Here's the situation. Lunch Bunch is when the kids stay at school for an additional hour and eat packed lunch and play at the playground. I let Oscar do a LB trial, and he loved it. So, I signed him up for all three days. It's a lot more convenient for me to pick him up at one than at noon, and I like that he has a bit of a longer day (3.5 hours as opposed to 2.5.) Well, day two of LB he cried because his teacher was not the teacher monitoring the lunchers. He was fine, though. He worked it out, at his lunch, and had a good time.
Come day three of LB, and not only did he not want to go to LB, but he did not want to go to school. He was a sobbing mess before we even left the house. Then, he wanted Nelson to stay at school, which obviously could not happen and when Nelson and I made our exit, Oscar completely lost it and the teacher had to close the door because Oscar was sobbing and trying to crawl out after us. His teacher assured me he was fine after we left and that he had a great day and a great LB. This was Friday.
So, yesterday, I let Oscar know that today was going to be a school day. He seemed excited. I didn't want to make a big thing of it, but I did want to remind him because he had not been to school in four days (he goes Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.)
This morning, when he comes downstairs, I reminded him again that today was a school day. He was excited, but he told me he did not want to go to LB; that he wanted to come home and eat lunch with me. I sort of just dropped it and didn't really responds and we went on with our morning. When he saw me packing his lunch, he became upset and told me again that he did not want to do LB. We talked about this for a few minutes, how he was afraid, how he did not like the lunch room. I validated his feelings of apprehension at a new situation and reassured him, and then I dropped it. I didn't want to over talk the whole thing and Oscar get too worked up about it.
All morning, Oscar was testing limits and pushing my buttons. I kept my cool because it was pretty clear to me that he was stressed out about school and/or LB. He was asking for snack he knows are not allowed in the mornings; making a pile of toys he wanted to take to school (he can only bring his bunny and his Grave Digger); insisting on wearing his Crocs to school (they are not allowed); being mean to Miles. I just refused to engage him when he was behaving poorly and tried to redirect him. This worked fine.
When it was time to go, he was fine. He even asked to carry his lunch box. The ride to school was good. Once we got there, it went to hell. Oscar was crying even before I even parked the car. "No! I don't want to go to school anymore! I want to stay home with you!"
He fought with me getting him out of the car and cried the while way in to the school. I talked to him and I reassured him. He refused to go into his classroom, but only once and only for a second. He wiped his hands with the hand sanitizer with no fight, so I hustled him in and quickly deposited him with a teacher and he had stopped crying before I even made it out of the classroom.
I realize I could just not make him go to LB. Yes, it makes my life easier, but it would be okay if he came home an hour earlier. And, also, I don't really think this is about LB because when I pick Oscar up he is always playing well and tells me he had a great time and he eats most of his lunch. I think he's just having trouble adjusting to school and the new routine.
My current strategies are to not over talk things, to remain calm and together when Oscar gets worked up, to affirm his feelings and reassure him. This seems to be working to a degree as today's drop off was much less dramatic. I'm also considering cutting his LB days down to twice a week, though I'd rather not. I'd love some suggestions from the peanut gallery on how else to ease Oscar's transition and decrease his school-related stress.