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Ds finding reception difficult. Anyone got any tips?

(26 Posts)
luckywinner Tue 13-Oct-09 20:35:52

Ok, I am not sure I am going to make much sense in this post but dh is away and I need to sound off as I am upset!

My sweet ds started reception this year. He is 4, 5 in April. He was at the nursery attached to the school for two terms last year and the whole class have moved up to reception so he knows his classmates well. But I think he is finding the move to reception really hard. He has been quite tearful and not really talked about it much, whereas in the last term of nursery he was happy, chatted about friends at school etc.

This term he has gone to bed in tears a few times, sobbing he misses me and his sister. He says how his friend said he didn't want to be his friend anymore (standard stuff i know!) but he just seems flat, compared to last term. I suppose it seems like he is lost.

Tonight he has sobbed and sobbed. He told me how he got told off in assembly for talking. I know this has really upset him as he said he didn't ever want to get told off again. I know this is part of learning, that this is what happens at school and how it is important he learns new boundaries etc, but I think what is worrying me is how I handle it. I want to comfort him as he is only 4 and he is in a big new world. Has anyone got any tips on how I can help him settle better.

And goddammit why did no one tell me parenting can be so heartbreaking?

DesperateHousewifeToo Tue 13-Oct-09 20:52:10

It is tough when they are struggling, isn't it?

Don't forget it's nearly half term and they are getting tired which always exacerbates everything.

How about arranging for a friend to come home after school for a play every now and again? I always think it helps to firm up relationships.

When he says that x does not want to be his friend anymore then bolster him by saying 'I'm sure he does not mean that. How about asking y if you can play with you next time?'. I try to encourage dd to have a group of friends rather than just one particular one in the hope that she is not hurt so much when this sort of thing happenssmile

Also chat with the teacher if you get the chance, just to check everything is alright at school as far as she is concerned.

I'm sure he'll settle as his stamina improves.

luckywinner Tue 13-Oct-09 21:01:27

It is hideous! I just want to wail 'my baby' and, yes I know I am being overdramatic grin.

Thats a good idea about playdates. You're right about the group thing. I think that is worrying me a bit. Last year we didn't have enough time in the week for all the pals he wanted to play with. This term I think he is so overwhelmed and I really want to be able to help him with this rather than being overprotective.

Roll on half term.

onepieceoflollipop Tue 13-Oct-09 21:08:18

My dd1 was in reception last year. Firstly I would say, don't underestimate the tiredness. She really was exhausted (and she is a Jan birthday so not one of the youngest)

By mid October most of the class were in the ssame state. The teacher and TA both seemed well prepared for this, ready with extra reassurance and affection (for parents and dcs)

I had all kinds of accounts from dd about who had fallen out with who etc and lots of tears. It was better for us to keep the afternoon/evenings as calm and stress free as possible. e.g snack on immediate return from school, quiet stories, early bath/bed.
For the first term of two we avoided most activities/play dates after school (she had to go to wraparound on the days I worked but anything else we avoided)

for her first few weeks she was doing half days/early finishes etc so by October they were all "full time" and it really hit them hard.

catinthehat2 Tue 13-Oct-09 21:15:22

He will be beyond shattered at this stage and at the end of his tether.

Explain to him that it is so tiring because everything's new and he's got a lot on his plate and that things will definitely improve once he gets more stamina. Then encourage him to get to bed really early - 6.00 is not stupid in these circumsatnces. And promise you won't let anyone else know that he's off so early (as it's apparently shameful to go off that early grin).

onepieceoflollipop Tue 13-Oct-09 21:18:43

cat I nearly said that too. dd1 used to practically collapse well before 7pm, then some mornings need to be woken around 7.45am (any later and no time for b'fast!)

Even now (well established in year one) she has had it by 7.15pm.

She had school dinners in reception which meant she had eaten well at lunchtime so if she was too tired to eat much more than a sandwich type tea it wasn't a disaster.

Oh, just to add give him a big drink on return from school. dd doesn't drink much in the day and I am convinced this slight dehydration doesn't help.

aWitchForLifeNotJustHalloween Tue 13-Oct-09 21:19:28

My dc all have a little "special" keyring or something on their bag, little teddies or ducks and stuff, we go shopping together and get two - one for dc and one for me. Then when he/she misses me, they give it a cuddle, and when I miss them I do the same. The teddies are always back together every teatime because they sit in the hallway together on our bags wink
Works for us.
Hope you can sort things for him - they're so little, aren't they... can you speak to his teacher and tell them how sensitive he is just now?

catinthehat2 Tue 13-Oct-09 21:26:19

Yes, second the drinking. It's surprising how many children are ratty when they come out of school just for want of a good drink.

wideratthehips Tue 13-Oct-09 21:33:12

i would also say a snack and a drink on the way home to jolly them along. don't over do the play dates though, its really important to have a relaxed calm time at home with them able to talk to you aout their day at school.

lots of reassurance, cuddles and being really happy to see them at the end of the school day. DS2 and i practically pinned all day for ds1 when he was in reception!

ilovemydogandmrobama Tue 13-Oct-09 21:39:27

DD starts school next year, and when I was doing school visits, I asked what the policy is for younger children. DD is a July baby, and they said it was quite flexible until she is 5.

Maybe you could speak to his teacher and suggest half days or 4 days a week? I don't know if this would create more problems for you, but he sounds really tired, poor thing.

luckywinner Tue 13-Oct-09 21:47:52

Thank you you are all so lovely. For the past couple of nights he hasn't fallen asleep before 8pm despite being in bed at 7pm. I think I will get him in super early tomorrow night.

The drinking thing is v interesting point as he said to me the other day that they don't drink much in reception. And aWitch, I love the idea of having something to cuddle from you. I can't bear it, they are so little and I just want to scoop him up and run for the hills grin.

They aren't known for their flexibility at his school. But I am not against taking him out on Friday just to give him a break.

Wider, my dd does pine for him. But then so do I.

I need to toughen up.

aWitchForLifeNotJustHalloween Wed 14-Oct-09 23:35:38

lucky, how's it going? update please?>

luckywinner Thu 15-Oct-09 08:45:55

Hi aWitch, thanks for thinking of me/us. I am so surprised how upset I was on Tuesday night. I can't take my little boy being so sad. He woke up quite sparky the next day, so tiredness was definitely a major factor.

What I didn't say on my first post was he kept talking about a boy who is in year 7 and no longer there, but a brother of his classmate hit him and told him it was his fault. I don't really understand what he means, when this happened, where the teachers were, why this boy, who has left, was there. But it is bothering me. The school has organised parent/teacher meetings for update reports for next week so I will talk to his teacher then about it but I am sad at the thought of a big boy doing this to him and no one kicking arse for him!

They have a buddy system at school where they get matched with a year 6. He adores his buddy. She helped me peel him off me yesterday! And his teacher is very sweet, as is the ta, so I am sure it will be fine.

I think it is more about me, learning how to cope with the fact that he is being introduced to real life. Which I know has to happen, but I HATE it.

I am going to take him to buy a little something like you do with your dc. How are they getting on?

jaded Thu 15-Oct-09 15:41:23

luckywinner - you sound like such a lovely mummy and your reaction to your boy's upset is completely natural. Don't feel you have to 'toughen up' - he is only 4! And full time education is not compulsory until the term after their fifth birthday. My daughter (who is also 5 in April) is still doing half days on my insistence. She is finding half days tiring enough and having toileting accidents and doesn't tell the teacher when something is wrong. Also she doesn't have enough to eat at lunch. All this indicates she is not quite ready for a 32 hour week! He sounds very unhappy and at this stage that shouldn't be happening. He is at the start of his school life and it needs to be a positive experience for him. Tell the teacher your concerns at the update meeting and do what's best for your son. It is great your school has a buddy system in place, that is a great way to make children feel more secure. Good luck

luckywinner Thu 15-Oct-09 21:33:54

Aww, thanks jaded, that is a lovely thing to say. I completely agree with you that yes, he is only 4. But the school doesn't seem to take this into account. We live in walking distance to the school and he has just learnt how to ride his bike without stabilisers so has been cycling in every day. Today the head told him (not me or dh) that he must not chain his bike to the railings outside school hmm. He is 4 ffs. I am angry that she felt it important to make the point to him, especially when he is so sensitive at the mo. Maybe I am overreacting but I am sure it wouldn't take 5 mins to mention it to me or dh.

They would absolutely not agree to half days. They are strict. This is the school attached to our church, which has an outstanding ofsted but I just don't feel like the head 'gets' the early years. I can't take him out tomorrow as I have to work, but he's having a sickie on Monday. This is the day he is usually the most tired.

If I had more choice re schools, he would be no way be in full days, but our other local school is dreadful and there is no way we can afford private right now.

It is so difficult isn't it? Glad you can stick with your half days for now.

Washersaurus Thu 15-Oct-09 21:40:48

I'd just tell them you are going to do the half-days for a while - you are not legally obliged to send him to school full-time yet anyway.

DS1's teacher has actually just suggested we consider half days because he so exhausted at the moment.

It is heart breaking to see them so devoid of energy - DS1 is too tired to even speak to me when he finishes school and just wants a cuddle.

jaded Fri 16-Oct-09 09:29:24

Interesting that you say your son is at a church school - I find the religious schools very pushy and quite ruthless (perhaps that's why they get high SATS results). I think you are right to give him a Mon off now and then: it won't harm him and he'll be able to have a rest. I would see how it goes from week to week. Are there any other schools you could put him on the waiting list for? It doesn't sound like you agree with the ethos of the school. I don't think the head should have told him not to chain up his bike as he's only a wee thing. It really surprises me how uncaring these primary schools can be. The daughter my school is at is allowing her to go part time but trying to persuade me that she is ready for full days. It's as if she thinks she knows my daughter better than I do! I would try and write a letter to the head about doing half days if the situation doesn't improve after a while. Are there any other parents who feel the same? MAybe you could get together and approach the head...

ommmward Fri 16-Oct-09 18:40:58

Let me get this right...

Your lo isn't settling brilliantly in reception.

You miss him
He misses you
the teachers are somewhat unpleasant to him and you

In your shoes I'd ask him at half term if he wants to go to school for the rest of term. If the answer is no, hightail it out of there and think about it again after Christmas or next Autumn. There is no legal requirement on your child to be educated at school or otherwise for another 6 months

But I am one of your rabid home educating types grin

And I am definitely of the breed who like their children to take independence at their own pace. If that means keeping them out of distressing situations where they are being told off for some infringement of school rules in front of a room of children, then that means keeping them out of such situations until they feel ready to risk being in them. *brandishes apron strings*

aWitchForLifeNotJustHalloween Fri 16-Oct-09 20:54:57

omm grin

do what you think works, lucky. you know your ds best, not the school. It's good to hear they've got a good (and working) buddy system, nice teacher and TA. FWIW I don't think you have to 'toughen up' as you say, I think the spotlight's on the school to try much harder to get it right for the little ones, for your ds now and all the poor little buggers who will be in just the same place next year. Much better for the school to learn a lesson imho, because it sounds like they do need to get their practice much better. sorry I've got my judgy pants on now - I haven't hung up my teacher hat for the weekend yet grin

My ds2 is a touchy little chap atm. He's also coming home with tales of woe, and how blabla hit him and how miss chalky made him do all his writing again yesterday - but luckily I have a couple of friends who are teachers in the school and the child who hit him did get to spend his lunchtime in the corner of the headteachers office and a clear message that you don't hit other children - obv, and I asked the teachers to explain to ds2 in the same way that I'd done, that sometimes we do a "practice" version of our work before writing it out neatly for going on the wall for example... I think they sometimes completely lose sight of a bright but worried little boy's needs. I think there may be far more than just the two of us with little dses in the same place smile Hugs to you both, and enjoy your long wink weekend!

luckywinner Sat 17-Oct-09 18:58:54

Omm, in my heart I completely agree with you, its just if I take him out, my options are seriously limited and I just don't think I could ever home educate, we'd drive each other nuts grin. Its not the teachers. His teacher and assistant are absolutely lovely and perfect for reception - kind, calm, sweet etc. But the headmistress can be a bit dictatorial.

Dh told her very calmly on Friday that she should tell him where ds should chain up his bike, and that he did not want her speaking to his son about such matters grin. Yeah dh! We have been to a birthday party this afternoon with the whole class and he was so happy to be with his friends and I can see he is well liked. I feel lots better. I think tiredness and nearing half term is such a huge factor like you all suggest.

aWitch I agree with you about them getting it right for the little ones. I am not sure they have got it quite right, apart from the teacher they have given to reception. Once they are with her its all good.

Your ds sounds so sweet. It is such a lot for them isn't it. I'm glad you have spies in high places smile. I am thinking of going undercover and volunteering in class to do a spot of story reading.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend and thanks for thinking of me and your kind words.

alysonpeaches Sat 17-Oct-09 22:09:29

Is DH away often? Could this have an impact on things? I know from personal experience that school wasnt going down well with DS when I was away in hospital. Add this together with the fact that the first term in school is really had and really tiring, and it could be that both these things are causing your child stress, which he cant articulate, he just knows something isnt right, and you can see why getting told off in assembly would seem like the end of the world.

Talk to the teacher. See what she suggests.

alysonpeaches Sat 17-Oct-09 22:13:50

P.S. on a practical level, do you go in with him in a morning and settle him at an activity? or doesnt your school allow this. Is he allowed a comforter which reminds him of you/home? small cuddly toy, something of yours?

luckywinner Sun 18-Oct-09 21:20:57

Nope, we're not allowed in to settle him. His buddy takes him to his classroom. I just sewed into his coat my little lego darth vader key ring which he said reminded me of him grin. I think he has secretly been after it for a while!

Alyson, it is v interesting what you said about my dh. He has been away a couple of times but also has been working a lot out of hours so we have spent hardly any time with him as work has been going on over weekends. This has been going on since beg of sept. We are all sick of it. Perhaps ds is missing him more than I thought. He is much more of a mummy's boy so I sometimes discount dh being so significant. Also because dh works 8am-8-9pm so he is not really in our day so to speak.

onepieceoflollipop Sun 18-Oct-09 21:26:39

lucky just wanted to check in again on you. I remember very clearly this time last year when dd1 was in reception. This last week or two before half term were absolutely the hardest.

We were fortunate in that all of us inc dh were able to have a few days away at half term and it really helped. Just being able to put her in her "normal" clothes i.e non uniform and relax the early bed and early rising routine etc.

Hope things are significantly better after the break. (assuming you are in the UK and have half term?)

I loved the idea earlier on the thread about the little matching teddies, am going to do the same for dd1.

luckywinner Tue 20-Oct-09 17:34:21

Hi onepiece, thanks for thinking of me. This has been a hard couple of weeks. I skived him off today and took him and dd to the soft play centre. We have his friend over now. He is absolutely mad!

Can't wait for half term. Will be having a couple of pyjama days! Hope you have a lovely time too.

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