Preschool wanting me to collect DS early

(64 Posts)
insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 17:30:10

I was hoping to get some advice/suggestions regarding DS2 who is 3. He started at a new preschool after Easter (having previously attended a day nursery 2 days a week).

He has settled really well into the preschool and seems very happy to attend, only just manages to say bye to me as he's so busy getting stuck into the activities etc!grin So far, for me, this is the only positive.....(albeit a very significant one).

He is an outgoing, confident character, spirited at times! (I am under no illusion that when the mood takes him, he can be a handful, eg he sometimes likes to think the rules don't apply to him, he has also been a biter although he has tended to bite out of excitement and when playing happily with a favourite playmate, rather than biting out of anger). At the same time, he is a very rewarding child, full of fun, cheeky (in a good way!), affectionate etc.

Although he is over 3, he has struggled a bit with dropping his nap. I haven't put him for a nap since well before Easter as I know he won't settle, but he struggles to get through the day without a cat nap of some sort. If we are out and about he will often drop off in the car, but since starting preschool he doesn't really have the opportunity as I have to make sure he's had lunch before he goes and the session starts at 1245 (it finishes at 345pm).

He has fallen asleep at the end of preschool on a few occasions (quite happily it would seem!), and because of this and the fact that they have indicated that his behaviour can tail off towards the end of the session, they suggested that I pick him up early.

I have to pick DS1 (aged 4) up from school at 3pm, so I explained that getting to preschool early would be tricky. They did suggest getting DS2 before the school run, but this would mean collecting him by 240pm at the latest, which hardly seemed worth the trouble of taking him. So I compromised by collecting him straight after the school run and collected him at 315-320pm for a period before half term. This was not ideal for DS1 as it meant we had to leave school the moment he came out, and he loves to have a 10min run around with his friends after school. It also means I can't walk DS1 home from school, which is important to me (we love really near school but 10-15min drive from preschool).

I've suggested going back to picking DS2 up at normal finish time (345pm) after half term as I am not sure collecting him early is the knot answer here. I feel we (me and the teachers) should be exploring some strategies to help DS2 cope with feeling tired, rather than just defaulting to me getting him early. We are only talking a difference of 20mins here, given that the school next door to preschool is finishing as I collect him early so it's chaos outside trying to park, get in etc, so even if I rush straight from school I tend not to get DS2 till 320ish. And preschool seem to like to chuck out early, so kids are getting picked up from 335-340pm (when I was arriving at 340-345pm - NEVER late though) they made comments to the effect of can you get here a bit earlier please!

I picked up at 345 today but was called in for a "chat" as DS2 did not have a great afternoon behaviour wise (despite being pretty good overall during half term) and they asked again about picking up early.

I think what I am looking for is:
1. AIBU to push back on picking up early and asking to discuss strategies to help DS2 cope with tiredness, the full session (given that the main reason for sending him is to prepare him for school and the future)?
2. What strategies would you suggest I discuss? I'm wondering about quiet time (eg he LOVES books and I wondered about sitting him in the cubby hole with some books for the last 15mins?) If he drops off, so be it?
3. AIBU to feel like the preschool are copping out a bit by resorting to telling me to collect him early, rather than exploring other options first? I do feel like his old nursery would be doing the latter....I feel like he's missing out on part of his entitlement, all for the sake of saving the staff the trouble of dealing with him for the last 20mins of the session.

I'd be grateful for any comments/advice anyone might have here smile

ContinentalKat Tue 03-Jun-14 19:42:00

This is exactly why I had to decline a nursery afternoon place. Aged 3, dd would never have coped with an afternoon session without a nap.
I think you have to do what is right for your small child here and not send him for afternoon sessions. Just because he is entitled to the free hours doesn't mean you have to take them at all cost.
I wouldn't make him attend unless you can send him in the morning.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Tue 03-Jun-14 19:54:57

Hi I work in a setting with similar session times but with 2 year olds... One child's behaviour is quite aggressive towards the other children I think mainly due to tiredness at end of session. We sit down for a little group time at the end of session it's very informal but it makes it hard to staff with the child who is tired as one person has to take him to another area if he is struggling. This leaves one person to deal with parents and one to lead the group time alone.

Could this be the case? That logistically it's hard for them to cater your child's needs as well as staffing for the all the others? As they are not one to one ratio but a challenging tired child can need one to one for that short end of session time.
What did they say about his behaviour? Is he not listening, hurting others, distrupting the group time?
I would ask a bit more about what he is doing that's such a challenge.
Settings tend to play it down to a parent as you don't want to be negative and for the child to be told off again for something that has been dealt with during the session. I'm guessing if it's a good setting they have tried lots of tactics and asking you to collect early is a last resort for the benefit of your child and all the others.

Hopefully you can switch to mornings as soon as possible.

CharlesRyder Tue 03-Jun-14 20:08:51

My DS went through a phase of negative behaviours at pre-school just after Christmas (when he was 3.5). The pre-school were so incredibly supportive and through the whole thing, although telling me about the behaviour in black and white, they made me feel as though my DS was incredibly valued as an individual.

I don't think they would ever have suggested me taking him for less time (he goes 8.30am - 3.15pm). Actually one of their suggestions was that he stay for afterschool club when they have less children so could have worked on his social skills in a smaller group.

I went in regularly and had email contact during that time to ensure we were matching strategies at school and home.

He is pretty much completely through it now at 3.10 which I think the pre-school's approach can be largely credited for. They definitely saw his behaviours as their challenge and something they wanted to take on and solve for his sake.

If you don't feel your pre-school are being this supportive I would speak to them and consider changing setting.

starlight1234 Tue 03-Jun-14 20:11:24

Can quite make out but is he attending 5 days a week, could you send him 3 days a week so he gets a decent nap.

My DS at that age was an earlier riser no matter what time he went to bed..Could you change things around. do breakfast at 7 and lunch at 11, then quiet lie down on the sofa under blanket with TV, to rest before preschool.

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 20:22:12

Uptheanty - v helpful to get the perspective of someone "in the industry" so thank you.

It is a separate preschool really, neither daycare nor properly attached to a school (the head is also the head of a nearby school, but it is not part of that school IYSWIM?) No option to switch to mornings as they have no spaces in the morning session (and didn't when I applied).

I have not actually been doing what suits me and DS1, quite the opposite! As soon as they asked me to pick up early, I did. Even though it totally didn't suit me or DS1. I'd be interested to know what would have happened if I was at work and couldn't pick up early, but that's off topic....

I have now suggested seeing how DS2 goes with staying till 345pm, which was agreed at the end of last half term. But because DS2 didn't have a great session today, they straight away said what about picking up early? It just seems to be the easy default, and I wanted to know if it's reasonable to discuss other options before resorting to this. I get the impression you think not?

My comments re inconvenience to me/it not being ideal for DS1 were designed to illustrate that I am trying to think of this issue "in the round" and I do have to consider both my children. Not me saying it is only what DS1 and i want that counts here.

I do take on board littlefish's view that I should put DS2 before DS1 in this situation, but I find it hard to weigh up preschool having DS2 for an extra 20mins vs rushing DS1 out of school etc. For DS1 "missing out", do preschool really gain much by getting rid of DS2 early?

On that note, it is good to hear what you say re managing a sleeping child etc. This is what I was getting at with my OP, is it very difficult for staff to manage this or a child being disruptive? It is hard for me to know the protocol that they have to follow, and when staff were asked what ratios they have at settling in they were unable to give an answer, so again it's hard for me to understand whether they do have scope for one on one or separate quiet time, for example. These are the things I'd like to understand better before going in tomorrow, or definitely as a result of tomorrow's meeting (I thought best to arm myself with info before I go in as far as possible though).

I think I have been unfair (and lazy!) to use the word lazy to describe the staff. I don't think that of them, but I do feel they have been too quick to instigate early pick up without discussing any other options. Perhaps I am unreasonable to expect that, but it is what I have come to expect from my (very positive) experiences at nursery (over the past almost 4 years).

I did not wish to come across as minimising DS2's behaviour. I do take misbehaviour very seriously and am the first to acknowledge he can be challenging. At the same time, I do not believe he is an overly difficult child or that the misbehaviour he shows is particularly outside the realms of normal for his age, devpt etc. As commented above, however, if he were at school and less well behaved at the end of the day, would they ask me to pick up early?

flippetygibbet Tue 03-Jun-14 20:30:26

Can you not reduce his days...sounds like its a bit much for him...my ds also an early riser and I couldn't do afternoon sessions for this reason, would be too tired and I reduced his mornings down to 3 a week- they are at school so long that a term of less structured time isn't going to do him any harm....much nicer to be at home with mum/going to the park before the baby arrives

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 20:35:47

Sudden he does have a black out blind. His clock is set for the sun to come up at 640am in the week as DH is up and getting ready for work and DS can hear him so it feels unfair to set the clock later when he can hear the house is awake IYSWIM. I set it for 7am at weekends though! He is very good about staying in his bed/bedroom till the sun comes up, will read, play etc nicely. Assuming it's after 6am when he wakes we leave him to it but if it's earlier than that (v occasionally) we will go in and say it's still nighttime, see the stars are still on your clock etc. On the very rare occasion it's say 3 or 4am and he's perhaps woken from a bad dream he will always re-settle. If it's more like 545am he won't re-settle. It is v unusual for him to wake pre 6am though.

Before he started at preschool, he was never ridiculously tired (or badly behaved) if he'd only had a quick catnap in the day, even if we'd had a busy day. So I suppose part of me is a bit sceptical as to exactly how tired he is at preschool, although I acknowledge it can be a tiring environment. And I certainly had no impression based on his tiredness levels/behaviour that he would totally struggle with an afternoon session, hence why I opted for it.

Littlefish Tue 03-Jun-14 20:37:44

If there is a qualified teacher or early years professional in the setting, the ratio could be up to 13 children to one adult. If there is no qualified teacher or early years professional then the ratio can be up to 8 children to one adult.

If there are 26 children there with 2 adults and one of those adults is needed to support the behaviour of one child, that obviously leaves the other adult dealing with 25 three year olds. Factor in that the final 10 - 15 minutes of the day are easily used up helping all the children put on coats, bags, find water bottles etc. You really do need as many adults as possible.

youwish Tue 03-Jun-14 20:41:46

Could the nursery give him some quiet time and encourage him to sleep?what is so bad if he sleeps at nursery?

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 20:42:54

A couple of people have suggested 2 full days at nursery would suit me better with a new baby. Too right!! My decision to move him to preschool was totally made with DS2's interests at heart. I/we believed it would suit him better doing short sessions than a full day, and also to have something of a daily routine ahead of starting school. I also thought a preschool environment would be better preparation for school than nursery. The fact that the preschool is entirely free of cost was a happy by product!

Hopefully tomorrow's chat will shed a bit more light on the extent of the problem, and whether it is more tiredness or misbehaviour, and indeed how serious any aspects of misbehaviour are.

Starlight he does attend 5 days. I've not asked myself re doing fewer days, but know another mum was looking for her DS to do 3 sessions and she was told they don't really do it. Worth considering/exploring though. Also like your suggestion re bringing lunch forward. Have already started quiet time on sofa before we set off but perhaps can extend this a bit and see if I can snuggle him to sleep on my bump! (He does love a snuggle!)

Littlefish Tue 03-Jun-14 20:45:41

In my local authority we are not allowed to insist on children attending 5 sessions in order to access funding. We do suggest fairly strongly that children do a minimum of 2 sessions in orde to get the most out of nursery. It might be worth you speaking to the local authority funding team to find out if you are entitled to the flexibility to have your ds attend eg. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday in order to give him a day off mid-week in order to catch up on his sleep.

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 20:49:50

CharlesRyder that is really interesting that you had such a positive experience with your setting. I think you have touched on the key issue for me, that I don't really feel that preschool have handled this in a supportive/sensitive way. I can take on board any info about my kids' behaviour (although it can be hard to hear if it's bad behaviour), but I think that making you feel your child is respected/valued/cared for at the same time can make all the difference to how you cope with/react to that information. The old nursery raised issues with me/us as appropriate, but there was always an emphasis on the child, what's best for them, and positive comments about the child's character. It also felt more like a partnership and working together to resolve things, whereas this has felt a bit "we have a problem, you pick him up early".

I think the main focus tomorrow needs to be: what is the extent of the problem, what have you tried/considered so far to alleviate the problem, what have you tried with other children in similar situations, is the problem confined to the end of the session or is there a more general problem to consider/ tackle? Hopefully this discussion will lead to some positive outcomes and better understanding by me of what is actually going on.

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 20:51:11

Thanks for that info re funding/sessions littlefish smile

AveryJessup Tue 03-Jun-14 20:56:55

Unless his behavior is truly awful and he is biting or causing disruption, then I can't see why they can't handle it for 30-45 minutes. What if he was just disruptive generally rather than just tired? Do they ask any children who are 'troublesome' to leave rather than working on the behavior with parents?

He can't be the first 3 year old they've had who is tired in the afternoons so ask them how they have tackled this with other children. Seems to me that they are just going to the default 'pick him up early' rather than working on engaging him and managing his behavior for a short time until pickup. My DS was tired starting out in preschool too but got used to it after a while. No-one suggested picking him up early and since you have another child's school hours to consider then surely they could be more considerate.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 03-Jun-14 20:58:28

Could you take him out / drop him down to a couple of afternoons this term and then up him to 5 days once he's doing mornings in Sept? Pre-school may be amenable to this if they are finding him hard to deal with when tired.

ThisBitchIsResting Tue 03-Jun-14 21:02:24

My son is due to start preschool in a few months. I have already discounted a couple of the good ones near me as they would only offer afternoon sessions. I know my son still gets tired in the afternoon if he doesn't get a nap - even if he does tbh, he's a bit past it in the afternoons! And he's the sweetest child, really quiet and sensitive, but morphs into a shouty screamy throwing-things-around out of control nightmare when tired. So I've gone for a place that offers 3 mornings, building up to 5 after a few months.

I appreciate you didn't realise your son would struggle with afternoon sessions - but rather than blaming staff, in your shoes I would pick him up early and be sweetness and light with them. It is as you say only for a few weeks, don't bite your nose off to spite your face. It will be far better for him that way, and moving him elsewhere will just further unsettle him.

I teach Reception and lots of them still want to sleep in the afternoons and are good for nothing learning wise, and need a lot more patience than in the morning grin

I think if you persevere with keeping him there, his experience of a school environment will become one of battle and misery, which is just the worst possible outcome IMO. It's preschool not childcare, so it is different to nursery - if the staff feel he's not getting anything out of it, there isn't much point in him being there and it's detrimental to his and others' experiences.

DeWee Tue 03-Jun-14 21:09:07

Ds tended to act up when tired, and personally I think taking him home before the behaviour deteriorates was actually better for him as well.

Because the other children won't label him as "the naughty one" (and they will), he won't feel that the session's been bad because he's finished on a bad note, and it won't become a habit that he's badly behaved at preschool.

As it's only half a term, I'd pick him up early.

Uptheanty Tue 03-Jun-14 21:12:12

There is a difference between wrap around childcare providers and nurseries who model themselves on a school environment.

If your nursery only accept children from 2.8 months who are fully potty trained and keep school hours then they provide a different service than providers who accept children of all ages and abilities, with that comes expected standards that should be made clear to all parents front he offset.

These kind of nurseries do not provide napping facilities and they will expect the children to be alert and receiving the educational and social benefits of nursery attendance.

If your child doesn't meet that criteria they may feel that it is in his best interests not to continue his afternoon session if he's not awake as he is not receiving the benefit of the facility.

Pre school os not a babysitting service but an educational environment in place to stimulate your child.

You are well within your rights to challenge any suggestion they make to you and you as the dc's mother may be right in your evaluation!

There is the possibility they are to quick to implement a solution that is not in your ds's best interest long term, they are not god and may have made a mistake in their evaluation.

As you have had a positive experience so far it can be challenging to come up against difficulties and deal with them effectively.
I know, regardless of my knowledge that I have made many mistakes with my responses over both my dc's education because my response is one of a mother -- emotional!!!

My posts are only written with the aim to try to give you a different perspective upon which to view the situation.
I have had lots of great advice on here and have found it to be helpful to manage my responses to situations with a positive outcome.

Do you want to your ds to stay at this nursery?

If you do, think about the reasons why.

Go in tomorrow with some bullet point responses written down.
Be open to alternative viewpoints and try to understand the reasons why they think an early pick up will help, is this a long term solution? How long do they want it to continue? Will they keep you up to date communicate with you and discuss the matter again in the near future?

If you are still unhappy then maybe look into alternatives.

flowers good luck.

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 22:11:29

Thanks uptheanty, appreciate your comments and will take on board your tips re tomorrow. I do take issue with the suggestion I consider preschool to be a babysitting service, however! In fact I think I've made it clear I consider the opposite, ie it is a stimulating educational environment, as that is why I chose to send DS there as preparation for school. His interests have been central to my decision making, and will continue to be so. If this means picking him up a bit early, fine. If it means moving him back to his old nursery, fine. My short-term issue is that the preschool appear to have been quick to ask me to collect him early with no evidence of other avenues being pursued. My long-term issue is whether this is the best setting for DS, given that I have not been impressed with the manner/attitude of a couple of members of staff, and the way I perceive DS to be treated by them.

If I were to move DS it would be because I am not convinced this setting is right for him (weighing up all factors, including upheaval of moving him again) and I would only consider moving him back to his old nursery as I was always so impressed and happy with them. I wouldn't really consider a further new environment. I also have to bear in mind that DS so far seems very happy at preschool, but I am keen to understand more about his behaviour there and whether the setting potentially has an impact on this.

insanelycheerful Tue 03-Jun-14 22:20:32

Couple more quick points, on phone so hard to respond personally...
I am certainly not "blaming staff". I am just wondering if there are other avenues to look at or if collecting early is the only option.
Me picking up early literally saves them 20mins at the end of the session. So no great difference. But I am more than happy to do it if it makes a great difference to his experience and also helps preschool out as I am conscious my child is not the only one there! Will go into tomorrow open minded and take it from there. Been v helpful to read all responses.

SueDNim Tue 03-Jun-14 22:29:21

I'd give him lunch at 11.30 and then go for a drive. But I don't think that is a terrifically practical or cheap solution.

ThisBitchIsResting Tue 03-Jun-14 22:45:10

It's not for long. He'll be fine in Sept, just be careful not to over analyse - he's too tired for preschool so he needs to be picked up.

As an aside - the first two nurseries I looked at only offered funded places from 3-6pm for the preschool room! Not sure how many children benefit from that or are prepared for school, as it is intended for. But the nursery can charge full price for morning sessions as that is what the majority of parents want.

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 07:41:29

ThisBitch - you are very wise to say don't over analyse, as I suspect this is what I am doing in some ways. I think I need to try and look at the early pick up/tiredness as an issue in its own right and try to sort that, separate from the other issues I have, such as feeling that DS is not liked/treated particularly nicely by some members of staff (as an example I have witnessed him be reprimanded in a very brusque manner for something that I have seen other children praised for. I let it go at the time but it has played on my mind).

3-6pm sessions for preschoolers seems crazy btw!!

ThisBitchIsResting Wed 04-Jun-14 07:53:02

If I had to go to work something like 8pm-2am, I'd probably be tired and ratty. And the people I work with would naturally form an opinion on me based on that. And probably avoid me / treat me less patiently than people who are alert, on the ball and happy. It's not your fault, not your son's fault and not the staff's fault, but I think it's a probably quite common route to disaster. Worst case scenario is as a pp said, your son gets used to being 'the naughty one' and persists with bad behaviour even when not tired. The more I think about it the more important I think it is that you listen to the staff and collect him early. Persistently naughty very young children always have good reason to be so, ime. It's our job as adults and carers to try to steer the behaviour and put them in situations where they will thrive.

insanelycheerful Wed 04-Jun-14 09:20:21

Point taken. It seems the staff have already labelled him to be honest, so anything I can do to alleviate that is a good thing. Not sure I want him in a setting where they are so quick to do that though.

Will me getting him 20mins early really solve the problem? I was doing that for 2-3weeks before half term and it doesn't seem to have created any more positivity that I can see...

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