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Starting nursery - need advice!

(26 Posts)
MintyLizzy9 Thu 14-Apr-16 10:29:35

Hi all

DS 2.3 has started his nursery intro sessions (one hour slots)in the last couple of weeks, just an hour at a time, first couple I stayed but he went off into another room within first five min and didn't come looking for me or get upset so the last couple I have left him to it and gone out. First time he got really upset in the last ten min of his hour, this morning he was sobbing before I'd even put his bag down! I stayed for five min but it felt like I was just dragging it out for him so left him getting cuddles from one of the nursery staff. Please tell me this is totally normal, I kind of know it is but sat round the corner in the car crying thinking that he's thinking I'm gone for good. Thankfully most kids never know the feeling of someone walking out never to return but his last three 'Mums' (birth and two foster) have done in his eyes. I feel so guilty someone please tell me to get a grip!

He is soooo ready for nursery, he's making so much progress catching up and I really do think this is the best thing for him and will be that final push to help with his speech, now the one thing that he is rather behind on apart from only fucking eating sausages! but trying so bloody hard with. He will just be doing his free 15 hours a week term time until I return to work next year so on paper it looks like a good balance for him, in reality mummy guilt is kicking me in the teeth sad

Poppystellarcat Thu 14-Apr-16 11:17:00

It is perfectly normal. You are not a bad mum but you will feel incredibly guilty. You'll probably also spend most all of your time whilst they are at nursery stressing about their tears whilst they will have got over their tears within a few minutes of you leaving. Honestly, they will be ok. I have been where you are and it is really really hard as, like you, I was racked with guilt about Dd thinking I had left her for good (she also had 3 previous primary caregivers). She'd been with me for about a year before she went to nursery aged just over 3. I had lots and lots of tears from her plus some days where there were no tears at all (although not that many to start with!) Once she was in nursery she always had a great time, telling me all the things she'd done / played with when I went to pick her up.

She was and is fine (now 6 and loves school). Please don't beat yourself up about this smile

Fwiw Dd took her comforter toy to nursery with her everyday and it went everywhere with her. This seemed to help a bit. I also collected her with a buggy for her to sit in as we walked home, plus her baby bottle - which she was still drinking out of as she needed the comfort it gave her - (cue lots of odd looks from other parents but quite frankly I didn't care less, I was doing what my Dd needed) and both of these things helped to reassure her, not sure why.

I also made sure I was never late to pick her up (always ridiculously early) so that she didn't panic I wasn't coming, did endless 'mummy is always coming back' reassurances and talked to her about what lovely thing we would do together once I'd collected her from nursery (go to the park, watch a DVD, make cakes, buy a comic etc, nothing fancy just something nice for her to look forward to.

Hang in there, it gets easier

MintyLizzy9 Thu 14-Apr-16 11:45:05

Thanks poppy, it's so bloody hard isn't it. Well I picked him up after his hour and apart from a big smile and a hello when he saw me he just cruised past me on a trike and had to be persuaded to leave. Little sod is going to run rings round me!

Well Monday is d day he goes for his first full session, 5 while hours agh!

Good tip re the comforter, he has a blankie that henonkybreakky has at bedtime so might just pack it and see if it helps.


MintyLizzy9 Thu 14-Apr-16 11:50:53

Err... Only has a bedtime!

Auto correct has been on the wine!!

tldr Thu 14-Apr-16 14:02:44

I'd be worried that if you give him his bedtime comforter he'll really think he's not coming home.

How long has he been home? I know it's not what you asked and I know it's not what you want to hear, but 15 (esp in 5 hour sessions) is a lot for such a little one (especially if he's only fairly recently placed as I think he might be).

I understand completely that you think it will help with his speech but honestly there is nothing more important than his attachment to you right now. Him going straight past you on a trike would ring alarm bells for me too.

If I was you I'd consider doing something like 2 or 3x3hour sessions until you're back at work.

This isn't judgemental, or meant to add to your guilt, but attachment is everything.

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Thu 14-Apr-16 14:31:16

I don't need to say what I was going to say as tldr has said it.

If you need the childcare for work then obviously you need it. But if you don't then at home working on attachment is just going to be better. And speech can catch up. Attachment can't. Sorry flowers

MintyLizzy9 Thu 14-Apr-16 14:59:49

Thanks all will speak to nursery in Monday and work out some shorter sessions. He has been with me for 5 months and so far attachment is really strong, he just REALLY like bikes grin

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Thu 14-Apr-16 15:40:48

Attachment isn't an on/off switch though - it's something that grows and strengthens over time. And 5 months is really very early days. My lo has been home for over 18 months and attachment is still growing.

But flowers because I can ssee how it would be tough to hear that.

MintyLizzy9 Thu 14-Apr-16 15:59:19

I do understand the importance of attachment and that it's a life long work and we have spent every waking moment together so far and have made great progress. I am comfortable with where we are so far and the signs are all good. He does need something more than me at the minute it's just finding the right balance for us. I really do appreciate all the advice and it has made me rethink his hours xxx

tldr Thu 14-Apr-16 16:57:35

Do you go to any groups with him? When my DS was around that age we went to a music group and a baby dance thing. They were great because we were out, but together. The dancing was with me and the drumming was on me. Sometimes he was my drum. grin

NeatandTidyTidyandNeat Thu 14-Apr-16 17:03:55

I understand that sometimes they recommend nursery for helping speech development - they did for us too. We were probably at a similar stage to you in terms of post-placement when we started. I "persuaded" told nursery that settling in would have to be very different for us. I never left until LO was calm each time which meant some sessions I stayed the whole time, and for the first term LO built gradually up to staying 2 hours three times a week. A full session would have been 5 hours, but nursery were fine about later drop-offs and earlier pick-ups. For us, a little bit of nursery was the right thing for my sanity (LP), and to restore my energy for total 1:1 the rest of the time, but I kept it to a minimum and didn't increase it much until LO had been home a full year.

slkk Thu 14-Apr-16 21:17:28

Hi Minty. Glad things are going well with your ds. My ds was 3 1/2 when placed and started school nursery after about 3 months mainly for his speech and social skills. However, we kept it to a minimum, 6 hours at first then built up to 9 until the spring when he was getting ready for reception and built up to the full 15. Nursery thought I was over the top but that was their problem. I think those days and days just pottering around together were priceless (sometimes endless) but really important for our relationship.
In answer to your original question, we did lots of activities and things that we left half finished either side of nursery (afternoon sessions so this was easy). E.g. On the first day we made a cake and took it out of the oven just before nursery and said we would eat it after nursery so he knew he was coming back. Or left a puzzle half finished to finish after nursery. Or a train set etc. I think this helped him trust that he was coming back as he knew we had things to attend to at home!
Good luck, the tears are so hard and don't get any easier (it was me crying at his school today...) but it's the same for every parent!

Kewcumber Thu 14-Apr-16 21:18:34

To be fair I don;t think attachment is a life long work (or at least not in the way that you might mean). DS is 10 and I don't doubt his attachment to me (confirmed by psychologist!) and he was pretty well attached to me after about 3 months but that kept growing for at least the first year I would say.

He has been home 2 years when he started nursery and he cried loads when he started. Everyone convinced me it was "normal" and I should just leave.

But it carried on for months and months and I feel ashamed now that I didn't have the strength of mind to say "No this is not right, he is upset". He really suffered from separation anxiety terribly (his speech was also slow and nursery did improve his speech but it came at a cost).

If I had my time again I would do it differently - I would listen to him when he was upset. I would cut down the time to a shorter session. I would stay until he was happy for me to go. I would consider stopping and starting again 6 months later.

Wait and see how he is, if the crying stopped then I think you're probably good but if it continues I would seriously reassess things.

No doubt crying when left at nursery is normal but our children have cried enough.

Hels20 Thu 14-Apr-16 21:49:45

I would echo what others say above. DS was with us for just over 5 months when DS started nursery. He was 2.10 years. First 2 weeks was 1 hour for 3 days a week, then 2 weeks for 1.5 hours for 3 days a week then 2 hours for 3 days a week. He did 6 hours a week only for 10 months.

Every child is different but I think 15 hours is a lot. Maybe build it up more gradually?

So hard to know whether the tears are normal or adoption related. It's not easy. But sounds like you are in tune with him. Good luck.

MintyLizzy9 Fri 15-Apr-16 02:35:19

Thanks everyone. The nursery are very understanding and are happy to support however they can. They assured me he stopped crying five minutes after I left and the time before he only cried for the last five minutes - both times he was rather tired (and brewing his first nursery cold/cough!). The other sessions he was happy enough to explore without me by his side after the first 10 min of me holding his hand but was thrilled to see me walk back in and runs over for a cuddle and to show me what toy/activity he's been doing.

It's hard to know what to do for the best, I totally understand where everyone is coming from and equally his pead consultant (who told me to get him in nursery asap as he was more than ready for it).

Attachment was a big concern pre placement and touch wood all is going well so far, his consultants/SW etc etc have all said how well/strong it is and I feel this way too, just don't want to mess it up by rushing things.

I like the idea of starting off with 1.5 hours three times a week and think we will do this for a few weeks and see how he gets on. I can always shorten or extend depending on how it goes.

From a selfish perspective as a LP I also need a couple of hours a week but then thinking this just makes me feel even more guilty.

We have been doing three groups since Jan where I stay and am active in his play, unfortunately my LA has put them all on hold since Easter as they are merging some services with the nhs/cutting completely. Hopefully can pick up some 'private' groups as we really enjoyed those.

JustPoppingIn Fri 15-Apr-16 09:05:14

I just wanted to say, if you are looking for some new groups, try your local Surestart centre. Ours is really good, very inclusive and friendly.

Don't feel guilty about needing a break. If you are more relaxed and rested, you can give more to your DS.

tldr Fri 15-Apr-16 09:14:06

I was coming in to say don't feel guilty about needing a break too! I think it's universal. When they were smaller I would practically throw the DC at DH as he put a foot over the threshold. I can't imagine having to do it from waking up til bedtime on my own. flowers

1.5hrs 3x week sounds like a much more attachment friendly plan.

I'd also caution paying too much attention to paeds and SWs though - they generally aren't putting attachment front and centre. (SWs often think they are, but aren't.)

NeatandTidyTidyandNeat Fri 15-Apr-16 09:36:50

Definitely don't feel bad about needing a bit of breathing space - I hear you! It was utterly amazing to me how much less frazzled and calmer I felt at bedtime on the days LO had been in nursery for just 2 hours. You will be giving your DS your full attention for all the rest of the time; you need to make sure you've got something left in your tank to be able to do that well, and that means taking care of you too smile

On the subject of other free stuff, sometimes local bookshops run free story times (and our library runs story times and craft sessions). Otherwise there's always the tried and tested "sticker book in a coffee shop" which got us through many an afternoon when I was going a bit stir crazy!

Kewcumber Fri 15-Apr-16 09:44:11

thinking this just makes me feel even more guilty bollocks to that!

You might find that 3 x 1.5hrs a week is enough for you to start with... its just long enough to go an collapse into a local cafe and have a coffee and read.

If you build up more slowly you will be able to spot if there's a problem soon enough and keep it at a moderate level if there is. If there isn;t then no worries.

Kewcumber Fri 15-Apr-16 09:45:23

And yes (about Paeds and social workers) they are looking at development milestones for non-adopted children and aren't considering the wider picture necessarily.

Catvsworld Fri 15-Apr-16 13:16:29

My daughter loves nursey to be honest she could do with a little bit more than 15 hours

It's helped to to understand that some adults can be trusted and has very stone attachments to her key workers whom is adopted herself

MintyLizzy9 Fri 15-Apr-16 18:28:14

Glad this week is over! I'm exhausted hence my tears and uncertainty. His lordship hasn't slept through all week due to a bad cold and cough. Feeling much better about it this evening and will have a chat with nursery on Monday and agree the 1.5 hours as a trail for the next month. DS was at hospital today to have invasive eye tests and I had been dreading it as I knew I would end up having to pin him down sad who knew a little person could be SO loud! He was fine a few min later when I produced the choc buttons so all in all this week has been a MASSIVE guilt fest. Going with the bollocks to that approach and planning a lovely day at the seaside tomorrow.

It's my local sure starts that have stopped most groups until the re jig with the nhs is sorted, it's really bad as so many families NEED that service, I'm lucky in that I have some cash to spend on private groups and have a car to travel but many if the Mums I meet at groups don't have that.

Anyway...the wine is chilling and DS is about to go to bed so...big girl pants firmly back on smile

dibly Sat 16-Apr-16 12:12:29

I'd start at 1.5 hours and build up when he's ready. I bet you need some time out too though.

What helped us is a 'special penny' that I give AD every nursery day (it's a penny as it's so easily replaceable!), ask her to look after it, and tell her every time she touches it mummy blows her a kiss. I wasn't sure she was that bothered til the day when I sent her in a dress with no pockets, 'but where will I I put my special penny??' We also have a mantra of mummy always comes back.

Have lovely day by the sea :-)

Rainatnight Sat 16-Apr-16 18:45:16

'Special penny' is a lovely idea smile

MintyLizzy9 Sat 16-Apr-16 19:25:00

Love the penny idea!

Wonderful day by the sea and weirdly he was gabbling to my friend about nursery, his latest new word! Hopefully it's a good sign smile

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