Nursery says DD(21mnths) behaviour isn't normal....worried

(37 Posts)
Haddock73 Tue 20-Aug-13 17:58:24

DD is very bright, lovely and kind.

She has recently started pulling tantrums when she doesn't get her own way, but nothing that I think is out of the ordinary - collapsing to the floor crying no, tears, etc when she doesn't get her own way sometimes and it's always short lived.

Anyway, she has recently become hysterical if you try to take away certain items of hers - her favourite teddy, cardigan and sandals.

She literally cries and cries and becomes hysterical if these items are amen away from her. Even when it's very not she insists on her shoes and cardigan being on.

I took this to be normal toddler behaviour - being attached to certain items etc and just a phase. If distracted enough, she will give up the cardigan, shoes etc.

Nursery raised their concerns about her "odd" behaviour, and said mother children bring a teddy to nursery and have this odd attachment to certain items of clothing.

I've been worried about it and don't know what to do. DH thinks its normal toddler behaviour. dd is very smart (lots of talking, can count to 10, sentences, good attention span etc) and I'm wondering is this a sign of autism? Or are nursery making a big deal out of nothing?

Haddock73 Tue 20-Aug-13 18:00:15

Sorry for the typos:

Nursery said no other children bring a teddy etc not mother

rubyslippers Tue 20-Aug-13 18:04:08

i am amazed the nursery are making a big deal out of this (in isolation)

lots of children have strong attachments to objects - nothing strange in itself

DS was obssessed with CDs and CD players at this age and would watch them for ages spinning

did they really use the word odd????

Dackyduddles Tue 20-Aug-13 18:05:44

Just described 3 kids I know. I would guess normal and a phase.

Sezzy100 Tue 20-Aug-13 18:06:08

I would say this is perfectly normal- my little girl went through a phase of being attached to a pillowcase and she insisted on dragging the fleabitten thing everywhere. But it was a phase. As are the tantrums which she seems to be growing out of now she can communicate and understand more. She does still throw the occasional whopper but controlling their feelings is all part of normal development.
She goes to nursery 4 days a week and some days insists on taking a toy with her. I let her and at nursery when she starts to play and forget about it the staff just hide it away in her bag to take home. I'm not sure I see any problem with her having something she wants like a toy or a hat or anything and there are far bigger battles to be had. If you ask me it's nursery that seem to be acting a bit odd here.

From the few things you have said I think this sounds like normal toddler behaviour.

For example - I looked after one child who wore wellies all the time at her age, and could not be prised out of them even on the hottest of days. Another was obsessed with wearing the same hat day in, day out.

Nursery sounds a bit crackers TBH, lots of children having phases of being very attached to things.

DS is 4 and will still throw himself to the floor and strop if you try to take a favourite digger off him. He is annoying sometimes but essentially normal grin

PoppyWearer Tue 20-Aug-13 18:06:41

Sigh. Just typed a long post to the effect of: sounds normal to me.

And Mumsnet crashed.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry. They can't have much experience of toddlers if they haven't seen this before.

ChunkyPickle Tue 20-Aug-13 18:07:38

No other children bring a teddy? Really? My nursery has a little box so that children can bring whatever it is that they need to comfort them, and DS is allowed special dispensation to take a toy car to hold during quiet time because it keeps him from getting upset.

I'm no child psychologist, and you couldn't diagnose at a distance anyway, but a little bit of attachment isn't unusual in my opinion - only you (or someone qualified who's spent time with her) could tell if it's something more unusual than that.

Haddock73 Tue 20-Aug-13 18:10:29

Oh thank goodness, I thought it was normal as well! Thank you all. Yes they actually used the word "odd" and seemed concerned.

I thought it was normal for toddlers to have strange little attachments, t certainly doesn't stop her playing with her friends, reading, eating, sleeping etc, so was a it shocked they made an issue out of it.

lovelyredwine Tue 20-Aug-13 18:11:45

Sounds pretty standard toddler behaviour. I think nursery are being a bit odd if that is all she is doing. Most of the children at dd's nursery bring a toy. When she was going though a clingy phase they suggested we bring a favourite book or toy to comfort her and we just carried on.

trinitybleu Tue 20-Aug-13 18:12:54

Totally normal. My DD took her teddy to Nursery all the way through. Had to be firm and say he wasn't allowed at school!

Also had phases of only wanting to wear one dress, a particular Alice band, watch one film over and over etc.

WireCat Tue 20-Aug-13 18:13:09

Have they not dealt with small children before?!

Sounds totally normal to me!

Themobstersknife Tue 20-Aug-13 18:13:43

At DD1s nursery, they had a big long list of all the attachment toys /comforters against each child's name. I always felt DD was odd because she didn't have one! I felt bad that hers said 'thumb' and everyone else had some beloved little teddy!

Haddock73 Tue 20-Aug-13 18:17:20

Thank you all, that's exactly what I thought and really threw me when they raised this concern. To be fair, they made a very big deal when another toddler bite dd on the finger once, no mark, dd wasn't concerned, yet they made it a huge deal and worried me when they first told me "mummy, we have something to tell you and you're not going to like it. Something has happened to dd....something bad..." When I found out another child bit her finger, I was like "oh, okay, we'll that's what kids do right? I'm sure it'll be her next week".

Maybe they just over react to things too much?

runningonwillpower Tue 20-Aug-13 18:17:42

My son used to do exactly this at the same age. He would go berserk if you tried to take off his cardigan or jumper - I've seen him on the point of heatstroke and he still wouldn't take it off. He wasn't bothered about shoes but his trousers just had to be long - the mere sight of shorts would lead to a total meltdown.

I think he just didn't like bare arms and legs. Who knows?

In any case, it was a phase. He was a perfectly normal boy and is now a lovely man.

ViviDeBeauvoir Tue 20-Aug-13 18:17:56

I think it sounds perfectly normal. Recently at my DD's old nursery (she's 4) they raised an issue that she'd got really upset when another child had gone into the shoe box and put on her shoes and started walking around in them and said it was 'strange'. My response? Well, what do you expect? We talk to her about not taking things without asking, so she expects the same. She is perfectly 'normal'.
My Ds1 is 2 and obsessed with vacuum cleaners (asks to look at pictures of them on the Internet, likes to look in shop windows as we go past etc.)
FWIW DS1 is very advanced language wise but also has he biggest tantrums ever and I've learned to pick my battles with him (today he kicked off because his fish finger got broken hmm )
Luckily nursery pretty much only see the good side of him and are supportive when they don't.
Your LO sounds perfectly fine to me and it sounds like you're doing the best you can so I wouldn't worry too much!

Crocky Tue 20-Aug-13 18:18:19

My dd always had to have her teddy in nursery. They got to the point where she was comfortable knowing teddy was in her bag but would always demand to have it for quiet time.

dyslexicdespot Tue 20-Aug-13 20:32:14

DS refuses to take off his rain jacket and must wear his 'robot wellies' at all times. He is 22 months and we think this is perfectly normal.

maja00 Tue 20-Aug-13 20:40:48

I'd actually be slightly concerned that the nursery staff don't know that it's normal for toddlers to have attachment objects confused Are the staff generally young/trainees?

Alanna1 Tue 20-Aug-13 20:43:46

I have tended to find the senior staff at my nursery observant and their comments helpful - doesn't mean yours are! I'd take your DC to the GP and ask for an observation referral to the appropriate specialists. Often these things are nothing, but nothing wrong with having someone's hunch investigated. A friend picked up autism really early through an obseervant nursery worker and she says that the changed focus of her support workers made a massive difference.

Sounds normal to me. At that age the world ends if something is taken away. Even if its a dead bug or half chewed sandwich. What's odd is that they don't appear to have any idea of normal range toddler behaviour.

yawningbear Tue 20-Aug-13 20:49:28

Agree with maja00, I would much more concerned that the nursey are labelling such behaviour as 'odd'.

In terms of child development and attachment it is completely healthy and appropriate for a young child to have attachment objects, it can be a really good strategy to encourage as lovelyredwine's nursery suggested.

sittinginthesun Tue 20-Aug-13 20:56:28


Both mine had teddies they were very attached to (still sleep with them now(.

At that age, ds1 only wore his yellow wellies. Even at a wedding in mid summer.

unlucky83 Tue 20-Aug-13 21:03:01

My DD1 insisted on wearing a fleece hat ALL the time at that age the middle of summer...and in bed etc - battle to get her to take it off to have a bath!
Sounds normal to me - but you could get them to be more specific about their concerns and have a chat with HV to put your mind at rest...

Haddock73 Tue 20-Aug-13 21:42:57

maja the turnover is very high, dd has been at nursery for 6 months and apart from three ppl who work in different classes, every singe one f her teachers has left within a month. This particular teacher has been there a few weeks amd seems nice enough, but english is not her first language and I wonder if maybe something's she says is lost in translation?
alanna I personally would feel silly taking dd to the GP based on this one observation. Mine and dhs gut feeling is she is completely normal, in fact if anything on the brighter end of average, but the comment concerned me and as she's my pfb I wanted to check with other mums whether this should be something I should be worried about.

The general consensus sees to be there's nothing wrong with a toddler being attached to her teddy or being dramatic about keeping her cardigan on.

I'll keep a eye on it but my gut tells me she's bright, kind, socialable, has a number of best friends" this all sound like normal toddler behaviour to me.

maja00 Tue 20-Aug-13 21:46:04

Wow, have you got any other childcare options? This does not sound like a good place.

From your description of the staff turnover I would be looking for another nursery or a CM. I don't know if there might be a regional variation in staff turnover, but in the two nurseries DD has been in I think the turnover might be 10% a year (mostly retirement or not coming back from maternity leave), not pretty much all of the staff in 6 months.

DD's nursery encouraged us to give DD a muslin regularly when she was small so that she would get attached to her "muzzie" and therefore have a washable and replaceable attachment object.

LingDiLong Tue 20-Aug-13 22:16:49

Your daughter's behaviour is so normal, I'd actually be quite concerned that any childcare worker with a basic qualification and some experience would describe it as 'odd'.

I say that as a mum of 3 and a childminder. I also think that level of attachment to objects when a child is in a childcare setting is even more to be expected because a)being away from their parents might lead to them needing a bit of extra security and reassurance and b) they're in an environment where EVERYTHING has to be shared, none of the toys are their own. I'm sure for some kids this means they feel a need to have something of their very own.

Is there any scope for looking elsewhere for childcare?

meandtheboys Tue 20-Aug-13 22:37:45

Well you just described my DS1 at that age. He had a teddy called Milton who he was so in love with from about 20 months. He slept with it, carried it around, took it everywhere with him. He even took it to nursery school with him when he first started just after his third birthday (August baby). He just kept it in his bag and wanted to know it was there. The teacher was aware of it and said it was fine. He never needed to get it out his bag, just knowing it was ther was enough for him to feel settled. I wouldn't have dreamed of removing that from him.

It's certainly not out the ordinary. In fact attachment to transitional objects has been shown to be beneficial at improving kid's confidence and wellbeing whilst away from their care givers.

He's 6 now and never mentions Milton! Although he does still sit on DS's drawers in his bedroom !

DS2 is 19 months and whilst isn't attached to a particular object or item of clothing, he does have a meltdown if I remove anything from him, be it his shoes, his cup, whatever he has in his hands etc. It's normal toddler behaviour. DS1 was exactly the same and is absolutely fine.

I am shocked the nursery would say it was odd.

Katnisscupcake Wed 21-Aug-13 10:55:03

Another one here who thinks maybe you should rethink the childcare facility that you're using. Particularly as at this age children absorb what goes on around them like sponges. Their view of her as 'odd' may end up making her feel different from the others which is definitely NOT what you would want. She is totally normal.

Monitor it and if anything else happens, I would definitely have a look for somewhere else.

LIZS Wed 21-Aug-13 11:16:24

Dear me , dd was terribly clingy between 6 months and about 3, was very tricky to leave anywhere. Took her teddy along as a comforter and even when she started school she had a special tissue ! She too would cry hysterically for no apparent reason. She is 12 now, perfectly normal if a bit shy at times. Do they not have much experience of toddlers , suggest you look for another setting if possible.

cory Wed 21-Aug-13 12:14:03

Nothing wrong with a toddler being attached to a comfort object and something a little bit dodgy about a nursery that goes into overdrive over a bitten finger. How are they going to cope if there is a serious accident one day?

insancerre Wed 21-Aug-13 12:32:46

I would be looking for a new nursery for all the reasons already mentioned.
I work in a nursery and am dismayed that there are still nurseries out there that just don't seem to have a clue.
The behaviour your DD is showing s more than likely a reaction to the many staff changes in the nursery, To her, her teddy/cardigan etc are the only constants.

Haddock73 Wed 21-Aug-13 14:00:46

insancerre I didn't think of it like that, perhaps she's insecure at nursery because of the high turnover of staff.

Otherwise she seems very happy there and a reluctant to take her it and restart the settling process as she loves it there, and talks about her little friends a lot, but I am very glad to hear her behaviour is normal!

hettienne Wed 21-Aug-13 14:17:19

Staffing is the best indication of whether a nursery is any good. That level of staff turnover, your DD being insecure there, and their lack of knowledge and understanding of child development is all pretty concerning. Have you read the Ofsted report?

Haddock73 Wed 21-Aug-13 14:51:14

The ofsted report is 'good" all 2's, on par with all the other nurseries in the area. Not sure why all the staff are leaving, although they do seem to be very over worked and asked to fill in reports for the children as late as 8pm at nit (software system).

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