English toddler going to a Halte Garderie in France(6 Posts)
This is probably the wrong place for this post, but I would dearly love some advice/help/tips. My OH and I are English and live in France, and our DS (20 months) has just started going to the local halte garderie (like a nursery), but he's not adapting terribly well. I wasn't expecting him to take to being at the garderie immediately as he's only ever been cared for by us, so its a HUGE step for him. The problem seems to be the language,. The amazingly patient ladies at the garderie have worked out that if someone holds him and speaks in English he calms down, which is a massive break through, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how we can get our DS to enjoy his time at the garderie.
Not the wrong place. We've just sort of gone through this with DS who's coming up for 18 months although DH speaks French to him at home and it was more about being left with a bunch of other children!
First thing - did you do a settling in period where you stayed and did gradual separations? I think that really helped DS settle although he was quite keen in the toys from the start!
Second - are you sure it's the language? Could it be being around other children? The noise level? Being held and spoken to in English may be giving him individual attention and distracting him from what's really up.
Third - does he see you speaking French to people out and about or to friends so he knows it's a 'friendly' language or does he just associate it with things like the paediatrician who tends to jab him with needles? If he doesn't have positive associations then it will all be a bit scary and overwhelming.
Are you in an area where they're used to children who don't speak French at home? I've found the staff both at crèche and halte garderie very clued up when it comes to dealing with the language issue.
FWIW a friend of mine put her non-French speaking children in the garderie. For the eldest, who struggled a bit, she just dropped it, but then she had twins!
So they went quite regularly and it was v. good for them before they started school.
It's normal for a child to struggle to start off with I think, my DS did and he is totally bilingual - I agree with pp that it's not necessarily the language.
I'm not sure how you can get over this - but if you don't, you will have the same (or worse) when your DS starts school at 3.
I would persist, and ask if you could stay for a bit and get him involved in an activity, and then build up the time from only an hour at a time to a whole morning. Also I would guess that going regularly (rather than occasionally) would help too.
For some children, crying from being separated from their mum or dad when going to creche/halte-garderie at such a young age is a normal reaction - you just have to think of it as a great compliment that they need and love you unconditionally that they have a hard time not having you there. It helps to have regular hours at this age - does indeed make it harder when a child does 3 hours one day, 2 days off, 6 hours another day etc, so if possible the same routine during the week can help.
From experience, language could be an issue, but so could the amount of noise, the number of new faces, the new surroundings, so I wouldn't put it down to language.
Just witnessed on Friday at creche a child aged 2 who struggled major time and cried most of the time for quite a few weeks. That child turned around to mum when she went to collect and said something to her (non I don't understand Japanese you see). She started to cry and when asked why, well it was because her child said they did not want to go home and it made mum so happy. Hopefully you will be that mum in a few months.
I agree with other posters that lots of things could be the source of your DS' unhappiness at being left at the halte garderie and it's quite hard to work which, if any, of the possible issues that have been identified is the problem and, even then, it can be difficult to do anything much about it.
Thank you for all your replies. We did have a bit of an improvement, which coincided with a visit from the grandparents who took DS off our hands for a bit, so I agree, its not the language its more the separation. I know that DS loves being outside, so perhaps its the being inside? Or the noise/new faces etc. I shall try to find some friendly people here who could perhaps take DS for a hour every day so he gets used to being with other people. The Directorice told my OH today that we should give up and that DS is too young. But we disagree, and as jamaisjedors said DS will need to go to school at some point! Oh well, onwards and upwards!
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