Is anyone else’s Year 1 child really struggling?

(18 Posts)
SomeCatsLikeCheese Wed 16-Jun-21 09:10:19

DC1 is a very, very late summer born (which I think is relevant) and is really struggling with school. The problem is compounded as he isn’t struggling academically, if that makes sense - he is meeting expectations so stays below the radar but is a) really struggling with the move to a fully learning-based curriculum and the lack of play time/child-initiated play, and b) finding some of the work difficult (but appears to perform well enough that teachers have no concerns). We are having huge outbursts at home some days after school and probing then reveals that he found X lesson really, really difficult. He keeps going on about the lack of play during the school day and that learning is boring.

I feel as though we and the school have done a cracking job of getting him to where he should be age wise and have successfully killed off any love of learning he used to have. He is completely off reading for pleasure as well and refuses bedtime stories now.

Is anyone else’s Year 1 in this position, or has anyone had a child in this position who came out the other side? He is also anxious about Year 2 and I must admit, I’m concerned about that as well.

OP’s posts: |
HSHorror Wed 16-Jun-21 12:27:55

He may settle more in yr 2.
ive a summer born but not late and r/1 were worst. The terms being 6-7w are long and our school gear up towards term ends. The maths too is now done in an odd way and dc1 just couldnt cope with the jumping etc in yr 3 they did column add/sub.and that is much easier.
Over time the age difference effectively becomes less as instead of 4/5 it is 9/10 say.
Mine has always loved to read mainly personality based i think, but they can definitely get too exhausted/want to do other things.
Dc2 is csa so in reception at almost 6. We still have exhausted days.
A year 1 this year would not hphave built up as much stamina as previous years as missed some of yr r and 8w yr 1
Im nor quite sure what goes on at school but dc2 had pretty good writing in jan and forming letters correctly. After these weeks back at school is going the wrong way. And it's messier!

wtftodo Wed 16-Jun-21 12:51:55

My september born y2 child absolutely hated year 1. Crying on the pavement refusing to go in etc. It was the shift from a play based, pretty much autonomous day to a sitting down day with less playtime. Year 2 has been better; I think she was over the shock (plus lockdown made everyone value school!!) but still moans a bit. She does read for pleasure in year 2 though more than she did in year 1.

SomeCatsLikeCheese Wed 16-Jun-21 13:23:17

Thank you, both. I am starting to feel quite worried - we are due to speak to his teacher this week. There have been issues all year in some way, shape or form, and he also has some toileting issues (for which he is under a paediatrician), which seem to be exacerbated by stress. I had hoped we might be coming out the other side of it once he got settled back into school after lockdown but it feels as though school is ramping up the pressure.

He has had a very disrupted start to school thanks to Covid, although was in some key worker provision for much of lockdown.

With reading, I am wondering if part of the problem is that he’s outgrown his usual books but isn’t ready to move onto the next stage. He won’t even countenance me reading something like The Faraway Tree to him, or even children’s versions of any of the classics. He has just gone off reading completely. He’s also very stubborn and not a half-hearted child at all so any attempt to gently encourage is, shall we say, met robustly. The only thing that has worked is when his DGPs have visited and have suggested reading him a bedtime story.

OP’s posts: |
Twistedlogic Wed 16-Jun-21 14:05:39

Just a thought but have you tried non-fiction? Something like the Usborne lift-the-flap books maybe? They're a hit with my son who's a similar age and also not enjoying bedtime stories at the moment.

HSHorror Wed 16-Jun-21 14:12:19

Maybe something like stinkbomb and ketchupface or the mini monsters?
Unfortunately i do find summer borns the interest in books matches the age so thet might not want to read chapter books.
Nearly 6yo is only just getting into listening to isadora moon or claude.

TheDevils Wed 16-Jun-21 14:19:39

Y1's across the country are struggling ( mine included) because the lockdown interrupted they key foundation blocks for learning.

Try not to worry. I'm sure your school are aware and have plans to support those that are struggling.


ilovepuggies Wed 16-Jun-21 14:30:15

You could ask the school if he could repeat year 1 due to him being late summer born / toileting issues / anxieties?

SomeCatsLikeCheese Wed 16-Jun-21 20:36:19

I know all Year 1s have had an equally disrupted start to school. I’m not concerned about his learning, he is meeting expectations - it’s more how he feels about school and the amount of pressure he feels under. I was just curious as to whether anyone else’s summer born (or Year 1) is experiencing the same kind of issues and/or has successfully resolved a similar problem.

We are meeting his teacher next week to discuss this plus transition.

@ilovepuggies, there is no way the school would agree to him repeating a year. It’s not the done thing in England and they wouldn’t countenance anything other than a full time start for him into reception. Also, it would be very demoralising for him as well as removing him from his classmates. So that is not even on the table as an option, though I appreciate you thinking outside the box.

Thank you for the book recommendations, I’ll take a look at those. Non-fiction would be a good idea if it fits with his special interests. I am basically trying to find something that sits between Julia Donaldson/Rachel Bright and chapter books!

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TheDevils Wed 16-Jun-21 20:48:51

The disruption hasn't just had an impact on learning. It's impacted behaviour, anxiety and children's feelings about school.
It's likely all related.

frysturkishdelight Wed 16-Jun-21 23:40:08


The disruption hasn't just had an impact on learning. It's impacted behaviour, anxiety and children's feelings about school.
It's likely all related.

Absolutely. I teach year one and am very aware they have no idea of what normal school is like. Year 1 is a hard transition in normal times let alone at the moment.
I agree year 2 will be better.

Gecko85 Thu 17-Jun-21 11:45:11

We've been in a similar boat with our year 1 DS. He's summer born and academically able but has hated school for much of the year because he found the formal structure of Yr 1 and all the rules/need to sit and concentrate/lack of play time etc hard to deal with. Covid disruption didn't help either. I don't have much advice, but have found he has improved recently, simply due to maturing I think? Reading wise, non-fiction books about animals were a hit here and very easy short chapter books like Polly & the Puffin series were good for us when DS didn't have the stamina for anything long.

TotorosCatBus Thu 17-Jun-21 12:09:54

My boys preferred non-fiction books at his age and still do. Sometimes adults can hung up on getting kids to move onto chapter book fiction when they'd rather listen to or read a book about how volcanoes work (or whatever floats their boat) and pick up more advanced vocabulary that way.
My kids liked joke books, books about under the sea creatures, bugs, children's encyclopedias with pictures - the precious gem page was a favourite. Usborne do books where you lift the flap which makes listening about the human body or whatever more fun than pure printed text.
If he's reluctant to read I'd try 10 minutes of reading at bedtime. Many kids like the staying up later incentive.

SprogletsMum Thu 17-Jun-21 12:15:44

My late summer born really struggled with the transition into year 1. She would have been much better if she'd have been born 2 weeks later and in the year below. Unfortunately it's just one of those things. She's in year 5 now and whilst she copes better with the learning parts of school she still struggles a bit socially and with the level of maturity needed. Our schooling system is so inflexible, it really sucks to be on the brink of a school cut off.

RainingZen Thu 17-Jun-21 12:20:29

I know this is going to sound bonkers, but have tried saying gently to him, that school is SUPPOSED to be hard work? And that's a good thing because it means he is exercising his brain. Learning how to sit still, listen and concentrate on your work is part of growing up. It is just as difficult as learning to eat with a spoon when you're a baby, or learning how to go to sleep all night without waking up screaming every 45 minutes.

Regarding reading, can you take him to your local library once a week, get him in the habit of choosing a book? At this age my DD LOVED maze books, and puzzle books where you have to find things on every page. And Asterix. There's loads in our library, they are the kind of books you read once, maybe twice, and it REALLY got her into reading.

She would then go and look for books on things she was interested in, in the kids section there are books on everything - volcanoes, cavemen, Ancient Egypt, baking, poetry. There are also loads of large-format story books with gorgeous illustrations, absolutely delightful to read at home.

Hope this helps.

FreeButtonBee Thu 17-Jun-21 12:20:39

I have a very bright very young Yr1 son. While he is not quite so extreme as your son he definitely doesn't love school. His teacher has been amazing and they have done their very best but it's been very tough for him to be in and out and worse as his siblings adore school which makes him want to hate it even more (if you know what I mean).

On books I agree that non-fiction is the way to go. We also enjoy things like the big lego ideas book (which sometimes have little silly jokes and speech bubbles which he will try to read). Also the treehouse books are a massive hit here (we have read them all so many times and he will have a go - even if again only reading the speech bubble bits).

What about Roald Dalh Start with the Twits maybe even just read the wormy spaghetti bit. Or audio books to listen to together (we did the very old Jackanory telling of George's Marvellous Medicine by Rik Mail which was brilliant).

Comic and graphic novels have generally been a really good bridge for us. The Astrocats series is fun. I don't really like Dogman and Captian underpants but they serve a purpose of keeping the reading up and sometimes he will have a go himself.

SomeCatsLikeCheese Thu 17-Jun-21 14:22:12

@RainingZen, that’s an interesting suggestion. I think the problem is not that he can’t do those listening/concentrating things, rather that they take so much effort for him that he is exhausted and sometimes tearful and angry afterwards.

We do try with library books but he is very funny about anything new and will happily choose books at the library on a good day but then refuse to let us read them to him.hmm Non-fiction is definitely a good idea, and I hear you on chapter books.

Not to drip feed but I do suspect some level of neurodiversity. But school don’t really see it. The SENCO (who had a fair amount of contact with him during lockdown due to how KW kids were grouped) didn’t consider he was showing sufficient flags and emphasised that whether or not he had a diagnosis, he would receive help based on need and he isn’t showing that need in school.

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Ellie56 Sat 19-Jun-21 17:53:52

Not to drip feed but I do suspect some level of neurodiversity.

I wondered that. And if he is masking at school, they don't notice, but as soon as he gets home, you get the fallout from all the stress that has built up over the day.

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