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Tactics please! - DD reluctant to go to school (reception)

(32 Posts)
SparklyPrincess Wed 16-Sep-09 17:27:22

Hi, we're having some trouble with DD settling into school. It's only been a few days, I know, but I'm looking for some advice to ways for me to handle this to make the process as smooth as I can for her.

Basically there's a lot of moaning and whinging and 'I don't want to go'. She's mostly negative when telling me about her day (I don't push her for details) but there are some sparks of enthusiasm.

The drop off goes with lots of screaming, and she woke in the night upset about it last night. When I pick her up she's been fine but just keeps on about not liking stuff.

However, once she's at school she's fine within minutes, doesn't show nerves (and it's obvious if she is!) and joins in with everything quite happily.

I'm feeling like a bit of a broken record with the sprightly 'School's fun!' monologue and she only responds with 'but I don't like it ...'

So, what can I do or say to persuade her that it's ok. It's kind of frustrating that her teachers get the cheerful side of her and I get Moaning Minnie!

Thanks for any help!

DLI Wed 16-Sep-09 18:55:49

my ds is going through the same, new class and all that - he has just left reception and into class 1. it doesn't help that there are some others in the class that cry as well. we have been through it before and all we do now is say "well you have to" and leave it at that. we don't go into discussion about it and avoid the subject as much as possible. When we get to the school we don't acknowledge that there is a problem and the teacher takes him from us straight away (she is usually at the classroom door). we say goodbye, see you tonight and leave. we don't hang around. In a few days he will be fine - once he has settled in. It worked before so we have stuck to it. I know it sounds a bit harsh but once he is in the class and we are gone he is fine. my ds has slight special needs and doesnt like change so it looks like we will have the same for every new class.

lljkk Wed 16-Sep-09 19:00:03

I suspect that she just misses you. It's a big step for her. Just keep telling her that she'll learn fun new things, make lots of friends. Tell her that the school will always get you to come collect her if she really needs you (like if she's ill). If you can, make a big fuss of her most days after school so that she is reassured of her importance in your life.

Acanthus Wed 16-Sep-09 19:01:37

Well How To Talk would say you shouldn't deny her feelings - so when she says "I don't like it" you should say "Oh is there something you don't like, what is it?" and then she can tell you it's the chair or something else random, as they do, and you can say "Oh I see" and then she'll stop worrying about it and feel heard.

Just drop her off, kiss her goodbye, say 'see you later' then go. My ds has started ft reception this week and goes in fine, but last night announced he is only going to go till 1 o'clock - he knows I only work half days - and he will get his teacher to ring me when he's ready to go home.

It's a big transition for them from nursery to school but the teachers have been there, done it, got all the t-shirts hanging in the closet - they know how to handle children who 'appear' to be unsettled.

I'm also a cm and have actually had a child in the past wind up parent so much on drop off with tears, tantrums, amateur dramatics that the parent was in tears when I finally persuaded them to 'just go'. Parent gets to end of the drie, child wipes away crocodile tears, smiles sweetly and asks 'can I have a drink now please'.......... grin

Children know how to wind their parents up from a very early age - mine certainly does hmm.

Good luck, am sure she will be fine/ smile

SparklyPrincess Wed 16-Sep-09 19:50:54

Thanks ladies! I think the really frustrating thing is that I know she is fine two minutes after I go! Had to laugh at the 'I don't like the chair' as that's EXACTLY what she's like!

I really think she is honestly upset. I see her trying to hold back tears and then not be able to manage, and I suppose it is really about missing me rather than the actual going to school.

I just hope it doesn't go on too long, or I'll be an emotional wreck!

nappyzoneisback Wed 16-Sep-09 19:54:27

i did the listening and asking what was up with my dd when we went through this and she bought me to tears as i left her a few times - in the end it was like more attention she got and from teacher or asst who took her from me the more she did it to get special treatment so we stopped that - on the way i used to talk non stop so she couldnt get in with a moan and turn up just on the button of bell time so no waiting outside either. Then quick kiss and turn away to walk of but obv make sure she went in.

SparklyPrincess Thu 17-Sep-09 13:01:48

We had another round of tears overnight. She's absolutely exhausted - hasn't slept properly for two nights, been up since 3 (and she's normally asleep for 12 full hours!).

Handed her over screaming again this morning. A friend was in there and said she stopped screaming within minutes. Rang about half an hour later and they said she was ok, was playing but did seem a little iffy.

The school have recommended that I hand her over at the door and don't go in to the classroom, but part of me just thinks that's really cruel and is making it worse. I don't know. I just want to be able to say goodbye properly to her.

She actually said this morning that she doesn't like when Mummy leaves her (along with the million-and-one other things she doesn't like!)

hormonalmum Thu 17-Sep-09 13:21:36

You have my sympathy Sparkly, I know what you are going through.

My dd is the same, a combination of tiredness, not wanting to go and generally winding me up with lots of tears.

If the school have recommnended handing her over at the door - I would go with that - give her a kiss outside and a big cuddle, say "have a lovely day and see you later". The longer you are there, the more she is going to play up.

What about a treat to look forward to on Fridays? Special tea, trip to the park etc.

Acanthus Thu 17-Sep-09 19:15:12

Deffo hand over at the door - anything else just prolongs it. It sounds as though she is finding the separation from you hard, but is fine once you've gone, so don't prolong the separation.

Why do you want to "say goodbye properly"? You'll see her again soon enough!

SparklyPrincess Thu 17-Sep-09 22:06:10

I want to say goodbye to her so that she doesn't feel like I'm just dumping her there because I don't want her!

We've promised her a trip swimming on Saturday, hormonalmum, which she's really looking forward to. I've suggested I do her a Being Brave chart for next week which she seems amenable to so I'll try that as well. We always go to the playground on the way home, even if just for five minutes - I can't avoid passing it so it would be cruel not to really. Hopefully she and your dd will get into the swing of things soon (before I reach the end of my slightly frayed tether!)

Teachers are being really supportive of her and me though so that's good. They've got their senco hunting for advice for me on helping her feel better.

jamsandwich Thu 17-Sep-09 22:39:05

I read about a book called a Pocketful of Kisses by Angela McAllister on here somewhere. All about a little mole who's feeling shaky about his first days at school...check it out on Amazon. We didn't need it much in the end as dd has really taken to it, but it's a sweet book and might help a bit.

smee Fri 18-Sep-09 15:15:00

I think listening to what she's feeling is a good thing. If it helps at all we found all of this useful!
a) tell her everyone she knows went to school. My son found this quite a revelation..!
b) Tell her you know it's hard to get used to, but you're very proud of her for doing so well and it will get easier.
c) ask her what she'd like to do after school, so don't dwell on it.
d) give her something to take in - do they allow bears or such like(?), or if not a small thing in her pocket. We had a magic stone that DS could touch when he missed me.
e) fwiw I think you should keep taking her in if that's what everyone else does. Help her settle, then go quickly. Sort with the teacher or TA for them to be there when you do.
Finally if you can, give her a day off from time to time. She's only little after all. I used to tell DS he had a temperature, so couldn't think school was optional. He was so tired he believed me when I said he was ill, but next day found school far, far easier as he'd regained his energy. Five days is too much for them imo until they gain some stamina. GOOD LUCK!!

MrsSpillane Fri 18-Sep-09 18:59:47

My DS has just completed his first full week on school and is going through exactly the same thing. He becomes very anxious once it's time to go into the classroom and then cries out 'Please dont leave me' after quickly settling him and kissing him goodbye. It really is heartbreaking.

The plan was for him to go catch the school bus from Monday but I think this is one step too far at the moment and need him to be going into school happily. I am so pleased it's Saturday tomorrow so that we both get a day off.

Does anyone else child complain about the noise? DS is a quiet child and seems to find lunchtime especially unsettling due to the noise levels, I'm sure he will get used to it!

katiestar Fri 18-Sep-09 19:01:18

I would drop the 'school's fun ' business because she knows whether it is or not !
I always ask what was the best thing today at school and the worst thing.Which is very telling and kind of gives you a scale of how happy/unhappy she has been.

SparklyPrincess Fri 18-Sep-09 20:06:30

Thanks for the advice ladies

Great ideas Smee - I actually let her have a day off today. She has been soo tired. When she woke up at some awful time this morning I just said not to worry and it's not a school day today. Didn't want her to think she can pick and choose. I've tried to make sure she knows that tomorrow isn't a school day as well so that hopefully she'll not be worrying herself awake.

Katiestar - the strange thing is that when she's there she enjoys herself. She was telling me some complicated tale about a marble run setup with lots of giggling and smiling. I really think it's the handover that frightens her. I know what her answers to best/worst thing would be - nothing/everything... but if I ask something specific then she sometimes gets a bit more enthusiastic.

I'm going to try to let it drop over the weekend, but they're supposed to take something in related to the letter 's' next week so I might see if I can find something as she quite likes the idea of being like Lola (Charlie and ...) and taking something in to show the teacher.

Ugh, this is awful. I feel like a wrung out dishcloth. MrsSpillane - I hope your son also settles soon and you have my sympathy!

debs227 Sat 19-Sep-09 21:57:24

Hi, i know exactly how you feel and have been going through the same thing this week myself with DD.

Everyone she meets keeps telling her that they all wento to school aswell, which is helping.

DD has a big problem with the noise and i know she finds it hard. She likes to have her own space and quiet times. I think she is learning to live with this and since Thurs we have had better mornings.

We have also done a chart so she knows which days she is at school and when it is the weekend. She gets a sticker after she has done a whole day.

Highlander Sun 20-Sep-09 08:30:13

listen to her. It's clearly overwhelming. Cut her down to half days until Christmas until she settles

SparklyPrincess Sun 20-Sep-09 08:56:21

Debs - I've suggested a chart, she seemed to like the idea so I'm going to start that tomorrow.

I've been thinking about half-days. She is getting SO tired. I'm going to have a chat with her teacher on monday afternoon about it. Even if just til half-term.

smee Sun 20-Sep-09 20:11:26

Or go four days a week - or even three. Legally they don't have to go to school until the term after their fifth birthday. Good luck with the teacher.

MrsSpillane Sun 20-Sep-09 22:38:21

Hope we all have a better week this week and DC's are more settled. It's been so lovely this weekend not to have fought with DS to go to school.

I think I will try the reward chart too!

Good luck all x

SparklyPrincess Mon 21-Sep-09 07:48:13

Good luck to you too Mrs Spillane!

DD is happily eating her breakfast at the moment. I don't think she's realised its a school day yet.

I'll see what the teacher says this afternoon, but yes - if she can't cope with a full week, she won't be going for a full week!

roundabout1 Mon 21-Sep-09 11:49:38

Hope you've all had a better morning this mroning with your lo's & enjoyed spendingthe wkend with them - I know I have with my dd!

MrsSpillane - My dd hates the noise, she gets stressed at the playground before they go in as it's noisy & cries at playtimes. Lunchtimes she's not eaten at all because she says it's so noisy. My dd is quite sensitive & has always hated noisy things even noisy toys. She's young too, was 4 end last month. I feel a bit silly for not thinking about the noise, may of helped if I'd been talking about the noie when we spent all the time talking about school over the school hols.

MrsSpillane Mon 21-Sep-09 20:49:56

Much better day today, didnt cry this morning but I think it helped that we were running late and therefore walked straight into the classroom rather than queuing up with the other children. I promptly kissed him, told him I loved him and then handed him over to his class teacher.

He did say he had a cry whilst eating his lunch as it was too noisy and he missed me.

Hope you all had a good day.

SparklyPrincess Tue 22-Sep-09 07:59:33

Oh, that's good to hear MrsSpillane. Maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel after all.

We had an hour of sobbing once dd realised it was a school day. She was really grumpy yesterday afternoon as well. Woke in the night crying and is miserable this morning.

I really don't think I can do this.

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