We’ve had some really bad behaviour going on with our youngest daughter Eva these past few weeks. She has been aggressive, demanding and during time out periods, continues to wet the floor or her bed deliberately.
At my wits end with how to deal with these situations, I spoke to the staff at her pre-school, who were incredibly helpful. They did some one to one sessions with her and essentially, discovered that she is anxious about starting school. Eva told them and she has since told me that she is scared about making new friends, which breaks my heart.
Not What We Expected
- She’s ultra confident. She doesn’t stop talking to anyone and everyone, she’s a real diva in that she demands and craves attention from anyone she meets. She has absolutely no fear about wearing the strangest outfits or costume in public.
2. She is no stranger to the school she will be going to in September. We go there twice a day to drop Alice off and pick her up again. She is familiar with the setting and knows who her teacher will be.
3. She’s smart and switched on and I stupidly thought that this wouldn’t phase her.
But despite all this confidence, she’s incredibly sensitive. And it’s apparent now, that she is very anxious. As well as worrying about making new friends, I think she’s also anxious because like most little ones, she has no real concept of time. We have some induction mornings and meetings coming up and she seems to think that she will be starting school imminently. I remind her that she won’t be going until September, after the summer holidays, but I still don’t think she can grasp when that is. She even asked my husband this morning if tomorrow would be her last day at pre-school….
The Anticipation of Change
Just like many adults (myself included!) children don’t like change. They are comfortable when they are in their routine. She knows that change is coming and her recent bad behaviour is her way at expressing her anger and frustration at not knowing how to deal with that.
And I suppose, just like many adults, when we know we have something coming up that is a bit frightening, whether it’s a business meeting, a huge social event with lots of people or even just a trip to the dentist, we often find that it is the build up, the anticipation of the event which can give us more worry and more upset than when we’re there in the thick of it getting on with it.
Most Children Will Have Issues
Having spoken to several other people as well as the pre-school, it seems that most children will have some level of anxiety about the change in starting school and they will deal with it in different ways. My eldest child expressed her anxiety by sitting on the toilet for long periods of time and waking up frequently at night time. Other children will have bad behaviour, others may become clingy or quiet and withdrawn.
I feel awful for not really thinking about this before. It seems we need to give far more credit to all children going through the period of change in the lead up to starting school, after all, if we as adults don’t like dealing with change, it’s obvious that children who are as young as 3 or 4 will definitely have difficulties in dealing with the change plus the enormity of dealing with their feelings and emotions about this change.
Tactics that Are Helping with Eva
The support from the pre-school has been fantastic. They have let her choose a toy which is her responsibility to look after whenever she is at pre-school. This simple act has transformed her into actually wanting to go in and look after her cat rather than clinging howling to my legs.
We have been given a book which together we can write in and draw when she is feeling happy or sad or worried or angry and then we can talk through this with her. Again it could be early days, but she seems very excited to be having her own “special book”.
I’m only hoping that we can survive the 6 weeks’ holidays without too much trauma, anxiety and bad behaviour.
Do you have children starting school this year? Have you noticed any change in behaviour? Have you had problems in the past with your children starting school? I’d love to hear from you.