Two-year old unhappy at nursery drop off

(13 Posts)
Welshwabbit Tue 17-Jun-14 09:41:02

I have already posted this in the Nurseries thread but I think it's a bit slow in there so thought I would try it in here. Hope that's OK.

My son is 2.2 and has been been going to the same nursery one day per week for over a year. He was very clingy at the beginning but after a while (several months) seemed to get used to it and whilst not skipping in, went without crying. A few weeks ago I took him in and he just screamed. It took the staff about 10 mins to calm him down. Since then he has cried at every drop off. I thought it was improving but this morning he sobbed for ages again (I was waiting out of sight).

The staff tell me he is fine during the day and when I go to pick him up he is always playing happily and often doesn't notice me come in! He talks about the nursery workers at home in a positive way and doesn't seem unhappy when we mention nursery.

Has anyone else experienced this? Did you find a solution? I am going to move him to a nursery nearer home shortly and his current nursery have said they think the problem may be that he only goes once per week. I can see that argument but it doesn't explain why he was fine for months and then got upset again.

AJ65 Tue 17-Jun-14 14:40:42

Sounds like a version of separation anxiety and it's not strange that it's suddenly come on after a period of being 'fine'. He's started to realise that you are a separate person who can leave him and that's upsetting him.

My daughter was at the same - lovely - nursery from 7 months old, but around 18 months/2 years she started to have problems with me leaving. We created a special routine - waving through a particular window and using BSL to say 'I love you' - and that really helped her.

Explain it to your son and keep it simple; you may find that you're still doing elements of it years later. I still sometimes sign 'I love you' through the classroom window if she's a bit wobbly in the morning.

nicename Tue 17-Jun-14 14:45:21

What have staff recommended?

Usually you need a bright and breezy 'bye bye darling, see you a XXX time/after snack/before lunch' etc, then bounce away, not looking back.

Then around the corner crumple into a heap of soggy Kleenex.

Has he any little pals there that you can get around for playdates? The he would look forward to seeing them (rather than dread not being with you).

it is very very normal.

Welshwabbit Tue 17-Jun-14 15:12:31

Thanks both of you. The staff haven't recommended anything; they just say he's fine later on. We have a little routine where we sit down and read a book before he goes in and then I tell him bye bye, I'll see him later and leave straight away. All I used to need to do was leave quickly and then he would get on with it! Good idea about the other kids. Partly because he only goes once per week we don't know the other children/parents very well, and now that we've moved away, none of them are near us. I will try to make more of an effort with this in the new nursery.

nicename Tue 17-Jun-14 15:21:13

Ah, once a week! I missed that in the OP.

Where I work I am down on the nursery floor quite a bit, and they take children on a 3+ session a week basis, as they find that any less and there isn't a real 'routine' for the children to settle into. There are some who cry, then settle beautifully - its very rare for it to go on long enough for the parents to pull them.

2.2 years is still quite young - but old enough for him to think 'ohoh, where mumeeeee!'.

Welshwabbit Tue 17-Jun-14 15:40:46

I am considering whether we should put him in for more days per week - we have a nanny for 3 days, nursery for 1 because I wanted to give him a bit more contact with other kids, and then I am at home on Fridays. I am reluctant to put him in for more days unless I have to because our nanny would struggle to do less than 3 days, and he gets on extremely well with her. Plus both my husband and I struggle to get back for nursery on time and our nanny offers more flexibility. The new nursery seems happy with one day per week so I'll see how it goes.

nicename Tue 17-Jun-14 15:48:24

One full day? So he will nap there ok?

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Tue 17-Jun-14 15:52:53

DS has started this and has been going full time since 6 month old. It is just a phase I think, as you say he's happy when I collect him and doesn't always want to leave. He's very nearly 2.

I just stick to what I've always done. Very quick goodbye, see you later and then go.

Hoping it will improve.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Tue 17-Jun-14 15:53:56

Sorry, just to add. A colleague's DS was like this. She ended up putting him in for a half day in the middle of the week and it made the difference. A week between visits was too long.

Welshwabbit Tue 17-Jun-14 15:53:58

Yes, he naps fine. Happy generally apparently (and this seems to be right given how cheerful he is when I come in at the end of the day) - it's just the mornings.

Welshwabbit Tue 17-Jun-14 15:54:29

Thanks, Theres - I may have to do that.

Misty9 Tue 17-Jun-14 16:14:45

Ds started nursery for 2 half days a week at 2.2 and his settling in was horrendous with meltdowns nearly every time. It's a really difficult age for separation anxiety I think.

He's now 2.9 and just upped to 1.5 days, and he loves it now. But he loves his key worker and also has a friend who does the same sessions.

We did the wave through the window thing too as it gave him something to focus on and us reassurance that usually he stopped crying pretty quickly.

Hope things improve. It's heart breaking leaving them upset, I know.

Jaffakake Tue 17-Jun-14 21:20:10

My ds has been at the same nursery since he was 10 months old. & is now nearly 3. We go through phases of this. Every six months or so he'll have a patch of crying when I drop him off. After a week it'll normally abate & it'll to back to normal.

Sometimes we can pinpoint why it happens (post holiday or a really cracking weekend) sometimes we're clueless!

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