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Kindergarten Panic Attacks- What Should I do?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We have been having a very hard transition into kindergarten. We didnt do pre-K, and dd is a young 5 yo. Her class is a combined K-1 in a "good" public school and full day. Starting the first week they were expected to copy lower case from the board, which rapidly led to copying entire words off the board. Dd is totally stressed by it.

Example- she woke up saturday night coughing, saying her throat hurt and she couldn't breath and she wanted to go to the ER. She said she was going to die.

The friendships are hard for her, the full day is hard for her, and she is very stressed out by what she perceives as all the demands. I did talk to her teacher about bringing her half day. The teacher was initially reluctant as she worried my dd would "fall behind", but when I threatened to pull her out of the school and cited the fact that the public school cannot make her stay full day, she backed down.

I am torn because I don't want to pull her out and keep her back a year- but this is not kindergarten, this is first grade. We have a few other options of private schools- but they are mostly full day as well, but maybe if she was in a developmentally appropriate full day program it wouldn't be so bad.

I don't know of any pre-K openings.

Then, of course, my dd doesn't want to change schools because she's attached to her friends. Of course, she also does not want to go to school often.

Any advice?
post #2 of 7
I wish I had advice, my son is in the first grade and going through anxiety because of school too. I know how hard it is.

I guess if I had the $ I would pull him out of the school and send her to a school that would work better for her. Perhaps one with smaller class sizes so she can make friends again quicker.

Perhaps if she continues to have panic attacks you could find a good play therapist to help her learn how to cope with them. I've been told that the sooner kids learn how to handle panic and anxiety the better they can control it in the future.

I hope it all improves for both of you soon. Hugs to you.
post #3 of 7
Can she move to the regular K class? Have you spoken with the teacher about how well she's keeping up? If she's struggling, that will give you more information upon which to base your decision.

Staying out of school for a year could end up being a good thing...my good friend's husband held their daughter out for a year because "I don't want my 13 year old in high school with 18 year olds."

If you kept her out this year, you could do some really cool homeschooling stuff (Ok, this is me wanting to homeschool...can you tell?!?).

But I'd start with talking to the teacher...and maybe even have the teacher reassure dd that she's doing fine, etc.

Good luck!
post #4 of 7
I was your daughter. I had those kinds of episodes, as well as migraines and nausea issues triggered by anxiety well into elementary school. My mom was great at intervening a lot, and not giving up until I felt better. Looking back, I would have been an absolutely ideal candidate for homeschooling until junior high or so. Knowing that my mom was up at school advocating for me constantly, working with the teachers to help me and the transition, that made so much difference. She would pop in to visit for lunch, check in at school during the day, and my heart would just leap with joy when I knew she was coming, or when I didn't know, and I would see her in the hallway, having come from a meet with the principal.

Just keep on trying new things, staying involved, and hopefully, she'll find her niche soon. In all honestly, I wouldn't hesitate to change her to the half-day and see how it goes. Most kids with anxiety tend to also be gifted, so I would say she'll have no problem keeping up with the work in half the time. If it doesn't work out, then y'all can transition back to full days. Maybe work back up to full days by, after a few weeks of half days, by going a whole day once a week for a month, then twice a week, etc.
post #5 of 7
Gosh, I am a teacher and I was just like your daughter, too. Maybe you can have her stay half day and home school her? The teacher may have been giving you the standard response, she is expected by the board to warn and discourage parents, blah, blah, blah, but maybe you can relieve the anxiety by having her go to a preschool over the summer to get her feet wet in the school routine....or maybe this is a sign that you should look into something else like homeschooling or Montessori. Give it a try.
post #6 of 7
My DS is in a developmentally-appropriate K/1 class... they don't do any copying at all, really. He would also be totally stressed out by it, I'm sure. As it is, he loves school. He is full day, though full-day for him is 8:30-2, which is shorter than some full-day programs. Anyway, those thoughts mean that I would be seeking a better school match.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses.

I have pretty much decided to pull her out and send her to a private school. Luckily a grandparent has offerred to help pay for it.

I found a private school with 15 kids in the kindy class and a room 3X the size. My mother-in-law went with me to dd's school yesterday and aggreed it was a madhouse- too many kids, too small a room, kids cooped up and acting out.

The thing is that seattle public schools are, in general, not great. This is supposedly one of the best- but I am very unimpressed.

I wish I could stick it out and go to the school and advocate for her all the time, but I need to work. Frankly, I can't pull her out half day. I thought I could, but I need the daycare. I'm facing up to the fact that we are pretty dependent on my income, so I can't afford to be missing work all the time to deal with this. Evn if we had to pay ourselves for private, it would be worth it for me to keep my job.

Anyway, gotta run.

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