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Leaving a child to scream is the best way of settling a child in nursery?

(61 Posts)
nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 19:29:25

So what is the best way to settle a child in nursery?

Aibu to think a screaming 2 year old who is in her 3rd week of settling (half term in the middle) should be given a lot of attention, cuddles, etc by the staff, while her mum waits outside, and that the mum shouldn't be told to just leave her, and she would get used to the routine eventually.

catgirl1976 Thu 15-Nov-12 19:47:19

IMO they often do stop crying once you have gone, so it may be the best way. Otherwise they learn if they scream, mummy comes back

sparklekitty Thu 15-Nov-12 19:57:57

As a teacher my experience is that children often calm down once the parent/carer has gone. I do, however, make a point of asking our school receptionist to call them and let them know their LO is ok and settled. I can imagine a day after leaving your kid like that is pretty tough!

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 15-Nov-12 20:01:51

In most cases, it is better if the parents leave. It is also better to comfort the child, but not to lavish too much attention and cuddles on to them when they are upset, because to do so can make them feel that there is actually something to be worried about.

If staff and the parent are firm and consistent that things are fine and there is nothing to worry about, the child is likely to believe it far quicker than if the adults go over the top with attention.

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 20:04:09

no, the parent was gone and waiting in reception, i was in the room with my ones second day, this little girl all yesterday and all today she was screaming, banging at the door.

and she has been there for 3 weeks, 3 days a week.

and at 2 she is a baby really, I would have expected cuddles, sitting on someones knee and reading a story, bringing the toys to her to distract her etc...

the mum was crying as well by 2 o clock.

catgirl1976 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:09:21


I think the mum should have left but the staff should have been distracting the child, not ignoring her

MamaBear17 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:10:26

Just wait until she runs into the room and gives you a quick 'bye' before happily settling down to the breakfast table - It almost hurts as much as when they cry. My dd screamed when I first left her for a good month, then winged for a month, and now (6 months later) bangs on the front door saying 'go nursy, go nursy' every morning. The ladies used to cuddle her and then use distractions once I had gone and would always cheerfully accept my phone call an hour later and tell me she was fine. I think it is one of those situations where you have to accept that the professionals know best. However, you should talk to them about your concerns, it is really hard to begin with.

fluffyraggies Thu 15-Nov-12 20:10:38

Yep. They are fine once you've gone.

I've been the parent - trying to peel crying DD off my shins every morning of Yr1. Trying to peer through the classroom window to see if all was well. Asking staff if it wouldn't be better if i stayed a while with DD .....

More recently i've been the staff. Helping the parent peel their DC off their legs every morning and trying to convince them (just as my DDs teacher did with me) that their DC was honestly totally fine about 4 minutes after separation was complete, and pleeeeease go off home! smile

Iggly Thu 15-Nov-12 20:10:50


Poor child sad

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 20:17:32

some of you are still misunderstanding, I am not the parent, the child did not calm down once the mum was gone, as I was there all afternoon, and she screamed literally the whole time until her mum came. She sat by the door and did not move more then one foot away. Anytime anyone came in an out she tried to run out of the door.

The staff constantly told her "stop crying" and "stop crying then your mum will come" "your mum has gone to change your baby sister"

I know previously I have left my ds in creche in cc's, and they seem to have been much more tactile, like picking him up, hugging him, even rocking him to sleep and stuff....

You could hear the child from outside, because i went outside to see how my ds reaceted (he was fine, used to creche) and from reception you could hear the child screaming still. The poor mum, they kept telling her don't worry, it is normal, few more days, she will settle in to routine.

The nursery is one room for 2-4 years

fluffyraggies Thu 15-Nov-12 20:19:41

Sorry, wrote my post but didn't press send for ages. I missed the bit where the child was left to cry by the staff.

That is not on at all sad

catgirl1976 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:20:21


They should engaging her, playing with her and getting her to join in with the other children, not leaving her screaming by the door

Sounds horrible

Your thread title is a bit misleading which is why I think people are misunderstanding (as I did to start with)

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 20:24:06

oh sorry about title, the mum was crying and the teachers were telling her this was the best way, and it is hard etc but the kid will get used to it,

there was a nursery nurse in the room, but obviously she had to deal with other stuff as well as that child, like a child fell down needed first aid and accident report, and another child needed something, snack time etc, and although she tried to give attention she was only one person, and the other nursery nurses were outside or doing carpet time, or whatever

goodmum123 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:32:51

This is not on and is cruel. The staff have a duty to settle the child as best they can as part of their statutory duty under EYFS.
If the mother does not have to leave her then settling in visits would be more wise, where the child is left for, say, one minute and this is built upon until the child is more settled.
It seems obvious that the poor child is definitley not happy in this environment and the staff seem not to care. Personal, Social amd Emotional development is key to a child's well-being and her needs are not being met. Sorry, I advise on this subject everyday and I find it very upsetting to see children left to scream at doors.
Yes, sometimes a child can be playing on their parent's emotions but sometimes it goes deeper, and the fact that they are telling the mother it is fine is wrong when it is clearly not.

PessimisticMissPiggy Thu 15-Nov-12 20:35:40

Sounds like a crap nursery to me!

MamaB I know what you mean about it hurting that they they aren't bothered when you leave! My DD has just settled in a new nursery is more interested in waving bye bye to me from the window at at the moment! I'm happy that she's happy. It's a sign that we made the right choice of nursery.

goodmum123 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:36:25

Also, mum is crying (poor thing) because she knows this feels so wrong but is trusting people who she thinks know best.

dikkertjedap Thu 15-Nov-12 20:37:12

All children are difficult. Usually children who feel secure in themselves will settle quickly but children who feel insecure can take a (little) while.

We had a child in reception who cried every day of the whole school year. This dc started at drop off and cried almost constantly until morning break, settled until lunch time and then started again from lunch time to going home time. Not surprising the dc did not learn much in reception. Different members of staff had a go at trying to settle this dc, nobody managed. It was awful for the dc, for the rest of the class and for the staff. The parents never asked and were never told.

However, luckily this is quite unusual.

dikkertjedap Thu 15-Nov-12 20:39:03

Sorry, meant to say 'all children are different', not difficult grin.

goodmum123 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:39:46

Agree dikkerrt about secure children settling more quickly.

PessimisticMissPiggy Thu 15-Nov-12 20:39:58

dikker shock that's dreadful!

pointythings Thu 15-Nov-12 20:42:33

This should not happen. The out of school club where my DDs used to go also runs a nursery, and recently they had a little boy of not quite 3 who was like this - he took weeks to settle. The staff never left him to cry - they distracted, they sat with him on their lap, they read to him - whatever it took. They worked, and worked, and worked until finally he settled down and he is now a happy little man who trusts the people who are caring for him.

That's how it should be done. This nursery has waiting lists a mile long, and this is why.

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 20:43:43

I told the mum to just stay with the child, and then leave for only 5 mins and come back so the child knows and is reassured she is always coming back, but I don't think anyone was listening,

I think maybe they need more staff if they have new kids settling.....

It's only the second day so I am going to give it a chance, the other kids seem confident and happy. If I still have concerns later on, I will discuss them with manager.

Skiffen Thu 15-Nov-12 20:44:34

Are you happy to leave your ds there? Personally, i would be removing my own child, suggesting the other mother did the same, and putting my concerns re lack of warmth, empathy, and staff in general to the manager, in writing. It sounds awful, poor child.

Floggingmolly Thu 15-Nov-12 20:45:17

The parents were never told?? That's almost unbelievable sad

2aminthemorning Thu 15-Nov-12 20:45:25


That's appalling. I find some of these posts incomprehensible. Has nobody read Margot Sunderland although she is a bit over the top? You can't just leave a child to scream, even if it does appear to work. I'm all for getting kids to push their boundaries on the way to independence, but that is ridiculous and saddening. Leaving a child to cry for days on end is the wrong way to do it and the end doesn't justify the means. The child who is running off to get to nursery may well be enjoying it, but their brains have been taught the wrong way to achieve independence.

I deeply feel that if parent decides to have children and enjoy all the magic and charm etc., one should also be prepared for the possibility that you may be the unlucky one and have a child who is simply not ready to lose Mummy within a convenient time frame. If is truly the case then I would live on beans, darn socks and have him play with cardboard boxes, if that's what it took.

Also, I've just had a mother's help who worked in a nursery for twelve years (I'm disabled not loaded). She was capable, competent and caring. Amazing. She was also one in a long line of nursery professionals I've talked to who would never send their own kids to nursery, having seen the reality of it. I'd feel happier leaving my daughter with a nice bus driver than some of the so-called 'professionals' I've heard about, from a variety of places. Not saying nursery can't work but I'm shocked at the complacency here about a child in such deep distress.

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