Ds (2yo) doesn't want to go to nursery and other issues (sorry, v. long)

(22 Posts)
MeeWhoo Fri 27-Sep-13 10:00:17

Just looking for some advice on how to make it easier for Ds to adapt to nursery. He will be 2 yo this weekend and we would like to send him for 3-4 hours a day Monday to Friday.

There are 2 main reasons for this, firstly Dc2 is due at the end of January and I would like Ds to be settled in nursery by then so that he doesn't feel pushed out by the baby if we send him after birth. (and I don't think I would cope very well with a baby and toddler all day long). Second reason is, I think it would actually be good for him and he will enjoy being with other children once he is settled, he is definitely getting bored with me all day and I think he needs other stimulation and physical play, which will be harder and harder for me as the bump grows bigger.

So, he started nursery at the beginning of September and during the first week we increased the time gradually from 30 mins to 2.5 hs and he was fine about it, some days he asked for me after a while but they could generally distract him. Unfortunately he then caught a D&V bug so he was off for a week and I "spoilt" him in that I BF him on demand again (normally he only feeds before going to bed, when he wakes up and at nap time), let him watch TV a lot, etc.

He then went back for 4 days and he wasn't protesting when he went in, but one day they called me to ask if I wanted to get him as he had been crying for a while, so I went to pick him up. Then, due to his birthday we went away from Thursday to Monday to celebrate his birthday with the ILs and he got spoilt rotten with lots of presents over the few days and constant attention from all the different relatives and ourselves.

Since he has been back, he starts crying at home from the minute I tell him that he has to go to nursery, on and off all the way there (only 10 min.) and then cries a lot and gets very upset on the way in. They tell me that he cries for quite a while and then grows calmer, unless another child stats crying or he hears the door and it's not me, in which case he cries again.... Yesterday they also told me he didn't join in any of the activities and when the teachers said "let's sing/read/paint...." he kept saying "MiniMeewhoo no!".

I think this is all connected with a very possessive phase he has been on for the past couple of months where everything is "mine" including his food, the toys at the playground and his body (i.e. if someone touches him when he doesn't want them to he goes "mine", even if it's me trying to change his nappy, he'll go "my bum!"). He also has become quite unsociable with strangers and even people that he knows but doesn't see often. If they start talking to him his immediate reaction is to go "no" or "mine".

He used to love being with other children and, even though he has never been extremely sociable, he used to be fine with new people after having had a few minutes to "suss them out". He went to a playgroup without me from 15 to 18 months for 3 hours a day and, although he sometimes cried when I left, it was never for more than 2 minutes as I could hear him calm down before I was out of the building, whereas now he goes in full tantrum screaming mode, even though he walks in the place himself and doesn't try to run away or kick, etc.

DH and I have agreed to stick it out for at least another couple of weeks and then re-assess, but any advice on how to make this easier for Ds will be hugely appreciated.

Thanks a lot if you've got to the bottom of my essay!

cookielove Fri 27-Sep-13 10:18:23

Well the positives are that you know he can settle, so he can do this again.

Is he allowed to bring in anything special a toy or comforter.

Maybe wear a muslin down your top for a couple days so it smells of you, then give it to him for nursery.

Maybe go back to the basic's and stay with him get him
Settled into playing with a toy with another carer before saying bye. Always say goodbye.

Be positive about nursery and all the fun things he does
Their that he may not do at home.

Try not to spoil him to much at home, until after he settles.

Praise him for everything he does at nursery.

Tell him mummy will always come back, then give him recent examples of when you did.

MeeWhoo Fri 27-Sep-13 11:47:17

Thanks cookielove, I guess you are right that if he has done it once, he can do it again, but having had a better previous experience I didn't expect it to be worse the second time.

I will talk to them about staying behind for a bit with him, they don't seem to keen on that though (not in the UK so different set up).

I always talk to him about it and remind him that I have come back to get him and will always go back to get him, but he can get a little obsessed and sometimes the more I talk to him about it, the more upset he gets. The nursery teacher told me she found it best to ignore him a bit when he stats crying again after a while as if she tries to comfort him he gets more and more upset....

ICameOnTheJitney Fri 27-Sep-13 12:14:41

I honestly think he's too small for that time period and on a daily basis...especially if he's unhappy and at the moment you don't have to send him.

That may sound harsh but why not just let him go in January? He'll be older then and MANY children begin nursery when siblings are born and don't feel pushed out...it sounds like he already feels unhappy...I'd wait till he was a bit older.

Fairylea Fri 27-Sep-13 12:17:50

You might find it easier having two little ones at home than the stress of nursery drop off and pick up every day.....!

MeeWhoo Fri 27-Sep-13 16:44:44

I was afraid someone would tell me to keep him at home! That is definitely an option,but then willit not be the same again when he has to go to school or a different nursery?
It also means I wil not beableto work at all.

TheCountessOlenska Fri 27-Sep-13 17:49:44

Dd was distraught when i left her with my mum at this age (2 days a week for work). She adores her granny, it was just a period of major separation anxiety sad It is a different story now at pre-school, she loves it and barely kisses me goodbye grin . Honestly, i would take him out and try again when he is a bit older, these phases pass so quickly! And you'll be so busy with toddler and newborn the months will fly by grin

ICameOnTheJitney Fri 27-Sep-13 20:12:28

Do you work now? I thought the reason you were sending him was purely to make his transition easier when his sibling arrives? By that time, your DS will be more mature...it happens fast...they get more reasonable and have more understanding which I suppose is why 3 is the usual age to begin nursery if a parent doesn't work.

It wouldn't necessarily happen again no...and such a small child needs you if possible in my opinion.

MeeWhoo Sun 29-Sep-13 18:21:09

I am freelancer and I am supposedly working at the moment, although in reality I do hardly any work. However, as I am not in the UK, I still have to pay quite a lot of NI regardless of earnings and I don't want to stop paying before I get my maternity pay, so it would be good if I could work.

Anyway, DH and I are almost 99% agreed that we will not be sending him again at least for 2 or 3 months as he is waking in the middle of the night saying "nursery no", and seems like he really doesn't want to go. (He also wakes up in the night and says things related to anything he is worried about like "my car", as if he was in the park and worried about someone else taking it, but I think it really shows that he is not ready at this point).

Thanks a lot for your advice.

heidihole Sun 29-Sep-13 18:37:17

Truthfully I think he's a little young. Ideally they are 3 when they start nursery and its more ideal if you're able to wait a bit. Good luck with newborn and toddler. Ill be in that boat come Feb eeeeek!

Cupcakemummy85 Sun 29-Sep-13 19:33:40

I have a 7 month old and a 2.3 year old. My dd1 goes to nursery and believe me if I could've put her in when I was pregnant I would've. It may sound harsh to some but you need to do what's right for you and your children. The way I saw it my dd1 would get to do fun things like paint ad play and learn with people who could give her lots of attention. Before she was in nursery there was a lot of tv watching and walking in the pram and I felt way more guilty about that. 2 year olds are so full of energy, nursery gives their minds and bodies a workout and you a chance to spend time with your other child and get a few things done. Just my opinion but in my experience it has really helped smile

You have to do what's right for you. I don't agree with the too little to go business. Nurseries up and down the country are full of two year olds. You can feel horrible enough without someone laying that on.
Saying that it's a huge adjustment. I work full time and my DS took a long time to settle in and positively dragged his heels when going. But. 2 is when they are starting to build little friendships so it worth it when they start chatting about their little mates at home. They do things like messy play, learn how to share and other social ettoquettes. He will get there.

BerryGood Sun 29-Sep-13 21:48:24

My ds was like this, he only finally changed when he changed nursery. It was a lovely nursery but he didn't like it.

MeeWhoo Sun 29-Sep-13 21:59:19

Thanks everyone for your input. Cupcakemummy85, that was exactly my thinking, he will get to do a lot of activities and have fun, which is what he did at this other playgroup he used to to without me. Even though he used to cry for a couple of minutes when I left, I could tell he was having fun, and many days he would then not want to come home at the end, so he was really enjoying it but he would have preferred for me to stay there as well.

However, this is not the case now, he starts crying from befor leaving the house, cries again when I pick him up and tries to hurry me out of the door. It may well be that this particular nursery is not appropriate for him and maybe he doesn't enjoy the activities there or they are not as good at engaging him (nursery staff to child ratios are much higher here than in the UK). It could also just be that he is going through a particularly clingy and unsociable phase and therefore it was just bad timing starting him now.

In any case I think we will a couple of months, by which time we should have moved house (not far) and then I can look at other nurseries closer to our new address and make sure the nursery is more involved and supportive during the adaptation period.

Thanks again. (*heidihole*, eeeeeek indeed! I was not nervous in the least when I was expecting Ds, this time round I am both very happy and petrified!!)

MerryMarigold Netherlands Sun 29-Sep-13 21:59:26

We did something similar with my ds1, although it was over a longer period of time. He went to a playgroup for 2 days a week for several months, and then increased to 3 for several months, and 5 days soon after my twins were born. I think you really need to think about how you are going to ease the transition for him for when the baby comes. It is pretty traumatic for any child, but I think it is possible for parents to make it easier.

There are 2 ways to think about it:

- He is hitting a point where he's starting to push boundaries. 2 years old. It is typical. I think you (maybe) need to be firmer with him at home and let him grow up a bit, become a bit more independent, rather than doing it too quickly when the baby arrives. Don't baby him. Personally, I think the breastfeeding could be part of this. He is still your baby, but treating him too much like this is going to make the new baby really painful. This is really difficult I am no expert in feeding babies and toddlers, but are you planning to breastfeed him, when you have the newborn baby or stop? If you are planning to stop feeding him, I would do it now rather than later.

- He is clearly unhappy at nursery. Is it the nursery (if he was happy at the other one). Could your reduce the days, but at the same be firmer at home and start working on his independence?

I think taking him out and putting him nursery every day when the baby comes will be the worst thing you could tbh. I would seriously think about cutting down hours though, and maybe looking at some other places. Why did you move him from the place he was happy?

MeeWhoo Sun 29-Sep-13 22:17:09

MerryMarigold, thanks for your post. I agree about starting to make him more independent and I will look into ways of doing that.

As for breastfeeding, I am taking a gradual withdrawal approach and hope that he will be weaned in a couple of months with some encouragement, but I know there will be jealousy issues anyway as he has a surprisingly "long" memory and will probably want to feed again once baby is here...

To be honest, playgroup would be ideal as from my understanding is about fun and keeping the children entertained whereas nurseries (here, with the higher child to staff ratios) can be more boring. However, playgroups don't really exist here, it's very hard to find something like that as lots of children start nursery at 4mo unless the grandparents can look after them, it is not very common to find SAHPS "by choice" due to the different job market and virtually non-existing benefits for SAHPS.

I didn't move him from the place he was happy at, unfortunately they broke off for the summer and decided not to offer the service again for this school year, I almost cried when they told me and I hate crying.

MerryMarigold Netherlands Sun 29-Sep-13 22:28:21

Oh no. Sorry to hear the other nursery closed.

I know with my twins, they went to a playgroup from 2 and were fine at the start but a couple of months in, my ds really stopped wanting to go (novelty wore off, he was bored, I don't know). Luckily we got into school nursery at 3 soon after summer hols so we didn't have the crying stage for long. Just wanted to say that they can reverse so may not be the nursery's fault.

Fingers x'd you get a great nursery after you move.

Ways of being more independent (maybe start a thread, I find some parents are better than others and I am not a good person for ideas as I love the baby stage!).

- Certainly self feeding, if not already. Yoghurts etc.
- Aim to have him off the boob by end of October (realistic?). My ds2 was really attached to boobs and I stopped feeding at 1 and half. He actually showed no interest fairly quickly and when I needed to feed a week on due to engorgement, my dd was the one willing to help out. He actually refused it!
- More grown up conversation

I'm wracking my brains for what my twins could do at 2 (a lot more than ds1 but shows 2 yo's are capable of it).

MerryMarigold Netherlands Sun 29-Sep-13 22:31:03

They got beds for 2nd birthday.

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 22:37:51

I think you've made a great decision. 2 is little and the closer they get to three the more ready they are usually more ready for time away from home.

I also think bf is in no way a problem. Studies actually suggest bf toddlers are ultimately more than averagely independent rather than less iirc. If you want to tandem when baby comes along then do. The LLL helpline will have good info and support.

It sounds like he isn't ready / doesn't suit nursery. I had this with my first, albeit at 9 months rather than two. We switched to a childminder who has just one other child and it works so much better. She actively loves Aunty CM, they go out to groups, do loads of things, even taking the train to London for the science museum! My DD just doesn't like the nursery environment. She can handle about 1.5 hours in a play group type room, but needs more one to one and a home setting. Our CM is also much more flexible than a nursery- I'm also freelance and have unreliable hours, so this is a huuuuuge bonus. I was one of the people stuck on the Dartford Crossing recently and the only way I stayed sane was knowing that my CM would take brilliant care of DD until I or DD dad got there, which didn't happen until about 9 that night!

RoadToTuapeka Mon 30-Sep-13 02:55:27

Lots of good advice from other posters above, I just wanted to add (and agree with fairylea) that maybe 5 half days at nursery might be more faff than it's worth.

My DS1 was in 3 full days nursery after I went back to work when he was 13 months old, but we tapered that to 2 days when I had DS2 when first was 2 yrs old. I was very lucky that DH could do the morning drop off as was awful the few times I had to juggle getting me and toddler dressed/fed, baby fed etc and off to nursery. Then we emigrated and I had the baby and toddler all day which was really hard work! So I am sympathetic to your ambition to have first child in some sort of playgroup/care - lovely to have time for just you and baby plus social/fun things for your toddler.

The balance we found which I love is 2 or 3 mornings a week of kindergarten. Starts at 9am, and only since DS2 was about 6 months old has it not been a bit of a pain doing drop off & pick up owing to having to wake up sleeping baby, or get them both home at 12 with both needing feeding and/or naps to get sorted - no way would I want to do that every day, but 3 days is fine. Plus, I actually like some days having them both. We can have a lazy day, go to playground (use baby sling so you can still play with oldest one), go to library story time, or a music group aimed at oldest but that youngest increasingly enjoys too.

What I am trying to say is, perhaps try to get eldest in a 2 or 3 mornings a week group, and you nay just enjoy having the two of them for a couple of days more than you think you might. And as others have said, hassle of getting the eldest to and from every day is not great anyway!

Best of luck with it all.

AveryJessup Mon 30-Sep-13 05:17:57

Could it be the nursery that doesn't suit him? Different nurseries have different approaches and a high child-staff ratio is hard to deal with for a 2-year old. They still need a lot of attention at that age.

Does the nursery offer part-time options? I have my almost-2 year old in a nursery from 8am-12:15pm for 2 mornings a week and they offer all kinds of flexible options from 2 full days a week to 3 mornings a week or whatever suits. Maybe he would cope better starting with 2 mornings a week and then working your way up slowly to 5?

I would spend some time looking into alternative nurseries and do some tours to see if there are smaller nurseries near you that might suit him better or a home-type environment with a child minder.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now