Tears at the classroom door

When our eldest daughter started reception last year, tears and settling in were expected, and delivered. We breezed the first week or so, carried along in the excitement of new uniform and all the fuss and comments of well wishers, and a few weeks in it hit like a tonne of bricks.

There were bedtimes which broke my heart – sobs of desperation and pleas to ‘not make me go’. As a parent, it’s soul destroying to watch, and the failure to give them what they want is pretty horrendous.

But, as they said it would, it did pass. Tears at the class door gave way to giggles and games with new friends, and excitement over whose turn it was for ‘Show and Tell’. The sobs became a distant memory and we soon all felt part of the furniture in our new daily routine.

Everyone said year one would be a leap. The reduction of free play and increase in ‘proper work’ wouldn’t go unnoticed. And again, the first week or so came and went with smiles and excitement over a new desk, a new rucksack, and a pair of light up Clarks shoes.

But again, the excitement has fizzled out.

We’ve had day after day of tears at the gate, a reluctance to read, to do homework, to get dressed and even to go to sleep. School suddenly seems too hard, and she just doesn’t really want to go. Reinforced by the knowledge that Mummy and her sister are at home having a ‘great time’, it’s just a bit too much.

It’s tough on her, it’s tough on us. But ultimately, it’s tough luck?

I’m reassured by the smiles at the end of the day that greet me at the door; the stories of the day and the stuff she’s learnt, achieved and felt pride in. The friends she loves to play with and party with (most weekends) and the staff who assure me she wasn’t sad for long.

So with a deep breath, I walk away. Peeling her off me and handing her into the trust of a kind stranger. Comforted by the kind words of other parents, and strolling along beside many a troubled parent at the busy school gate at this time of year.

Everything is a phase, and perhaps some phases rear their ugly heads more than once – we have been here before and she’ll get through it again. As the memory of the carefree long days of summer fades, she’ll get back into the swing of things. Until then we will carry on reassuring her and encouraging her every step of the way; talking it through with her and talking it through with each other.

There must be so many parents feeling that lump in their throat at nine am every morning right now. Here’s to solidarity, and a good solid tea after the school run. This too shall pass.



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25 thoughts on “Tears at the classroom door

  1. Nicole Reply

    JUST what I needed to read Sarah. I’m going through it – again – at the moment too, with the house move and a new school (and an extra long break over the summer). It’s only pre-school, and he’s been going to nursery since he was 2 but I guess it’s just the change. And the fact that he’s also going through a very emotional ‘I miss you so much’ phase at the moment. But yes, it’s reassuring to know they cheer up and forget once we drop them off… this too shall pass!
    There’s a post in my drafts on the subject…

  2. anywaytostayathome Reply

    Oh god, I hadn’t even considered the transition from reception to year one being hard, but of course it will be, it makes sense. I hope it all settles down soon and those tears become giggles again! #coolmumclub

  3. Pass the wine please Reply

    I’ve found it hard transitioning mine up to the big group in nursery – cannot imagine how hard it is when they start school! The crying breaks my heart! Am bookmarking this for when she’s older to reassure me! #CoolMumClub

  4. mummyhereandthere Reply

    My son found it really difficult the transaction period, I think one the reasons is because no one actually told him so it was a massive shock and he was not happy about it X #coolmumclub

  5. mammaprada Reply

    We are in exactly the same stage. My son is now in year one. He doesn’t seem to get the shorter playtimes and is exhausted. Sometimes he bursts into tears at the slightest thing at home which I think is due to being so tired. Hoping it will pass. I’m sure it will. They just seem to be so little to take all this on. #coolmumclub xx

  6. Donna (@bobsysmum) Reply

    The first few weeks of year one were awful for us. He was so tired. Screamed and shouted, refused to get dressed. One day he sat and screamed in the playground. I had to leave what was then a small Bobsy with someone’s mum so I could pick him up. But, it did pass. Quickly. By half term he was ok. Year two he’s loved from day one! Good luck! #coolmumclub

  7. Talya Reply

    Hi darling oh this is so hard I see this so much and hear about it so much and just waiting for it to happen to us! Sending lots of #coolmumclub love and hugs your way xoxo

  8. bringinguptheberneys Reply

    It must be awful at the time to leave her when she’s upset, but as you say it’s tough luck. She’ll settle into the routine again and it’ll become a distant memory again! We were quite lucky with the transitions, a couple of tears on day 1 but that was it…I hope it gets easier for you x #coolmumclub

  9. Clare Reply

    It’s so so hard. I had this all the way through reception but, fingers crossed, year one and two have been a breeze. It’s the one that has gone to secondary school who if finding it all so tough now. See, there’s always something to look forward to!

  10. Winnettes Reply

    I am so pleased it passes. Ellie has been brilliant for the most part but we have had the occasional tears. It has usually been caused by something like a lunch she didn’t like but it is hard. Especially when she won’t actually tell me what it wrong. Thing is it is tough luck in some ways. She has to go so I can’t wait for her to find her feet fully. She is designed for learning and school, I have no doubt.

  11. Emma-EttieandMe Reply

    Needed to read this today, left my daughter crying at nursery when I waved goodbye. Its so hard, but we know its for the greater good. Sending mum hugs to everyone with that 9am lump in the throat x

  12. Alice | Letters to my Daughter Reply

    My daughter has started crying when I drop her off at the childminders again – she didn’t for a good year, then we went on holiday and she was poorly so had lots of time off. It’s so hard when all you want to do is hold them, but you’ve got to go to work to pay the bills! #coolmumclub

  13. craftcartwright Reply

    It was like this for us too! Now I don’t even get a kiss in the morning! #coolmumclub

  14. Sinéad (shinnersandthebrood.com) Reply

    My daughter is experiencing something similar now. I’m hoping that it will pass. It doesn’t help that she’s being educated through Irish and doesn’t understand anything that’s being said! Ahhh. I feel for them. #coolmumclub

  15. justsayingmum Reply

    Oh it does break my heart. So hard for both them and us parents. I went through this with mine and it just feels so cruel. It goes against every emotion in your body to walk away from them but you’re right, it will pass and the positives from friends made and socialising are vast. Bug hugs my lovely xx #CoolMumClub

  16. oldhouseintheshires Reply

    As the year 1 teacher I can relate. It will pass and you are right, it’s just transition. Some children thrive on routine so when routines change (after a summer break) they struggle. Lots of praise, cuddles, reassurance and reminders that you will come at home time. Good luck. X#coolmumclub

  17. Helen Reply

    It’s heartbreaking isn’t it. Our daughter sailed through reception but this year has brought challenges with friendships! At parents evening we were told she often spends playtime on her own. She’s doing well academically but struggles with making friends! Really don’t know what to do. Hope your little girl settles soon x

  18. The Pramshed Reply

    Oh it’s so hard isn’t it. We are in a very similar phase with our daughter, but she’s at nursery, and I hand over kicking and screaming to the nursery staff. But the minute I leave she’s fine. I hope it gets better for you soon lovely. Claire x #CoolMumClub

  19. thesingleswan Reply

    Yes, you are so right. Nursery have been peeling Cygnet off me for two and a half years every Monday morning. He screams and reaches out to me as I rush to the door and run to my train to work. The guilt is overwhelming. Pre-school is, I am pleased to report, a little better. I think it’s because he has to go every day rather than just every monday and it is only three hours. He is sad when I leave, but he has figured out where the box of cars are at school so he’s okay. He does still make me feel guilty though. On the days that I collect him from pre-school (sometimes it is Grandma or Grandpa who do the honours) he tells me that he was lonely and that he has been waiting for me. I die inside. But yes, this too shall pass.

    Strong cups of tea all round.
    Pen x

  20. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    I went through this with my son until he was 6 and it broke my heart every single day. He still says he doesn’t like it now at 8 but he takes himself in without any problems. My youngest just started preschool for 2.5 days a week and for the first week and a half she loved it and I thought woohoo things will be different with this one. I spoke too soon though and she suddenly decided she hates it and screams the place down and begs me not to leave her, my heart is breaking all over again. I really hope she gets used to it and the tears die down soon, everyone tells me they will, but the experience with my son tells me it could take a lot longer. Fingers crossed for all of us going though this x

  21. Charlotte Stein Reply

    Some weeks are just so tough, especially when they’re so exhausted. It’s hard this growing up marlarkey! #coolmumclub

  22. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... Reply

    My daughter just seems to have got on with it. Sometimes she is a bit reluctant (and tired) but she always goes in happily enough, phew! #coolmumclub

  23. The Queen of Collage Reply

    We’ve got it all to come with our girls. It does sound like a lot of children go through these phases. #coolmumclub

  24. Mum in Brum Reply

    Aw this must be so hard – I’m really not looking forward to this phase, and I’m sure most go through it. Such an uplifting and comforting post to read for the many who are going through the same thing xx #coolmumclub

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