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How long for huncker down and batton down the hatches?

(40 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Mar-14 20:42:42

I know you cannot possibly answer this for our pre-school child to be but can you for your own child?

How long for huncker down and batton down the hatches?

Also, once you did start to 'socialise' did you find toddler groups were OK? What about having people with kids over or going to their house, is it easier to meet people on home turf or not?

Thanks so much.

Goldmandra Sun 02-Mar-14 20:53:31

Also, once you did start to 'socialise' did you find toddler groups were OK?

I can't answer for adopters but as a parent and a long time childminder, I wouldn't attempt a toddler group with a vulnerable child unless it was very small, quiet and structured. They can be social, emotional and sensory minefields, even for the most confident parents and robust toddlers.

Hels20 Sun 02-Mar-14 21:05:43

Hi Italian

We didn't go to anyone's house - not even my parents - for almost 3 months. It was what we were advised by CAHMS. Now, almost 4 months in, we go to my parents' house about once a week and just one friend's once a week (on average). Otherwise, I have friends come to me or I meet them out somewhere - DS is much happier in his own environment and I find he is better with younger children.

In another month or so (so after 5 months of living with us), I am going to introduce going to my brother's house - and after 6 months of him living with us, I will be a lot more relaxed about visiting people's houses.

For the first 4 weeks, we didn't see many people at all - my best friend, my parents and my brother. Go slow.

As for toddler group's, it very much depends on your child. Our DS hated a small music group I took him to once a week (only about 10 children) but is now more comfortable.

So - I think about 6 months until we will feel comfortable taking him to people's houses that he isn't familiar with but not sure about taking him to parties unless only a very few number of people there.

Just see how it goes - but I really wouldn't commit to doing anything for the first 4 to 6 months. And I would strongly advise not visiting anyone for the first 2 to 3 months - meet people on neutral territory if they can't come to yours.

Just my view! It has worked for us though but every child is different (as you know)!

allthingswillpass Sun 02-Mar-14 21:11:21

Our LO is resilient but I didn't do any formal groups for 3 months. We just went to the park, fed the ducks, played on the swings & built sand castles - all new experiences.
Our other outing during this time was to grandparents.
We kept it simple and repetitive, no supermarket or house visits and if people "popped in" we would tell them to speak to us not him and kept it to no more than 10 minutes.
Not only do they need to attach to you but also to their new home.
Every child is different some are more resilient than others and you can only judge once they're home IMO.

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 02-Mar-14 21:27:13

DD was resilient, but no one (apart from mil, but that's a long and painful tale) came to our house for about 4 weeks. We made short visits to my parents. Our SW pointed out that people coming to our house may be unsettling for DD - the last people to come into her home (i.e. us) took her away to live with them.

We started going to our local sure start centre after about 3 months, but this was a very small group of children. We also did bounce and rhyme - again less than a dozen children.

I wish I had been firmer from the start about boundaries with DH's family but that's hindsight for you!

Angelwings11 Sun 02-Mar-14 22:41:47

I too kept things very low key in the first three months (trips to the park etc) and began to go to groups after this. I found toddler groups were awkward as you are asked birthing questions etc and also I felt awkward myself as I was still 'new' to parenting (and still getting to know my LO). I then joined a toddler music class and found it great! It was good, as there was a focus and I could share in a positive experience with my LO. I would thoroughly recommend.

Angelwings11 Sun 02-Mar-14 22:48:41

I forgot to add. We invited our family over to meet our LO two weeks into placement....big mistake! Whilst they were there she appeared to be ok, however after they left she had a three hour rage...screaming, eyes rolling etc. after this, we visited family for very short periods of time. We also were very strict upon funnelling, no one but DH and I held her, fed her etc and we did this for a number of months. I suggest that you take things very slowly, as our LO was effected when SW, HV's visited.

fasparent Sun 02-Mar-14 23:32:27

All children will have different needs and attachment's been FP for over 38 yrs. Never has been a problem for ANY of our children who have gone on too adoption . In our case think its due too our very very large family and children feeling secure and loved being used too lots of close people around them , they feel I believe the same when they move on too their new family's loved and secure, believe me there has been many. So they pretty well settle fast, meet new family sooner. Important if one can too explore social past then use judgment too evaluate meeting's with other's. Know with all ours they would have felt excluded and isolated as were used too large and social family , But will help if you have a little history every placement will be different .

MyFeetAreCold Sun 02-Mar-14 23:47:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Italiangreyhound Mon 03-Mar-14 02:33:38

Thanks so much. Very helpful.

It sounds like some people found it easier to meet others on neutral ground and some found it easier at their own house.

We were told by social worker lockdown for at least a month.

Our new LO is not a toddler but a pre-schooler so maybe not quite so unsure of groups as has expereinecd them but it will all be new. I am just worried they will be awfully bored with just us!

Angel what is funnelling as in * very strict upon funnelling*??

Thanks one and all.

Angelwings11 Mon 03-Mar-14 07:09:08

Funnelling is when you are the only person to feed, dress, hold, give comfort too. The principles behind it is to help to establish to your LO who the primary carer is/are. This can be difficult with eager relatives or do not understand that you are still a stranger to your LO and who needs time to bond and then later attach to you. Here is a link that I found quite useful.

http://www.parentdish.co.uk/mum/10-things-adoptive-parents-wish-their-friends-and-family-understood/

Angelwings11 Mon 03-Mar-14 07:13:40

Forgot to say I have a pre schooler. When the SW says to keep things low key for a month, I think you can still take them to the park, on a walk and go swimming (this is great as it promotes skin on skin contact). Look for ideas to do things indoors by visiting sites such as: the nurture store and the imagination tree. I would also investigate theraplay activities to do at home as most are easy to implement.

Meita Mon 03-Mar-14 09:41:45

Italian, I don't think you need to worry much about boredom. Your new child will have plenty to make sense of and deal with - new parents, new sibling, new home, new room, new toys&books, new rules… loss of previous carers… that's a lot to take on. You don't need extra diversions added on to that!
IF DC has been to toddler groups regularly, you could probably start going again pretty soon, in the sense of keeping some continuity to some part of their former weekly routine. But bear in mind that just because they are of an age to have experience with toddler groups, doesn't mean they have ever been; and that a toddler group may be a completely different experience for a vulnerable child, than it is for other children.
It would make sense to research the groups ahead of time. I take DS to a music session which is VERY small - 2-3 children. That kind of group would be relatively accessible I should think - I'd be able to talk to the group leader AND all the mums ahead of time if needed, too.
And remember, kids that age don't need much in order to be stimulated and not bored. A picnic in the garden can be a great adventure! IME (DS who is my BC is a preschooler) it's more likely that YOU get bored, than DC!
And you can keep boredom at bay easily by introducing some 'experiences' which your DC missed out on, as AllThings said. 'Feeding the ducks' will be an interesting feature of an outing for any pre-schooler, but can be an exciting highlight and main purpose of an outing if it is something they have never done before!

As you know, I'm not speaking from experience ;) but just trying to think ahead. One thing I'd keep in mind is, indeed, YOUR possible 'boredom' or rather, lack of structure to the days, which I personally would struggle with. With DS I found groups and classes a life-saver, as they provided a reason to leave the house, set times, a structure, and usually if you include the time to get ready, and to get home afterwards, even a short activity would have filled up a large chunk of the day. So, if you won't have any kind of 'scheduled' activities like that, at least initially, make sure you still have some sort of 'schedule'. And some (small, low key) plans that will get you both out of the house every day. (You might have 'forgotten', the amount of running around kids can do at this age!)

I assume that it might help your DC to have such a 'schedule', too. Not too many choices initially, no asking 'what would you like to do today?' but rather 'today we're going to the park in the morning, will pass by the post-office on the way back, have a small lunch at home, then stay at home and play until it is time to pick DD up from school.' So DC knows what to expect, IYSWIM?

Good luck with it all, it's very exciting!

MyFeetAreCold Mon 03-Mar-14 14:17:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Italiangreyhound Mon 03-Mar-14 20:19:22

Thanks Everyone all very helpful.

Yes, I am also thinking of me getting bored!

Our new little one has been socialised well and I would not explore anything they had not yet experienced, but I will go slow! I will stick to the rules but have also heard some kids so want to do other things, so need to work out how quickly we might venture out.

Also, as DD is 9 we will go out each day to and from school and we will see people on the way, it will be quite hard for people not to want to stop and chat so I will alert friends by email, if you see me just 'wave'!! Don't come over!

Is Funelling for one parent or both parents*angel*?

mrsballack Mon 03-Mar-14 20:54:16

Our little ones had a very social foster home. There were always people coming and going and they went out and about a lot.
We were advised to continue with nursery 5 mornings a week for Noodle but only do three as that's all the funding covers, plus it gives us more time together. they have been home for 5 weeks now and have only met my parents. They stayed at a friends and saw them three days before they headed back west. Nibblet in particular seems to be very friendly to strangers so we are delaying meeting more new people a little longer. Tbh I am going crazy, and I'm looking forward to getting out to see friends.
We haven't gone to toddler groups as little one starts nursery after Easter and I don't see the point in getting used to a group if we can't go.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 03-Mar-14 22:27:17

We didn't do much for a couple of weeks but my parents came to visit a couple of times. DDs FC were horrified at the idea of being at home all the time and made us promise to take DD out every day as she had done with them. So we did but mostly short trips to the shops etc. Funnily enough our very best restaurant visit was after about three weeks - DDs a nightmare now!

We didn't start toddler group until about six weeks in, and even then we just did an hour rather than the full session. After about two months we did another toddler singing thing too, also quite a short session. Although DD was used to other children in a family setting, frequent contact visits meant she had completely missed out on the "normal" toddler stuff, and really enjoyed it. But then we were lucky that she had a stable placement and hadn't moved from pillar to post before coming to us.

Buster51 Tue 04-Mar-14 07:12:42

Wow we clearly weren't advised on any of this! DS is 4 months into placement now. He came from a very busy house in FC. We kept it low key for a couple of weeks, after that point we took him out & about, shops, park, swimming etc, I was always the one to look after him (he's 4) no matter what situation we were in.

But we did meet family etc a lot sooner than a lot of you have posted, he absolutely loves it, he pops to the shops with his grandparents (& of course they give him a little treat as grandparents insist!) & different family members regularly pop around weekly, he especially loves when the male family members (uncles, grandad) come to play as DH is away in the forces so misses this "boy time".

I would say that because DH is in the forces this gave us an excellent opportunity for DS to bond with me & even when DH returns home now it is always "mummy".

We also have play dates, once a week with his best friends from school, we either visit theirs, or they come here (the same two friends). Again coming from a house with lots of children he loves this time, we make pizzas, pancakes & just let them play as they like.

He is always a little reserved in other houses at 1st (surprisingly he wasn't with all of his grandparents) but after one visit he is his usual chatty self. For our DS he loves this balance it seems, mummy to himself id say at least 5 days a week - no other visitors, & company those other days from parents & grandparents, from a quick cuppa or a trip to the shops.

We seem to have definitely done things differently to what has been posted, but DS is coming along wonderfully. So I suppose it all depends on the age of the child, the placement they were previously in & the child's overall personality. Others more experienced may not agree, but it seems to work well for us :-)

Buster51 Tue 04-Mar-14 07:22:37

In fact out of all of those people, the only one DS seems to "struggle" with being around (perhaps struggle is completely the wrong word!) is DH. He LOVES this as they have so much fun, but I sense occasionally he doesn't like another man close to me being around. He sometimes can't "split" himself he feels he has to be with one or the other, every now & then when he returns he also uses him (like some of you may remember in my desperate early days!) to get a reaction out of me. Of course I no longer react, lesson learnt!

I think he both loves it & is confused by it, perhaps my attention being split (well it is still always DS) but maybe that's how he sees it.

I believe this is quite typical of boys around the ages 3-6 in general, so it isn't something I'm over worried about at the moment. Have any of you came across this?

Sorry to hijack your thread for advice! I'm not sure any of my advice has helped, I hope so :-)

KristinaM Tue 04-Mar-14 10:08:50

We have done roughly what hels said

I think one month lock down is WAY too short

And it doesn't matter if they have come from a busy foster home. The foster carers were not trying to build attachment between themselves and the child, they were trying to get the child to fit into their existing family routine.totally different objectives

I wouldn't be doing nursery either. There a reason we don't send one week old babies to nursery to have fun with other babies. Think of your child as being a new born emotionally .

Adapting to a whole new works will be very very tiring for them. They don't need extra stress. Nor do they need distraction from the job of attaching .

I know it's hard because adoptive parents ( usually mums ) want to do the whole maternity leave thing that they've seen their friends do - having lunches and coffees, inviting everyone round to admire and cuddle the new baby, going to toddler group to show off the new arrival, swapping stories etc

Fusedog Tue 04-Mar-14 11:25:39

We didn't see any one for about 12 weeks also we only let family visit one at a time.
Even now ds is still very clingy

redfishbluefish Tue 04-Mar-14 20:24:16

We have been fairly low key. A couple if brief visits by relatives to our home and a few meet ups at neutral venues to see a few friends. I do try to go out with DS (he's 3) sometimes, but we stay local (park, shops, etc). No photos to anyone other than immediate family at the moment. Still trying to figure things out!

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Mar-14 21:59:21

Thanks one and all.

Kristina any more tips? It is so hard to imagine this little boy who is used to groups and outings is like a new born? I know you are right, it's just so hard to imagine it.

I am worrying he will be bored and long for his old life with foster family!

KristinaM Wed 05-Mar-14 07:05:12

He's like a new born in his relathioship with you. Well not really, because he is months behind a new born. He doesn't know your voice or the rhythms of your day.

Foster carers have busy household with their own routines and their main aim is to get the child fitting into them.

Your main if not only aim, is to get the child to attach to you. And then to his dad.and then to his sister. Very little else matters. Getting him to eat your food, bathe as often as you do, brush his teeth like you, changing his hairstyle or his clothes or his manners -all of these matter very little . They will all come in time.

It's very easy to forget this as there's a lot of pressure on AP from SS and extended family. Everyone wants to boast

" when he came to us he survived on crisps and coke but now he's on a balanced diet "

Followed by rounds of applause from extended family and SW and glances of admiration from the neighbours. But if that has be achieved at expense of bonding then it's totally counter productive.

You Don't want him to grow up and behave better in your home,you want his to regress so you can reparent him and make up for all the time he has lost.

And if he has bonded with the Foster carers, he will be devastated from the loss of them so you need to help him cope with that . It's very hard to make a new relathioship while you are grieving for another.

And if he's NOT bonded with the FC, you need to ask yourself why .

KristinaM Wed 05-Mar-14 07:13:10

BTW, outings in moderation are fine. Outing to the park to feed the ducks or go on the swings. The supermarket to shop. Down the street to post a letter. Walk the dog.

Short, low key outings are fine.

You take a new born baby out for a walk in the pram.you don't take them to soft play followed by macdonalds. It's Too noisy , too much stimulation.

Foster carers take the kids to groups because

The carers like the adult company
They want the children to be kept busy
The social workers want the children to do these things because the birth family probably didn't
They don't want the children to bond with them -they know they are going to move on

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