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Crying and upset every morning.

(20 Posts)
freddiefrog Mon 17-Sep-12 09:15:04

I can't take this anymore.

Every morning my 7 year old DD2 cries, from the moment she gets up to the moment I leave her at school. She's cried all through pre-school, reception, year 1, year 2 and now into year 3. She cries whoever drops her off (me, DH, grandma, everyone so it's not solely for my benefit)

I've spoken to her teachers millions of times over the years who all say she's fine once I've gone. She's not particularly happy to be there, but not unhappy either. She's a bit of a home body and would rather just stay home. I don't think she's particularly bothered about being with me, she'd just rather not bother with it all - she's the same with days out, holidays, etc - she'd just rather be at home.

She's been back at school just over a week and a half now. 1st 2 days she had to be peeled off me, then her teacher and I instigated a sticker chart (if she went in with no tears she got a sticker, 5 stickers meant she got a special certificate in class assembly on Friday). She was OKish last week - tearful at home and on the way to school, but went off with a TA OK once we got there.

This morning she started as soon as she got out of bed and ended up with her being peeled off me by a TA.

We've tried all sorts over the years - being met at the gates by a TA, being met at the classroom door by a TA. My neighbour has tried taking her in with her DD, we've tried going with the flow and me still sitting there at morning break, we've been tough with her, taken it gently, done reward charts, praised her, etc, etc, but nothing has ever made any difference.

She's doing fine at school (has been diagnosed with some SEN so is getting extra support and doing well), has lots of friends, takes part in lots of afterschool clubs, has her friends here a lot and goes to her friends houses a lot. She isn't being bullied or anything and has always loved her teachers and TAs so we just can't find any reason for it, and she can't give one either, other than "I just want to be at home with you"

It's just so wearing every morning, it's not nice for us, it's not nice for her, it's not nice for her teachers and TAs and it's upsetting the rest of the class.

I'm all out of ideas, her teachers are all out of ideas - we're rehashing old strategies at school in the hope that we hit on something that works but she's doggedly hanging in there every morning.

Has anyone else ever been through this? Did you find anything that ever worked?


fatfloosie Mon 17-Sep-12 10:54:23

Gosh freddiefrog you sound so level headed. I had a term of this with DD at preschool and I was going out of my mind - if she'd kept it up I would've been on prozac by now.

It was friends related with DD and she just had to be dragged there keep going until she made some new ones, so I can't offer any tried and tested solutions for your situation, just some random suggestions:

(1) just not awake enough in the morning? have you tried getting up ridiculously early so there is plenty of home time before you go? or one of those alarm clocks that wakes you up gradually with natural light?

(2) very mild depression/agoraphobia?

(3) just a habit now that she can't break? perhaps try CBT or hypnotherapy?

Hopefully someone will be along soon to help you, I just hate to see a long and heartfelt post go unanswered.

You have my sympathy for your situation and my huge admiration for your ability to cope.

StateofConfusion Mon 17-Sep-12 10:57:08

I've no advice but my ds is doing the same, had it for most of preschool, reception and now 2 and a half weeks of year 1, he comes home saying he had such fun and his teacher says he's fine, so why, why must he get so upset everyday sad

You deserve a medal op for staying so calm and collected after doing it for years I feel unhinged already, and dd starts nursery tomorrow so ill be making two cry daily.

Itspardonnotwhat Mon 17-Sep-12 11:00:37

Checking in with a similar story.....just posted in the development board looking for advice on a similar situation with my 3.7yr old DD. I agree, you must have so much patience for coping with it for so long. I'm losing the plot already!

mishymashy Mon 17-Sep-12 11:01:26

Have you tried arriving for drop off 15 minutes later everyday so that the playground has cleared. We had to do this for 4 months with DS because of anxiety at all of the people rushing around and the noise. His TA took him in quietly and with no fuss. It was such a relief smile DS also has SEN.

freddiefrog Mon 17-Sep-12 11:34:55


We've tried getting up really early and taking it slow but it just gave her more time to get upset iyswim. I now get them up as late as we can get away with as she's focused on getting ready and it doesn't give her time to dwell on it and get really wound up if that makes sense. The longer I give her, the more upset she gets.

We've tried getting to school earlier, but not later so it might be worth suggesting.

For a few weeks I took her in 10 minutes before school started, her teacher met her and tried to get her to help set up the work for the day and stuff like that, but it all ends the same way - her crying her eyes out and being peeled off me by a teacher/ta

It's become such a part of our routine now I guess, I hardly notice it anymore if that makes sense. It was going so well last week that I was hoping we'd maybe seen the light, then came back to earth this morning with a bump.


TwiggysGoneOnHolidayByMistake Mon 17-Sep-12 11:41:34

I do feel for you - I've only jsut got DD semi-settled now and she's in Y5! Have you considered homeschooling?

IvanaNap Mon 17-Sep-12 11:46:54

Are you at home when she is at school, out of interest?
Would more sticker charts and more reward help - something she can add to each week, like, um, a sticker album or a toy that has lots of parts to it?!

dikkertjedap Mon 17-Sep-12 11:48:24

Does the school have access to a child psychologist? If so, I would ask the child psychologist to get involved. I think it is a big difference between a reception child having separation issues compared with a year 2 child, especially if it is ongoing on a daily basis.

You do mention some SEN issues, so maybe an assessment can be made with a treatment plan. It is important for her own (and your) welfare that she overcomes what seems an extreme form of separation anxiety (as it seems to happen only at the start of the day, but she is fine later on including after school activities).

If the school does not have access to psychologist then I would discuss options with your GP and ask for a referral.

freddiefrog Mon 17-Sep-12 12:26:12


She's been diagnosed as dyspraxic - it's only in the last year or so that we've had any assessment or support with her. I'll speak to the SENCo about a child psych and take it from there.

She has a lot of the classic symptoms and this non-settling/seperation/would rather be at home seems to be one of the most glaringly obvious ones (why we didn't pick up on it until last year I'll never know, it's so obvious with hindsight).

She does have some sensory issues around some types of noise (hates fireworks/bangs more than shouting/crowd noise) but doesn't seem bothered by crowds, but her class is tiny and fairly quiet (only 16 kids) and the entrance we use to the school avoids the busy playground/general melee

She's currently with an ed psych and an OT. She also has some one to one with a TA, is on all the School Action/School Action Plus/Activ8 type schemes.

I am usually at home while she's at school - I work part time from home and I also volunteer 3 mornings a week at school (helping with art stuff, listening to them read etc) but I don't go into her class (we didn't think it would be a good idea with the morning issues).

I don't think home-ed would be that successful to be honest, I think I'd be arrested by lunch time

She's OK with afterschool clubs - they're only 30 minutes and she goes straight there from her classroom, I don't pick her up until it's finished so she doesn't see us first (the same with friends houses for tea, her friend's parent collects her from school so she doesn't see us until we collect her after tea).

She doesn't seem to be bothered about being seperated from us particularly, she'd just prefer to be at home if that makes sense. She's happy to stay with a baby sitter, so long as she's at home (she hates staying at Granny's house, but she's perfectly happy for Granny to babysit her at home), she's not keen on going to her friends houses, she prefers them to come here. She's not keen on being on holiday, or if we go out for the day. Once she's out, she enjoys herself, has fun, doesn't seem anxious at all, and she's excited about days out/holidays, etc, but she always looks forward to coming home again if that makes sense

DeWe Mon 17-Sep-12 12:32:20

I haven't known any child take that long to settle, and would think you do need outside help. Has the school suggested having any?

But I notice you say she was better with a reward at the end of the week. That means she has some control on it. Do you think that if she had the same reward this week she'd have continued being better? Or did she cope for one week, but more would be too much?*

It sounds almost like a habit, if that makes sense, so if she could cope with continuing the reward chart for a month or so (Would the school cooperate?) might break the habit. If she would cope with it, then I'd have thought doing the reward chart every week for now would be the way to go, as it worked one week.

Or could her teacher find a job she enjoyed to do that she will only get to do if she comes in quickly because it's too late otherwise?

Does she settle at other things, or haven't you tried?

* When I say she has some control, I'm not belittling it, or saying she's doing it deliberately to be awkward. More that, to me, it looks hopeful that she has got even a slight control on her feelings/behaviour.

freddiefrog Mon 17-Sep-12 12:48:37

DeWe - yes, the school were happy to carry on with the reward chart for as long as it took.

The plan was for a sticker every morning she went in OK, 5 stickers would get her a certificate in assembly. 4 certificates by half term would get her a reward in assembly (our school give out little prizes each half term, stuff like book tokens, cinema vouchers, etc).

But, she cried this morning, so didn't get her sticker - her teacher will be flexible today and try to find some way of her getting her sticker or she won't make the 5 by Friday and we don't want her to set her up to fail too much. It's difficult though, as we don't want her to think she'll get her sticker even if she cries

She got her certificate last week, we've put it up on the notice board in our kitchen and she's very proud of it, so I was hoping she'd take up the challenge of earning more

She doesn't really want to do other activities outside the home either tbh, she goes to Beavers, and she enjoys it once she gets there, but is not keen on the actual leaving home part of it iyswim.

I'm going to ask for a meeting with the teacher and SENCo and suggest a child psych


JuliaScurr Mon 17-Sep-12 12:58:09

dd became a school refuser until we HE'd for 9mths, th en got a brilliant primary where I went in the class-room with her every day (poor teacher) gradually moved further away until she could cope alone. She had a card to hold up if she needed to get out of the class room and go to a 'safe' place in the school. Cured in 4

DeWe Mon 17-Sep-12 13:05:10

Okay. I assumed that the school was doing it for one week and had thought that would do it.

Perhaps could you introduce when she has (say) 2/3 certificates then you'll do something nice. Normally I'd suggest going bowling/cinema or something, but if she prefers being at home could you perhaps buy a DVD to watch at home or similar. Give her something else to aim for.

Just wondering if she's worked out that 4 certificates by half term means she can miss a few weeks and still get that, or maybe 4 certificates seems so large it's unobtainable now. So if you stick in another reward as an interim it may help it not seem so impossible.

I think if she's dropped the sticker on Monday, it's reasonable to try and pick it up during the day, otherwise she's no incentive to go in Tuesday-Friday. Probably less good an idea on Friday iyswim though.

Does she have to get 1 sticker every day to get a certificate, or if she gets Tuesday through to Monday will do? (I can see advantages/disadvantages for both)

freddiefrog Mon 17-Sep-12 13:08:34

Oh, and I forgot to add, we've tried in previous years to give her special jobs in the morning - she was "white board eraser" for a while (she got to rub the previous days' work off the white board, "lunch monitor" - sticking up whether her classmates were school dinner or packed lunch, "chief water bottle filler" when she could go with the TA to fill up the water bottles for the day, putting out all the work sheets on the desks, and all sorts. They even made a special badge for her to wear while she was doing the jobs. We never got more than a day out of it, but will suggest it again

Her OT has previously suggested getting her a little pop up tent where she could go if she felt overwhelmed (a child with autism in my eldest DD's class uses one and it's been really successful) so I'll chase that up when I go in later.

I just don't think that I would be up to HE to be honest. Once she's there and we've gone, she's fine. She's progressing well, she's quite a popular little thing really with lots of friends she loves being with and her school is excellent with SEN


IvanaNap Mon 17-Sep-12 13:16:13

The reason I asked about you being at home is that, if her option is school or an empty house - is she still the same? I.E. is it the lure of home comforts with mum at home or is it purely being in the school environment that is the issue?

I have no idea how you would 'test' that theory though, maybe take her to the local library one Saturday, show her a quiet spot / table / computer where you will be "working" from for, say, a week - make a point of making your own packed lunch and packing your bag with work/laptop etc in the mornings... and try to carry it out at least one day and ask the librarian to take a photo of you in situ, so you can show DD when you get home ("what a lovely day I had - it's nice working from the library - look")... not that you have to follow through with it entirely, just so she thinks that's where you are?

Just a rambling idea, it sounds like you have tried lots of things so might be worth a go? (Or she may just change her tune to "I want to be at the library with you..." grin )

DeWe Mon 17-Sep-12 13:31:17

Perhaps not "what a nice day" though... otherwise she might think she'd rather have a "nice day at the library" grin

rrbrigi Mon 17-Sep-12 13:36:03

I am very said to read these stories. Children normally like school, crying for a couple of weeks (probably month) in the beginning of reception, it is ok. BUT for years, no it is definitely not good.

Have you tried to go back to the school in the middle of the morning to look through the window to see how she copes? Children should be happy in the school, and not just sitting on a chair and being sad. Then at least you can see with your eyes and you can judge if she is really happy in the school or not. If she is not happy I would think about changing school for her. I do not know how good her school is, but do you really think if they could not help you in the last 4 years will they be able to help you now?

Sometimes children can feel when we are very nervous and I think you are very nervous, afraid every morning (and nobody can blame you), but perhaps your little one can feel it. But it still cannot be the reason for 4 years crying.

Crying for years it is not just a habit there is something there. Either she does not like school, because something happened with her that you do not know or socially something not ok between you and your daughter (I mean in a positive way, eg.: she like you to much, or the connection between you two is too strong?). If she does things without you (going to afterschool club, visit friends) and without crying, she is able to manage the school without crying too. May I ask you did you leave her somewhere where you were not there? E.g.: sleeping in granny's house? If yes does she cried?

I do agree with those who are saying something has to be in the background of this behavior. Please go as far as you need to solve this behavior as soon as possible, because it will impact her whole life and her whole education. Either if you need move her out from the situation, speak with her to find out the problem or get help from experts. She is already 7 years old, speak with her and tell her that you love her and you are here to help to solve this problem, and she suffered enough, together you can solve this situation.

I am so sorry for you and hope we can hear good news from you in the near future. You have been waiting more than enough and hoping that the situation will go better itself and hope you can see that you have to do something because things won’t be better by itself. Good luck and let us know what happened.

I have a son who started reception this September, cried 2 days and I already spoke to his teacher, he is fine now, but if he would not I just would not send him to school.

mam29 Mon 17-Sep-12 13:52:39

only idea that soprings to mind to take stress of you is

breckast club-ours is 8am drop off breckfast and games.
The ladies who run it lovley and also lunchtime supervisiors and 1 works at afterschool club which we dont always use.

I know she would cry.

but might make it easier as not too many other parents and kids around. quicker to get to school before rush hour too.

then they just take brekkie club kids to their classrooms.

good luck sounds hard my 3year old cries every time i leave her dreading my youngest hes even more clingy.

freddiefrog Sat 22-Sep-12 17:01:53

Thanks for all the suggestions. Sorry I didn't come back before now but life got in the way.

We've had a fairly good week, her teacher found some pretext to give her her sticker on Monday and she's been subdued but no tears for the rest of the week and she got her certificate - she's now half way to her reward and seems quite enthusiastic about earning the next 2.

We've got a meeting with her SENCo, her teacher and the school's ed-psych on Monday afternoon so fingers crossed we'll get further with it


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