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School Struggles

Starting school for the first time is often quite a stressful time for both parents and children alike. It’s a massive change, and can take some getting used to. Of course every child is different, and while some take to this whole school thing like a duck to water, some don’t handle the change quite so well.

I really thought Caitlin would be part of the first group. She spent a lot of the summer telling me how excited she was, almost counting down the days until she could go to school. She was thrilled by the prospect of meeting new people and making lots of new friends.


Last year we had a tough home to school transition with Neil, but we had prepared ourselves for that. This year, with Caitlin, I expected it to be different. I expected her to skip in to school each morning without a care, and then come bounding out at 12.30 full of stories. Instead, when I pick her up, I see pure relief in her smile. As children head away with their mummies and daddies, calling ‘bye’ to each of their friends, Caitlin stares straight ahead, desperate to get away.

We take the car home with one of the girls in her class and her mummy. The little girl often tries to talk to Caitlin, but again she stares straight ahead, without a response. When we get out of the car she won’t even say bye to them.  If anyone tries to talk to her at the bus stop in the morning she turns to face the other way. I’ve tried to gently encourage her to reply but she won’t.

I even had her class room assistant pull me to one side on one of the days and say they were concerned that she wasn’t well because she had been very quiet and wouldn’t speak or join in with anything.

I’ve asked her what is wrong, why she won’t speak to anyone and she says it’s because she is shy. It breaks my heart to think of her sitting at school feeling like she can’t talk to anyone or join in.

The whole thing seems to be really upsetting her, and the worst thing is, she is too afraid to tell me.
She plasters on a smile and tells me she loves it, but her actions tell a different story. She’s been asking if I will sleep with her, and often climbs in to my bed at night, something she hasn’t done for a while. She has also been bursting in to tears over what would seem like the silliest of things.
I found her standing in Neil’s bedroom one night when I came upstairs, and jokingly told her she had been caught red handed. She ran out of the room sobbing and barricaded herself in her bedroom, which is another thing she has been doing a lot recently.

When I ask her what is wrong she tells me nothing. I’ve tried to ask if school is upsetting her and she says no. I don’t want to push it because I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, because it’s probably not a big deal. It’s probably just a case of Mummy being a massive worrier, as I always am.

Now I know what you are probably thinking, and it’s the same as what others have said to me, “Give it time, she’s only been at school for a week, she will settle in”, and I know these things can take time, but I just hate the idea of her feeling sad or left out.

 I signed her up for singing lessons in school, hoping that will help boost her confidence a little bit. She had her first lesson today, and was so excited that they got to sing ‘Do you wanna build a snowman’ from frozen. She also has some colouring in, and a little set of instructions of how to stand for singing, which she has to practice at home.

I don’t know what else I can do… It’s not like I can go in to school with her. I can only encourage her and hope that it’s just a confidence issue, and hope that she will come out of her shell soon.

Does anyone have any advice on this, should I be giving her time to find her feet, or should I be encouraging her a bit more? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?

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8 Comments

  • Reply Mummy's Blog September 10, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I wish I had some advice for you, I can imagine it must be so upsetting for you to see her like that. I hope someone can help or that it does just blow over in time xx
    #Sharewithme

  • Reply Phoebe @ Lou Messugo September 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    It's horribly upsetting as a parent to see your child suffering, I really feel for you. I think time and a lot of extra cuddles will help but I have no magic solution. I'm sure you're doing the right thing already. Hang in there.

  • Reply Hannah Budding Smiles September 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I don't have any advice really, it seems like you're handling a difficult situation really well. I hope things get easier soon xx

  • Reply Kate Thompson September 11, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    My eldest son and my daughter were really like this. My approach was to be matter of fact in the morning, but after school (and after a bit of "down time") we would share 3 positives from the day and 3 worries. It seemed to make it all more manageable, breaking concerns down like that – and never more than three. They loved our 1:1 chat time too. I hope she settles soon xx

  • Reply You Baby Me Mummy September 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    This must be awful and I really feel for all of you. I haven't got anything useful to say but I really hope that she starts to enjoy it x

  • Reply slouchingtowardsthatcham.com September 12, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I think all you can do is what you're doing already, by being supportive and recognising that there is an issue that needs to be worked through with Caitlin. Whether that takes a few days or a few months, at least she will know that you are there for her.

  • Reply Jenny Ripatti-Taylor September 13, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I think you are doing all the right things being concerned but not pushing it too much. You are doing everything I would think of. And good for her for sining that's great. School is a big transition. Is she one of the oldest or youngest in her class that can make a huge difference too. At least either way she knows you are always there for her! great mommy! thanks for linkingup to Share With Me #sharewithme

  • Reply Clare Nicholas September 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I wish i had some advice – my 4 and a half year old is going in crying everyday, refusing to talk to anyone or to play with anyone – it's heartbreaking

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