Back to pre-school woes..


*Excuse my ramblings, this has turned into an epic post with a lot more words than it probably needs but I just need a release, after a rubbish, rubbish week I need to get it off my chest*

The trouble with school holidays, whilst they’re enjoyable in the moment, is that you have to face the night before going back to school. The night before going back to pre-school in our house has been horrendous. We’ve had two half terms since Olly has started pre-school and every time we have to get back into the pre-school routine there’s trouble.

Olly goes to pre-school five mornings a week and will be going to full time in September when he’ll be starting in Reception. It didn’t start well with him being upset most mornings for a couple of weeks. He began to settle in and we loved walking him to school and leaving him in the playground waving us off as he went into school with his friends. Then October half term came around and he loved having time off with his Mummy and Daddy at home.

The Sunday night before the Monday going back to school was met with tears, fears and tantrums with a stroppy three year old refusing to go to bed and using pretty good delay tactics to avoid going to sleep. Cue an overtired child come Monday morning who cried all the way to school and in the playground.

In the latter part of the term, Olly’s teachers would hold his hand and take him into school for us from the playground. It was awful leaving him in floods of tears. I hated it. I hardened to it as the weeks passed but those first few weeks really were heart breaking. His teachers reassured me that he settles quickly once in school and the mornings tears are forgotten. I’ve seen video evidence of him playing happily and I’m happy that he’s not upset in school once he’s there.

Dreading the nativity

In December, the tears became an every day occurrence as we battled to get Olly into school with the fear of the school nativity. He had been chosen to play the part of an angel and he hated the idea. He refused to take part and said he didn’t want to wear the wings. He told me he was scared of the stage and he really didn’t want to do it. I spoke to his Teachers and they assured me that he was fine in school during rehearsals, albeit a little upset and clingy and even did the actions along with his friends.

Every morning before school he was terrified of it being ‘nativity day’ and we spent ages trying to reassure him that it wasn’t that bad and he was safe but alas it didn’t really help. There were two performances and we got tickets to go and support him and see the show. He didn’t want us there and unfortunately for my husband and my Father in law, Olly refused to take part and sat at the front sobbing. The next day, my Mother in law and I went to see the performance and I was so nervous. Nervous that he wasn’t going to take part again and that he would spend the whole hour in tears. He refused to stand on the stage but sat to the side of it and did join in some of the songs and did some actions. His little face beamed when it was over and we were so relieved that this would hopefully be the end of his tears. How wrong we were!

The last week of pre-school before Christmas was met with tears from Olly again although he would happily get dressed and eat his breakfast before walking the few minutes to school and then bursting into tears as the door to school opened.

And it starts over again!

We had a lovely Christmas break but tears began again on the night before pre-school with refusals to go to sleep and ending up sleeping in our bed at 11pm resulting in me having to spend the night in Olly’s bed. We’ve asked him what he’s scared of and he just says he’s scared and he doesn’t like his school. He will then go on to say he doesn’t like his friends and he doesn’t want to see his Teachers. All of which he says when he’s upset. When he’s not upset, his response is ‘school is fine’ and he had a good day when asked at lunchtime.

The first day of term was eventful; tears, sickness and tantrums. Olly refused to get dressed; we had to dress him. He refused to put his coat on; we had to put his coat on for him. We got to the front door running late and my mobile rings. It was school. The school was closed because there was no heating. No word of a lie, I burst into tears. What a completely crap morning, and then when I started my car to go to work, I had no petrol!

It is so upsetting. This week, he has made himself sick every morning before school. He won’t eat his breakfast and he refuses to cooperate when putting on his school uniform. He uses every delaying tactic going and it’s so hard to see him like this. We have to literally carry him into school and the teachers peel him off us at the door. Ridiculously, when we pick him up just three hours later, he’s all smiles, has settled down within ten minutes and has had a great time playing with his friends and enjoying school. It’s almost as if he forgets what school is like and gets himself all worked up again. It’s exhausting. We’ve tried a couple of techniques to encourage him to co-operate in the morning (hands up – they’re complete bribes) but they don’t seem to work either. When he’s in the moment of being irrational you can’t reason with him at all.

I won’t lie, I’m so glad it’s the weekend and we don’t have to worry about the trauma of going to pre-school for a day or two. I know we’ll very probably have tears on Sunday night but for now, I need to forget it about it. I’m so stressed about it all. I just want to see my smiley, cheeky little boy. I don’t recognise the tearful, upset and angry little boy. This parenting business is tough. I wonder if this is why most parents seem to drink wine?

If you got to the end of this post, thank you. I don’t think I’m asking for words of encouragement or any words of support, I just need to get it off my chest without thinking I’m losing the plot. In actual fact, I’m completely winging it!

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  • Reply Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One 07/01/2017 at 7:16 pm

    This all sounds so very familiar. Monkey was almost exactly the same and I like you dreaded every frigging school holiday because I knew what it would mean over and over again.
    I can’t tell you it will get better next week or next month. It may and I hope it does but for us it was only in Year One that things really improved. Before that I had to have Monkey taken off me every day. it’s draining. And heart breaking to have a child who struggles so much. But like your son, mine was totally fine within 5 minutes of me going. The knowledge of that fact was the only thing that stopped me becoming a total wreck.

    Now Monkey walks into class having given me a kiss and a hug without even thinking about it. The first time that happened I turned around and burst into tears. It was such a relief to know he finally felt happy enough to do it.

    It will get easier for you both and I really do feel for you. Your FB updates wind the clock back for me so many times. Hang in there xxx

    • Reply Emma 09/01/2017 at 10:38 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment Mary. It’s reassuring to know that someone else has had the same kind of experience. It’s so hard every morning we wait for the tears and it’s so draining. Glad to hear Monkey is so happy now, so good to hear xx

  • Reply Deb Foster 07/01/2017 at 10:43 pm

    I feel your pain, my son (now 22!) cried every day when he first started nursery, I used to sob all the way home and worry all morning that he was so distraught. They had a two way mirror and it was only when they showed me that he stopped crying as soon as I left that I realised he was absolutely fine. It will get better, I can’t say when, I don’t remember when he became ok with going every day. Its a shock to them and us as parents, you are not alone and don’t beat yourself up, just carry on winging it and I promise it will be ok.

    • Reply Emma 09/01/2017 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks for your message Deb, it’s so tough. Like Josh, Olly’s absolutely fine when he’s there but it’s just the thought of going in and the actual action of it which is tough. Really hope he settles soon xx

  • Reply Midge 08/01/2017 at 6:35 am

    Oh hun, so hard for you. I often say I should have a coffee machine & tissue dispenser for the parents in the lobby! Millie was always the same for the first year of nursery but she was only 6months old whne she went to nursery! My other didn’t care at all! Let me know if I can help, without knowing what thepreschool is doing (and they should be putting something in place & telling you!) only thing I can suggest is maybe a toy from Preschool coming home to have adventures that he can then take back in to tell his teachers about. That and him taking something of his for comfort – or maybe taking a photo of you guys in so he can see it. Also a visual time table and teaching them to tell the time often works. Although maybe it just isn’t the preschool for him – he is nearly done now though! Big hugs my lovely xxx

    • Reply Emma 09/01/2017 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks Midge x

  • Reply Plutonium Sox 08/01/2017 at 10:13 am

    Oh this is such a nightmare for you all, I’m really sorry he’s struggling with it. I’m afraid I have no sage advice. Lia used to cry a bit when we dropped her off at nursery but settled down and started to go in without even looking back. Last week she announced she was too old to cry about going to nursery and was looking forward to going in on Friday. So off we went on Friday and I’d got the term dates wrong and nursery wasn’t on. Then she cried about not being able to go. Sigh.

    • Reply Emma 09/01/2017 at 9:57 pm

      Aww bless her, it’s so hard isn’t it? He’s fine when he’s there so I don’t need to worry about that it’s just getting over the thought of going I think! x

  • Reply Donna 08/01/2017 at 11:01 pm

    Oh Em. I have no advice – Troy has loved nursery since the start but Athena cried every morning for weeks and it was bad after each school holidays but got better at some point. I hope Olly starts loving school at some point – the sooner, the better! x

    • Reply Emma 09/01/2017 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks Donna, so do I x

  • Reply Chris 10/01/2017 at 8:02 am

    Hi there,
    I have a 3 year old who is in full time school as we live in Madrid. It is a full day as I drop him off at 8.30am and pick him up at 5pm. It really is heart-breaking leaving him at the door of the school – even if he is in high spirits. At first it was hard and it took weeks to settle in – I can still recall vividly his first day of full time school back in September.
    I wrote about it here:
    But after the Christmas break he has been fine (fingers crossed that this continues). Only one minor complaint while dressing hi on his first day back yesterday and a little more today while eating his breakfast. Once we start getting dressed though an go for the car he is more or less happy. The only thing I can say is keep chatting to your boy and changing the subject so that he doesn’t have time to dwell on his predicament. As soon as he starts moaning or about to cry quickly change the subject. Not always easy I know but talking “ten to the dozen” does work with my Daniel.

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