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AS and preschool

Single41 January 13, 2020 22:58

Looking for some advice please. My 3 year old AS is in the process of starting preschool. Lived with us for 9 months and is desperate to learn. I have gone through alot of the recommendation processes before starting, we attended a play group for a term so he met and got to know the teachers, spent time at preschool, including leaving him for a small amount of time. Due to illness over Christmas I was allowed to stay on his first day, then on the second day dropped him off, he was very emotional, crying and they had to take him off me as he didn't want me to leave. Settled down after 5 minutes but kept asking for me so school asked me to pick him up after an hour and a half so not to upset him further. Since then he keeps saying he doesn't like it, even though he says he had fun. Since then on numerous occasions he says he doesn't want me to leave him, had 2 nights of broken sleeps waking asking me not to leave him and gets upset with the thought of me leaving. Today I took him to school and he broke down before we even got to the door, he was inconsolable so it was agreed I should stay for a short while then take him home. Whilst there he was very clingy but seemed to enjoy everything he done. Tonight whenever we spoke about school tomorrow he gets upset, can anyone help please?

Edited 17/02/2021
CatLady1 January 13, 2020 23:57

9 months in is still very early days and it sounds like he’s still feeling very scared of losing you. Even though he wants to learn and do the fun things at school, his fears of losing you will override that. Have you tried things like giving him a special thing of yours to have at school? A key ring with your photo to attach to his bag maybe, or a little hanky in his pocket with your scent on. Can you agree with the school to stay there with him for several days and do a very slow build up to leaving him? But it could just be that it’s a bit too soon for your little lad to be at school while he’s still dealing with loss and attachment. I hope things work out for you both soon x

Edited 17/02/2021
Safia January 14, 2020 11:19

My daughter arrived in January aged 2yrs 3 mths and started playgroup in October - so about the same timescale. The playgroup staff were very understanding and I was allowed to stay as much as I needed for her to settle. Sometimes it was a short time and sometimes most of the session. I worked for many years in nursery schools and classes and this was general practice. The key worker would generally keep an eye on things and how it was progressing and suggest mum leaving for a bit if she felt the child was ready. Sometimes this just meant mum having a cup of coffee in the staffroom. To begin with we suggested the mum interact with the child and explore the activities together gradually taking more of a back seat so they eventually might be reading in the waiting area or doing something to help staff or another child. This was where it was taking a long time for a child to settle. Gradually building it up slowly is by far the best way at this age and very rarely did we take a child off their parent and say they should leave without the child being happy to let them go - this would be if we felt the parent was prolonging the situation for their own needs rather than the child's. These were generally children with much more straight forward life experiences than ours have had too so it is not surprising that your child should be struggling. Another suggestion would be to take a step back and start again when you feel your child might be more confident but I can fully understand your desire that he should get the most out of the experience as early education is so beneficial. Another aspect might be the playgroup's lack of confidence and that might affect their unwillingness to have parents there longer than they felt was necessary. Its definitely worth persisting - either now or after a short break (next term?) but do take it slowly. By the way this remained a pattern for my daughter throughout the first years of school - until she went to special provision and had to go on school transport. In year two a member of staff used to come from another class to take her from me in in the morning (this was her idea - I later learned that she was an adoptive parent herself) This is also something you could try - a particular person who builds a strong relationship with the child and greets them enthusiastically with a suggestion of what they might like to do when they arrive in the morning. I also think it is healthier to react this way than the way my son did who could just be left anywhere or with anyone. (though of course I didn't do that but this reflects his early experience of foster care )

Edited 17/02/2021
Mama Bear January 14, 2020 11:27


I remember the same challenge with my LO, he came to us when he was 4 and went back to preschool for afternoons only after less than 2 months. He liked it once he was there but hated leaving me, I’d have to prise his fingers from around my neck and there’d be tears. I felt awful.

We talked lots about how mummy always comes back. I would give him a ‘mummy penny’ to keep in his pocket so he had part of me and love heart post-its in his lunch. I also reminded about my necklace (has his name on) which meant he’s always with me. Generally we really worked on permanence and whilst there was no silver bullet he improved loads over the course of the term and would eventually run off without a backward glance. I also made sure preschool were giving him the support he needed and his key worker knew how to support him.

Good luck x

Edited 17/02/2021


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