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DS starts school tomorrow and Does Not Want To Go. How do we get through it?

(19 Posts)
honkytonkwoman Thu 04-Sep-08 21:49:48

DS starts primary school tomorrow, and - despite knowing ten or so children who'll be in his class (including his best friend) - is emphatic that he doesn't want to go. He has a host of reasons for why, and I understand where he's coming from.

We were considering home education until DS's dad and I separated last year: I will now need to work at least part-time, and DS has no siblings to be home-educated with. So school it is, and I have tried to be positive about it around him, and it is a nice little school.

DS is very attached to me, probably in part due to the upheaval in his life over the past year. If he flatly refuses to go tomorrow morning (and/or next week), I will not have him prised off me screaming (and he'll throw up if that happens). So what are my options?

Please arm me with tricks I can have up my sleeve to get through this positively. Many thanks.

slayerette Thu 04-Sep-08 21:57:14

Try not to give him any indication that you have any concerns about how he'll settle - be relentlessly positive about school and unshakeable in your assumption that he will be attending. Talk about all the things he is going to do, saying how much you're looking forward to hearing all about it at when you pick him up.

Is there a special treat you can get him? - my ds had a Scooby Doo dvd he'd been hankering for waiting for him when I picked him up yesterday.

When you say you will not have him prised off you screaming, does that mean you'll take him home if he does cling to you crying?

honkytonkwoman Thu 04-Sep-08 22:02:32

It means that I know that when DS does that - which isn't often, and fortunately didn't happen at pre-school which went pretty well (he wasn't anti that like he is this) - I know he's really distressed. And he will be sick. And I can't leave him knowing he's feeling that anxious and throwing up with distress. And I wonder what options that leaves me.

Like the treat idea. It's just mornings to begin with, so I did wonder about a pub lunch.

I'll work on my bigging-it-up skills. Thanks.

morningpaper Thu 04-Sep-08 22:03:55

I agree, be relentlessly positive

Write I LOVE YOU FROM MUMMY on his tummy in biro and tell him that's his message for the day

give him kisses to put in his pockets

tell him how MARVELLOUS and FANTASTIC it all is

say you will buy special cookies for after school treat

etc etc etc

cargirl Thu 04-Sep-08 22:08:17

I would also tell him that he has to go, that you understand all his reasons but he still has to. I would also tell him that because he is going to go that he will get treat because you understand how much he doesn't want to.

I would also give him lots of examples of things you don't want to do but have to - go to work, cleaning, food shopping.

You need to be kind, empathetic but very frim that he is going. Unfortunately even if he is sick you need to go through with it otherwise he may chose to pull the vomit stunt every day.

Lots of talking along the lines of, "I can see your worried about it/leaving me", "I can understand that you think x would be nicer" etc etc helping him verbalise and him hearing that you understand what he thinks/whats and empathise with his point of view. Could you ask him to come up with a list of solutions/ideas to overcome what he is worried about. They may be complete fantasy but sometimes writing a list of them really helps them accept stuff IYSWIM

honkytonkwoman Thu 04-Sep-08 22:26:08

Thanks, morningpaper and cargirl. Just got some hearts out of the craft box to stuff in his pockets.

slayerette Fri 05-Sep-08 10:23:01

How did it go this morning, honkytonkwoman? Was he ok?

TheDuchessOfNork Fri 05-Sep-08 10:34:06

The advice on this thread is SO good that I have nothing to add except my best wishes.

I hope your DS discovers that school is a world of arsing about with friends opportunities. smile

EustaciaVye Fri 05-Sep-08 17:51:33

Hope it went well

onwardandupward Fri 05-Sep-08 19:01:17

and you can always continue with it being part-time beyond the point when the school are expecting it to be full time - ease him in at the rate which suits him and you (and whatever part time work commitments you pick up) - because he doesn't have to be in full time education until the term after he turns 5. If the school get difficult, just state the law at them.

That gives you lots and lots of time of being able to do the process as gently as he needs!

Very best of luck to you both.

honkytonkwoman Mon 08-Sep-08 23:11:58

Thanks for extra posts, all. Gutted to say it's not going well.

Friday, I stayed for an hour along with several other mums, and eased myself away from DS just about holding himself together - he was clinging like a limpet. This morning, I stayed for a bit, then left to pop home for a wee as I was bursting and he had to be prised off me (something I've never done) and I could still hear him screaming for me as I walked up the drive.

This is just awful. He is rarely this unhappy.

DS, who is quite a sensitive child, is off his food, has a permanent nervous tummy, is clinging to me, and said to me that he wants me to cancel school and that it is wrong ("horrible") how the teachers take the children from their mummies.


I can't do this every morning for the forseeable future, and I don't think it's what DS needs at the moment. He has seemed clingy and insecure over the summer, mirroring family difficulties, and I feel that he needs more hugs and comfort and family time than usual on account of this, not separation. Argh.

onwardandupward, I'm mindful of the law side of things: he doesn't have to be in school at all at the moment, legally, although may need to be at least part-time in the New Year so I can work. But until it is an all-round necessity, it doesn't seem worth putting DS through this level of distress.

BTW, we did the toy bribe, hearts in pockets, promise of playdates, talking up seeing friends, etc, but when it comes to the crunch, nothing seems to fill the missing-Mum void.

Oh dear. Just venting, really. No need to fix. Just wish it were easier than this. Rather surprised, in fact, by the relative lack of my-LO's-finding-it-tough-adjusting-to-Reception threads. Oh well.

Thanks for support.

tiredandgrumpy Mon 08-Sep-08 23:18:32

Has his teacher any suggestions? Presumably he isn't the first child who has reacted in this way and they must be used to it.

Is there perhaps some way of letting your son seeing you with the teacher so that he learns that it's not you or her/him, but that everyone wants him to be happy?

ds has just started reception and we were told that it actually worked best if parents didn't linger at drop off time. It seemed harsh, but did seem to make sense.

southernbelle77 Tue 09-Sep-08 06:53:57

DD has just started reception. There are a few children who are having problems adjusting (fortunately for me dd is not one of them and I'm now not even allowed in the door with her!) The teacher has had special stickers made up that say 'Mrs .......'s Superstar'! The children get them when they go into school without any trauma (although I suspect they give them to all children anyway). It seems to be working there as most of the children want mummy or daddy (or childminder or whoever!) to stay outside!

I hope things get better for you. I can only imagine how hard it is

ninja Tue 09-Sep-08 06:58:21

Have you checked with the teacher how he is while you're away. It may reassure you a little?

There were quite a few tears in reception, but from speaking to other Mums all the kids were excited about getting back to school in year 1 and he WILL find his feet.

I'm sorry this sounds harder for you than it probably is for him sad

pudding25 Tue 09-Sep-08 08:49:50

Hi, you poor thing, it must be really hard for you to see hims so upset, but as I teacher, I know that it is always far easier for the kids. You definitely need to have a chat (if you have not already done so) with the teacher, explaining your family situation so she is fully aware of the impact this has on your DS. She will have seen tons and tond of kids who have not wanted to start school and have separation issues. She should have some tricks up her sleeve to deal with it.
I bet you, within a few days, he will love school. He will probably still cry when you leave, but as soon as you are out of view, he will join in and be happy!

Please continue to be really positive about school around him. Maybe, you could arrange for some play dates with some kids in his class (choose a child who is loving school). I know it must be hard to stay positive, but he will sense any anxiety from you which will make him worse.

Please do speak to the teacher. It is much harder for her to deal with situations if she is not aware of home life issues.
Hope it goes a bit better today.

jollydo Tue 09-Sep-08 09:41:48

This must be so hard for you. I am sure this is what ds1 would be like, and we decided to keep him at home for now. We are also considering HE longer term, but will certainly consider school at a time when he is ready. He is not at the moment.
If you still would really like HE, have you investigated the possibility of HE friendly childminders/family helping out so you could work part time, or is that not feasable? Have you spoken to other HEers to find out how they manage it, I know many do work part time. (I do, but can fit in around dp's work so it does make things easier.) There is a yahoo group for HEing MNers - I will bump the link to the top of the HE threads incase you're not already on it.
Otherwise - could you negotiate part-time at school, either for now or longer term.

honkytonkwoman Thu 11-Sep-08 13:51:13

Thanks for your posts, all.

It's going better now, as we have come up with a compromise.

We have a flexible and open-minded head, who herself finds the starting age too young in the UK. She has said the first year is simply about settling and becoming happy at school (which of course it isn't really, since they've already done two phonic sounds in the first week and DS's had two reading books! shock hmm), and she's happy if DS does just a morning or two a week to begin with, and more as he is ready, instigating increased attendance himself. She is aware of our family situation, and feels this is the best approach.

DS is still distraught when I leave, but gets into the sessions while he's there, and knows he doesn't have to do it every day. We've had a lovely morning at home in our pyjamas, doing a bit of the phonics work from school and building a Lego airport. grin

Thanks for your HE ideas, jollydo. I am having a more thorough look at the viability of home ed for us. I like the idea of it a lot, and would like it always to remain a viable option should school not work out.

Thanks again.

onwardandupward Thu 11-Sep-08 16:37:53

That's so good to read Honkytonk

Might also be relevant to you:

[ =1 this]] email list (description: This list is for single parents who are home educating or considering home education for their families. Whilst there is a 'general' email list for home educators, sometimes single parents face unique problems. This list is to allow single parents to offer support, experience and information relating to their situation.)

onwardandupward Thu 11-Sep-08 16:38:25


=1 this email list

Hope the linkage works this time

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