I am looking for suggestions on how to ease the transition from home to school for my son. He won't be 5 until early November. He has been in early intervention services for speech/OT this year. He has mild sensory issues (which he rapidly seems to be growing out of). His screening does not indicate SPD, the evaluations seem to demonstrate a unique temperament as opposed to any disability. I had every intention of sending him to nursery school this year, but due to an oversight in the program regulations he is suddenly not eligible for services, mainly because he is school age. He has some, what I can only describe as, really negative beliefs about school and teachers. He never wants to leave my side. He is afraid of children his age (though he enjoys socializing with older children). That coupled with the preference to "say his words wrong". DH and I agree that getting him into do play therapy (within the classroom) sooner than later seems like the right thing for him. We both dread the transition. The administrator for special ed says that the district will be willing to find the right accommodations. Maybe a shortened school day or whatever. The nursery school is not flexible at all, no speech/social-emotional therapy can take place there, either. So kinder garden really is the best use of his time. He does not want to go. He wants mom. What can do to help? Any tips on what to avoid?
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Unexpectedly starting kindergarden in two weeks!post #1 of 338/17/12 at 7:38amThread StarterSponsored Linkspost #2 of 338/17/12 at 8:25am
Go to the library and check out every picture book you can find on starting kindergarten. Read them several times.
Can you get contact info for any kids that will be in his class? See if you can arrange playdates in a comfortable environment.
Contact the teacher and explain the situation. See if you can go in for a quiet meet-the-teacher before the start.
Start practicing the morning routine. Get up at the right time, get dressed, carry the backpack to school.
Good luck! It will work out, and it's fantastic to hear that the school willing to accommodate his needs.post #3 of 338/21/12 at 5:02amThread Starterpost #4 of 338/21/12 at 8:22amQuote:
When my kids were in elementary school, there was a "Buddy" program matching older children and younger children. It was essentially a reading program. Once a week or so, the classes of older and younger students were brought together, paired off and then the older student worked on reading skills by reading a story to the their younger buddy. It fostered a nice sense of community because the friendliness and helpfulness carried over to the playground and hallways and cafeteria outside of classtime.
Perhaps you can speak to the principal and find a couple of responsible, helpful older students to take turns acting as his buddy for the first few weeks of school. They could spend time with him in the class and on the playground too, as needed, until he makes a few connections with his classmates. If he could meet them before school starts that would be helpful.
Good luck!post #5 of 338/22/12 at 1:24pmI brought both of my kids to the campus several times before school started. After hours, we played on the playground, peeked in the windows, etc. On the first day of class, the place seemed a little more familiar. Good luck!post #6 of 338/22/12 at 2:24pmQuote:
We start earlier bedtimes about two weeks before school starts. We get dinner, baths, and start our consistent bedtime routine a few weeks before school starts.
We get up at the time we will get up for school and be ready for the day by the time we would need to be out the door.
Basically I try to make all the changes to our routine that school will entail before the first morning of school.
If our kids walk to school we walk it a few times. If they will be taking the bus we figure out where and when it stops and make sure that our kid knows the way home, even if I plan to walk them to and from the bus every day.
I figure out where they line up to go into school and show that place to the kids at the school. If I'll be picking them up at the school I show them where they will meet me after school.
Can you do lunch with him at school for the first week or so?post #7 of 339/2/12 at 4:28pmThread Starter
So we met with the kindergarden teacher, things went well. We are all going to orientation on Thursday, I think he will be thrilled, untill Friday when I won't be going. Have any of you tried having someone else take them to school?post #8 of 339/2/12 at 7:09pm
I had no idea what I was in for the first day DD2 went to K, we didn't do K with DD1. OMG. Almost every kid had both parents to send them off the first day, there was pictures, and more more pictures, more people. Even a grandma or two! DD2 who was entirely fine, actually started to freak out by the sheer volume of people, and moms crying because it was the first day. She turned emotional and clingy. It was short lived though.
I never thought that when DD1 went to school (she started in 1st grade) that it was going to go well, but she did amazingly the first day. We talked a lot about when I would be coming to get her and what we were going to do after the first day of school. Something for her to look forward to. Looking the routine/schedule seemed to help. Is dad an option to take the first day? Would your son handle drop off better with him you think?post #9 of 339/3/12 at 4:48ampost #10 of 339/3/12 at 4:59amThread Starter
I have an eighteen year old daughter. Maybe it would be less traumatic if she brings him? I should call and see if someone can ,meet us at the door to bring him to class. I think as soon as either DH or I step out of the car we will have a serious problem. What about the bus?post #11 of 339/3/12 at 6:10am
His big sister might be a good, trusted person to take him. A good idea! I'd keep it simple and matter of fact. Good luck!
Peony, yes, at our local public school, both parents and often grandparents do the first day drop off even up through 5th grade! It makes for a very chaotic and crowded environment that's very stressful for my oldest.post #12 of 339/3/12 at 7:39amQuote:Originally Posted by tri31
I have an eighteen year old daughter. Maybe it would be less traumatic if she brings him? I should call and see if someone can ,meet us at the door to bring him to class. I think as soon as either DH or I step out of the car we will have a serious problem. What about the bus?
What do you know about the school's first day routine?
My kids attended an elementary school with a pretty crazy first morning. The class lists were posted on the school doors in late August the weekend before school started. Often the kids arrived without knowing who their teacher was or where their classroom was. There would be a lot of jockeying to read the lists and then find your teacher. On the first morning, the teachers stood in the yard and waited for their students to assemble around them. Some teachers had large signs identifying them and their class/grade. Others didn't bother and if you didn't know who the teacher was, finding him/her was a nightmare in the mob of parents, teachers and students milling about in the yard. There were about 800 or 900 students at this school, so you can imagine the chaos. My recollection is that the kindergarten children had a separate entrance on the opposite side of the school and their classrooms were in a separate hallway, so they avoided most of this mayhem. It was just 2 classes of children on that side of the school and they were greeted nicely and sorted pretty quickly and taken to the classrooms. If, however, they had been in the general uproar with the older students, I'd definitely want to be prepared for that chaos and able to attend with them.
Hopefully, your child's school will have a much better entry process for the first day. It might be a good idea to find out how it's supposed to work. Best wishes for a smooth start to school.post #13 of 339/3/12 at 8:32am
Olly, the OP said they've already met the teacher and there's an orientation. An orientation give an opportunity to explain the arrival routine, which the child and 18 year old sister can then run through a few times.post #14 of 339/3/12 at 9:30amQuote:
Oh, good point. I only read the last couple of updated posts and had missed that.post #15 of 339/8/12 at 7:35pmThread Starter
Well, we tried! Couldn't get him out of the hallway for 30 minutes, barely got him in the room. We ended up in the school counslers office playing with Legos, and talking about why he doesn't like school. Poor ds is the only child in the room who hasn't been in daycare or pre school. He wouldn't get in the car for my daughter, so she watched my 2 year old instead. He already has a terrible resistance to everything school is, learning, growing up. He doesn't even want a birthday. For now our goal is getting to school, and separating from me. Please send us your good vibes, and any ideas on how to help him feel safe. He is terrified of the children.post #16 of 339/9/12 at 5:29amAh, poor kid. Any chance you could get the names of a few kids in the class who are quiet and kind to have over as playdates? If he can get to know a few of the kids in the room, the whole room of kids might be less scary.
Baby steps. You'll get him where he needs to be.post #17 of 339/9/12 at 1:42pm
Tri31, I have a daughter who was a lot like that as far as separation anxiety. She didn't have the other issues your son has so for us what ultimately worked best was to put her in a small private school that afforded us more options than public school. I was able to stay longer in the morning in the classroom. I don't know if this is an option for you, but I think it helped dd1 a lot. I did not try to engage her at all while I was in the classroom — I was more like a security blanket or a nightlight just there in the background making her feel less anxious so she could integrate into the classroom.
I think Geofizz's suggestion is super excellent and I would jump on that as soon as you possibly can. I think it would be the very best thing you can possibly do to ease his transition. Please, please, please set up a playdate for him!
I've got to run, but I'll be happy to share more of our experiences later.post #18 of 339/9/12 at 2:00pm
Sometime what feels kind is not compassionate.
If it was up to my son he would be household and never deal with strangers.
We made him to go school, get services, join boy chorus etc.
It felt very unkind at times. He was special Ed entire time.
He has all sort of accommodation in school
He finished school 16 and is in community college. He volunteers in his former school out of all places in the therapeutic classroom. He just got a tutoring job and amazing IT internship.
As I write all of that I can;t even believe he has gone that far. My son is still creative, quirky, out of the box human being. But he also knows norms of social behaviors, he loves to teach and mentor and he shows up where and when he needs to show up.
So, I say, give K a try. Give all the services a try! Seek accommodating but make your son stretch himself outside of his comfort zone. Make home a lows stress safe harbor enviroments. Give him extra time in the morning. Put school in positive light. Volunteer in school. Keep close contact with teachers.
I had friend whose kid has very much same issues as my son. He let hm stay home at all times. The poor boy has serious social anxiety issues. Has no kids and does everything on line. It is really heartbreaking to wash.post #19 of 339/9/12 at 2:02pmpost #20 of 339/9/12 at 5:42pm
We did meet with other kids from the class (the principal gave me names and numbers) to help DD1 ease into it. She would never of chosen to go to school, she was one I had to literally kick out of the nest. She did fly though. She has an anxiety disorder so it was touchy, my actions seemed like it could "make it or break it", but I figured it was worth a shot.
Opposite with DD2. I spent MONTHS doing gradual drop offs, bribes, hanging around the classroom, trying to make her ok with it. It never worked. I ended up doing five minute drop offs. It was awful, she would cry the entire way to school, cry there, but then once I was gone, she was fine. Me hanging around had just made it worse.
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