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Separation anxiety in reception.

(4 Posts)
sophie67 Mon 17-Sep-12 14:05:11

My daughter has just started reception.
She's been such an easy child to bring up and have only had 4 (honestly!)really bad tantrums/screaming episodes.
We've had a few mornings at drop-off of hysterical crying and screaming, which is so distressing for her and myself. She's quite happy going to school and seems to enjoy it whilst she's there (constantly telling me who did this and that and so on), so why the crying when I have to leave her at school?

She takes in her favourite teddy and I've just bought her a pocket size cuddly toy, so she can leave the bigger one at home and take the smaller one instead. Plus it's less obvious.
I've also started a reward chart at home.

Is separation anxiety a possibility? How do we manage it? How long will it last? Anyone got any ideas?

Onlyaphase Mon 17-Sep-12 14:09:01

Sorry to hear this. My DD is in Y1, and still clingy at drop off, and there are others in tears too, especially in reception.

Can I ask how quickly you leave her in the classroom? Does the teacher take her hand and help you with the handover generally?

It does seem that the quicker the handover, and the less hanging around the parent does, the better. If she is OK when you've gone, then would it be better just to do a quick kiss, handover to the teacher and then leave?

PastSellByDate Mon 17-Sep-12 15:02:53

Hi sophie67

Did you DD go to nursery? If not, it may be that what she's expressing is that she wants you to stay/ doesn't want you to leave - but badly. I had a lot of this at nursery, really upset me but they whisked me up to the office where I saw DD1 was instantly smiley and happy and playing. Couldn't believe my eyes.

Your DD is a bit older and a bit more rational than 14 months - so my advice is this:

1) Tell her that her behaviour is upsetting you and making you sad (in the evening - way before the going to school situation). Ask her if she likes school and would like to learn to read and write? Ask her if she likes playing with her new friends. Odds are the answer will be yes. Then calmly say, that if that's the case - she has to stop the tantrums. More importantly she doesn't want her teacher to think she doesn't like her.

2) Talk to her about feeling upset about leaving her Mum - but explain that it's normal and very sweet, but whilst she's at school you're working, etc... and that you need that time to - it helps pay the bills, pay for great holidays, clothes, etc.... She needs school to learn (how to read, how to write, how to add and subtract) and you think it is a really wonderful thing she's doing.

3) Talk to her about time. Ask her if she thinks the school day goes quickly or slowly. Odds are she will say it goes quickly. Then tell her that is a sign of having a good time.

She's only 4 and it is hard. This won't be easy and it may take weeks, months - but keep focusing on the positive and stressing that her crying/ tantrums upset you and her teacher. Of course you'd love to spend every day, every minute with her - but she also needs to learn and you have great confidence in the school. Try very hard to be positive yourself until she fully settles. Every time she's brave and goes in without trouble tell her how proud you are of her. Don't bribe her, but do reward her when she goes into class R well. Make a real fuss when she does it for a week. for a month, etc... By then you'll have cracked this.


Gibest5 Thu 22-Nov-12 17:39:19

Hi sophie 67,
My daughter is going through the same situation at Reception. It has been 4 continuous weeks now. After 3 weeks, I had to tell the teacher we needed an action plan. She then suggested a star chart and it has got slightly better over the last 2 days at drop off. However, while I want to keep the good bye/separation short, the teaching assistant keeps reminding my daughter and me that she needs to sit at her table every morning. If I bring her at the table, it actually gets worse and her anxiety builds up. It then degenerates into crying, etc. However, on the rare occasions when the main teacher was there at drop off, she picked my daughter's hand and I could easily leave. The teacher would then distract her but that avoided me going to her table. I know she is happy at school, the problem is only when I leave her in the morning.
At nursery, my daughter went through the same thing but the teachers there were simply amazing. They picked her up from the moment I got into the classroom and I left on the spot. She would then cry for a few seconds and that would be it! It would last one or two weeks at the most.
Good luck and let us know how it is going.

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