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Has anyone else's child reacted very badly to their first day in Reception?

(43 Posts)
imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 18:28:32

My dd's pretty old for her class (an October birthday) and has been at her primary school in the nursery for a year but her first day in Reception seems to have tipped her emotions into a strange over-drive.

She had her first day on Friday and she was upset when I left her (not crying out loud but struggling not to cry with very tearful eyes - she rarely cries when other people are around, she's very shy and remarkably reserved). When I collected her she stuck to me like glue, insisting that I had my hand on her hand on her bike handle bars as she rode home. Since then she's been angry, weepy, refuses to talk about anything to do with school and is generally in denial about the fact she has to go back on Monday.

Is this familiar? Any advice?

ScoobyDooooo Sat 08-Sep-07 18:33:40

Hmm i am seeing this in my ds, he was fine for 1st day he started in reception on wednesday he is going to be 5 in a week.

I have however now noticed his behaviouer has changed & he is being naughty, not listening to me & crying at little things.

I actually pointed this out to dp today & said it has been since he started reception, he has also not spoken much about school when even asked so i have not pushed him to much.

He used to come out of nursery all happy & smiley but he has just been walking out of reception not even saying hello.

I have no advice but wanted to let you know my ds has been the same, i will be interested to see what others say.

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 18:37:22

SD, you're my daughter's favourite cartoon character grin

Dd was always fine in nursery too. I mean she's never been crazy on going to school like some kids we know are. But she never once cried when I left her and she never said she didn't want to go.

I don't know what's so different about Reception. She's with almost all the same kids as in her nursery class. She knows both her teachers as they've both had stints in the nursery. There are things like having lunch in the big hall rather than the nursery classroom and spending an hour in the big playground rather than the little one by the classroom which are different.

Today she's cried on and off the whole day and been very rude and angry. Not herself at all.

ScoobyDooooo Sat 08-Sep-07 18:46:33

I can sort of understand ds a bit as he only has 2 people in his new class from his nusery & it is a completely different location, he is not really to shy & never cries when i leave him there but he is dreadful at home & has done alot of crying here at silly little things.

He has not yet stayed for lunch he has only been doing from 8.40am till 12.05pm wed he starts doing till 3.10pm & staying for lunch, think he may find this hard but he may surprize me.

I think with it being new surroundings & different routines through the day to nursery it may take them time to get used to it?

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 18:56:10

I don't understand it with dd as most things are familiar. I think perhaps she's feeling it as we've had the most fabulous summer break. She's been so relaxed and happy and we've been the best of buddies the whole time. I think that in comparison school must seem like an option she wouldn't opt for if she had the choice.

She was always shy and reserved in nursery and tended to spend time by herself a lot. I wonder if the smaller classroom and therefore closer proximity of peers / teachers is something she finds hard. No time / space to zone off into her own world.

I'm rather dreading Monday morning.

dramaqueen Sat 08-Sep-07 19:00:16

IF, was it you dd who has the problem with her skin? if so how is she doing now? I ahve often wondered. If not, sorry for getting it wrong.

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 20:53:36

Yes dq, that was me. My dd's skin is so much better. She's still on pretty heavy medication and without it she'd probably relapse but if you met her for the first time now you wouldn't know she'd ever had a problem. It's wonderful. I think that knocked her confidence though, when it was bad I mean.

Marne Sat 08-Sep-07 20:59:03

Dd1 started pre-school last week and is acting the same as your dd, she refuses to talk about her day and if i mention it to her she changes the subject.

Maybe its best not to talk about it till monday morning, have a nice day tommorrow and worry about school on monday. I hope all goes well and i hope she settles in soon.

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 21:01:33

I"m hoping there's no tears on Monday morning!

pippo Sat 08-Sep-07 21:19:35

Imaginary Friend my dd was a bit like yours when she started year R last year, infact there were tears a few times (which was very out of character - interestingly she is very much like the way you describe your dd).

Things just gradually got easier and by Christmas she was really happy and enjoying school.

I found her unwillingness to tak about things difficult too, but I just kind of let it go really and tried not to talk about school unless she did so it sort of kept things low key - and when she did talk about school I tried to be very matter of fact.

It was quite a traumatic couple of weeks (probably as it was so unexpected)tho' so you have my symapthy.

Hope your dd soon feels happier. Im sure there must be many many children who go through this.

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 21:23:35

That's reassuring to hear pippo. I was thinking that dp and I were probably slightly over the top when she got home as we were so keen to hear her news. If only there was a webcam so you could have a peek in at them!

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 21:56:04


imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 22:25:37

anyone else? tips? advice? stories of similar?

Frizbe Sat 08-Sep-07 22:27:42

Cod started a huge thread on this last week, seems its a common thing, work shock etc. I have yet to experience the joys, its my turn next year.....

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 22:28:58

Ok, I"ll look for cod's thread. Thanks.

imaginaryfriend Sat 08-Sep-07 22:50:59

I can't find that thread. Anybody got a link to it?

HonoriaGlossop Sat 08-Sep-07 23:39:27

Sorry, i don't have a link to that, but wanted to say don't worry; it's very common to have different/difficult behaviour on starting reception. There is a lot more independence expected, things ARE different from nursery, and she's gone back away from you after having had a lovely summer.....all pretty damn hard stuff to do when you're five and your nature is reserved and shy.

Lots of people have said to me, and I've read on here, that behaviour at home can be pretty dreadful during the first term while they adjust. I'd say don't agonise about it, just accept it and ride it out so far as you can!

DS went to year one last week and we have had a VERY grumpy saturday....had forgotten about the Saturday grumps....Sundays are always better {weak smile emoticon}!

Well done to your dd for getting through it so well. She sounds like she's coping, which is fab for someone of such a sensitive nature.

soapbox Sat 08-Sep-07 23:48:09

Have you spoken to her and asked about how she is feeling?

A 'I can tell that your feeling a bit angry/sad/upset and it seems to be about starting school, has it been different to how you expected it to be?' kind of question might help open up her emotions. Best tackled in a lying snuggled up on the bed together moment, IME

imaginaryfriend Sun 09-Sep-07 09:49:33

Thanks for the replies.

I'm reassured to hear it's common, Honoria.

I haven't tried speaking to her like that actually, sb. I've asked her etc. but I'll try at bedtime tonight and be more directed in my questions.

TheApprentice Sun 09-Sep-07 10:04:12

Hi, I'm a teacher and taught reception for many years. Just wanted you to know that this behaviour seems completely normal, I've heard this so many times from parents of children in my class.

I think school can be a huge shock for some children, even if they are familiar with the other kids, the teachers and the buildings and even if the teachers are really nice!

For a start, the day is much longer and this tires children out. Its also a long time without seeing Mum/Dad/carer. Also the expectations are different, there's a lot less freedom than in nursery and sometimes that means the teacher has to be quite firm with one or two "stronger" personalities. Unfortunately this sometimes upsets the more sensitive souls , but this always sorts itself out over time once they realise that the teacher is only going to use her stern voice if a child is misbehaving.

And there's a lot of new routines etc to take in. I know how overwhelmed I feel on the first few days of a new job! And there are bigger children to contend with which some kids find intimidating to start with.

Some children find it helpful to bring in something special from home and carry it around with them during the school day, eg a favourite soft toy or one of mummys jumpers.

Hopefully it wont be long before your daughter settles. If things dont start to get better do go and talk to the teacher. Best of luck!

francagoestohollywood Sun 09-Sep-07 10:28:31

IF, ds started reception in January, and the first 10 days were really hard. He had loved his nursery (which sadly wasn't attatched to the school, therefore he didn't know anyone at first) and it took him some time to adapt to new routines eetc. He was so tense that the first 10 days he couldn't eat his breakfast. He'd also cry at lunch times "because I don't have anyone to talk to". His teacher then decided to sit next to him at lunchtime. Then, things slowly started to look better (didn't do much, apart from giving him lots of cuddles), and he now seems happy that school's started back. A good tip I was given was to wait an hour or two before asking "how did it go at school?", also make specific questions rather than general ones. All the best for monday smile

HonoriaGlossop Sun 09-Sep-07 16:39:43

I so agree with that last post - don't pump for information as soon as they come out. Such good advice. They just want to let off steam and live in the moment, they've DONE the hard bit and want to forget about it!

It's a balance I find hard to strike sometimes; because of course you want to be involved and let them know you care what goes on at school. Waiting till later, when you're both relaxed is good and I always try and be really positive so that I don't transfer any anxiety.

imaginaryfriend Sun 09-Sep-07 20:20:36

Great replies, thanks.

I think I did go unfortunately a bit over the top on Friday with questions and probably seemed frustrated that she wasn't answering me. I've avoided talking about school today though apart from to mention briefly that it's school again tomorrow so she'll remember.

We went to a birthday party this afternoon and she was so clingy, kept asking me to follow her wherever she went and to watch her all the time. And she seemed genuinely panicked if I went out of her sight.

The trouble is that I'm a terrible worrier and I think I probably do pass on my anxieties to her even though I try not to. I've felt so tense and stressed out this last few days that I've felt tired and slightly unwell with worry. I'm going to try to get a really early night and be a more positive presence for her tomorrow.

I keep blowing things out of proportion like that she didn't get the little booklet in her bookbag that the others seem to have got which is where you jot down notes for the teacher and where they send messages to you.

Poor dd having a worrying old mum, it can't be helping can it?

BBBee Sun 09-Sep-07 20:26:44

great post apprentice.

I had a similar expereince last year when DD started school. All I can say is it does get better and they do settle and one day you take them and they run in and then come out talking non-stop about school.


-acknowledge it will take up a lot of your emotinal energy. Be nice to yourself.

-take one day at a time.

-people will say they are pickng it all up from you - I hate this as it made me feel like it was my fault.

-if you know or get to know the school secretary / dinner lady you can get up dates from them

-be honest with others when they ask how you are feeling. Talk about it and don;t block it in.

-in the big long run it will be fine, but this bit is quite intense.

Good luck for the next week.

imaginaryfriend Sun 09-Sep-07 20:41:28

Thanks BBBeee. I keep trying to be non-stressed but it feels like such an act. Because I am stressed! I've had a rotten, miserable, crap headache all weekend.

I'm going to try to have a brief chat about a few things with the teacher in the morning. Plus I'm collecting dd a bit earlier tomorrow as she has her dermatology clinic so I'll get to spy on her briefly when I turn up mid-afternoon.

I'm really hoping tomorrow is a better day.

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