs and endlessly going to the loo, all of which drags the whole thing out. I am going to get them down by 6 30 this evening to at least bring thewhole pantomime back by half an hour to see if that makes a difference.

WomanwiththeYellowHat Thu 29-Sep-11 10:38:41

Thanks also on the separating bed times idea but that one just won't work for us - DD1 would never go downstairs on her own to watch TV or a DVD and I always do the bedtime on my own, so there is never going to be anyone to sit with her. I think the whole thing would just be so much easier if DH could be home for bedtime, as I think part of what they are craving is some attention, but that just isn't possible.

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 29-Sep-11 10:45:54

You are definitely not alone. DD sounds almost identical to yours (very chatty, seemingly "older" May baby but prone to emotional meltdowns). She too was a pre school for 5 mornings and started school full time from day 1 almost 4 weeks ago. She is with exactly the same children she has been with throughout playschool and pre school so I thought she'd be absolutely fine but she's not.

We have tears every morning. She refuses to get dressed, brush her hair, eat her breakfast, put her shoes on. Everything is a massive battle and ends in an argument. Her behaviour is terrible in the evenings. She's utterly exhausted but fannies around at bedtime, wakes really early and is waking in the night sad. She's struggling with the "work". Is never interested in learning the word lists they send home or reading any of the books. She will not tell me anything about her day at school. Its like trying to get blood out of a stone and it is so frustrating. She's stroppy, rude and really badly behaved sad

Its just horrible ..

WomanwiththeYellowHat Thu 29-Sep-11 10:58:20

Tilly - are you me??! That does make me feell like this might actually be a phase, as this is just so so similar. It is horrible isn't it? I just feel like I don't know how to make it get any better, as I just feel like there is nothing structurally I can really do with the routine to make it get better.

Fingers crossed it gets better soon.....

stealthsquiggle Thu 29-Sep-11 11:13:59

OP - could you try bribery for bedtime? It sounds like you would need to bribe both DDs, but if they settled down with one story and no faffing around they could get stars towards a joint reward/activity at the weekend? I find with my two that emphasising the "both get it or neither gets it", and telling them it needs teamwork, gets a bizarre amount of co-operation from a pair who normally bicker constantly, especially when tired (I am waiting for this to stop working grin)

Tgger Thu 29-Sep-11 20:27:01

Hope it was better tonight.

Can you limit the stories? We just have 2 each in their separate bedrooms if 2 adults are home, or 1 each if just 1 adult. If they are naughty (quite bad, after a warning!) then they lose one story/lose their story if just 1 adult. They are fine with this- we limited it from when DS (older one almost 5) was about 2 and he did the "just one more story" thing.

CleanHankie Thu 29-Sep-11 21:05:18

DH has just reminded me of something the Head said to us at the start of a Parents Meeting for newbies last week.

"They may not seem like your child right now, but trust me they do come back to you"

Here's hoping smile

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 29-Sep-11 21:41:07

I like that CleanHankie smile Here's hoping !

WomanwiththeYellowHat Thu 29-Sep-11 23:39:04

Just to say that it was much better this evening - I am optimistic that we have turned a corner! I spoke to her teacher at the gate and checked that she is doing fine at school - happy, sociable, settling well and that she is absolutely fine with the phonics stuff, so no longer worried about that.

For bedtime, I have instigated the 'no shouting teamwork sticker' system, so thank you very much to whoever suggested it! In terms of the stories, I should have explained that they only get one story each, in their bedrooms etc etc, the crazy demands are not met, however they persist in making them, which is why I know it is not about the demands themselves but about something else, if you see what I mean. I think the sticker thing gives them something to 'do' at bedtime that gives a purpose to just going to sleep quietly!

We'll see what tomorrow brings but I am feeling more positive than I have done for the past couple of weeks!

Thank you!

tiggerandpoohtoo Fri 30-Sep-11 00:05:16

Hi, have you thought about CD storybooks at bedtime. My two DD's were the same last year. We bought them a little CD player and some books and now they ask to go to bed earlier to have a story on the CD player. This hasn't taken the place of our storytime - we still have that, but they know that if they go up a bit earlier they can listen to another one. They usually fall asleep before its finished and i go up and turn it off. It has stopped the questions, loo trips etc.
It does get better - as you're already finding! I promise.

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