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Nursery concerned about 2.9 yr old DD development.

(43 Posts)
Marzipanface Fri 26-Oct-12 22:10:43


This is long I am afraid. I am quite anxious about this so have put some background down about my DD. I apologise if some of it sounds like boasting but in order to work out if there is a problem I have put quite a bit about what she can do at the moment.

My DD is a lively, happy child. The HVs has always said she is advanced for her age at all her checks. Personally I don't know if this is really the case but I know we have had no worries in her meeting her milestones etc. Intellectually - she could read the alphabet sounds and names, all her numbers by the time she was 2. Knew her shapes and colours. She can read some words, incredibly proficient at using my laptop and iPad. She plays games and puzzles on them which are supposed to be for 4 yrs plus.

She is vocal about her needs, chatty, enquiring and displays plenty of creativity. She was yelling today then pretending to close a glass door then miming through it to me. She loves making me giggle. She seems to be able to grasp concepts, often tells me about her dreams. She is fascinated at how things work and what they are - informed me today that the water comes through the pipes which are 'behind the wall' and then through the taps today. She is good at taking things apart and fixing them as well. She has fixed a toy I have been unable to before now. No worries about motor skills there.

She shows plenty of empathy, I've had 'head plasters' and kisses all day because I have had a nasty migraine. If me and DH have even the slightest tone to our voice when talking, she makes us hold hands and hug each other. This has diffused plenty of arguments! She has started announcing when she is 'happy' and telling us voluntarily that she loves us. Fabulous smile

However, she has always been quite shy out and about and until recently was terrified of loud noises, and too much sensory input. She claps her hands over her ears if too much is going on. I gave up taking her to a singing group because she would clutch on to me and beg to 'go home' shaking and terrified, which was quite distressing to experience. She is much better in small groups or one on one interaction. She simply won't talk to people she has only just met and I also have friends she has known forever who she is completely mute around. It is quite frustrating. Other stuff - issues with textures and clothing, certain things 'hurt'/ 'scratchy' and so on. HV suggested I leave her to run around nude at home as long as she wasn't too cold. I compromise with her. Clothes off at home, on if we need to go out. She has a soft fleece she wraps around her if she needs it.

She has started nursery, a few hours a week. Only been for six weeks. Amazingly she has settled in so well. She loves it and can't wait to go back. She seems to love being surrounded by the children as, apart from older kids who live over the road and her cousins who are 4, she doesn't have much social interaction. She is the youngest at the nursery as the rest of them are all over three.

The other day, in front of a number of other parents, as I was picking DD up, her keyworker decided to chat to me about DD's progress. She informed me that she was concerned with her socialization skills and that on observing her closely today noted that my DD doesn't actually talk to the other children and still seems to be engaging in paralell play. She asked me if DD talks much at home, if we have any concerns about her development/ interaction and seemed really surprised, almost disbelieving when I said DD plays with her cousins quite well. I asked if I could talk to her about it parents evening as didn't feel it was the time and the place. Keyworker agreed and said she has a 2 year development tick list she would like to go over with me to check that DD is meeting age appropriate goals and if there are any areas where she is underdeveloped and that they can work on. Key worker is concerned about DD not engaging with people and focusing on doing tasks such as playdoh/craft and concentrating not interacting for long periods of time.

This has sent me into a spin. I KNOW I am probably overreacting but this is the first feedback I have had about my DD in a social setting. My HV was more than happy with her progress at her 2 year check, so is there a problem? DH tells me not to worry but I am. Is there stuff that I am not seeing? Children behave differently when they are out don't they? Has she dropped behind and have I just overlooked it? Socially, what should they be doing at this age? I am guessing the nursery have had longer to observe her than the HV did.

Am I being an idiot. I feel very anxious about it all, for the first time ever as a parent.

Thank you for reading if you have got this far!

BinAndScones Fri 26-Oct-12 22:20:06

In my humble opinion, given all you say about your daughter, I would stop worrying and pay very little notice of the key workers comments at this stage.
She is still so young, obviously very very bright and has barely settled into the nursery environment, she's probably still finding her feet.
I know it's easier said, but please don't worry, she sounds perfectly fine

Flugelpip Fri 26-Oct-12 22:21:35

She sounds lovely! She also sounds very sensitive and may be shy around other children if they're boisterous. My DS is very gentle in manner and was quiet around other children - much preferred grown-ups because they were predictable in their behaviour and easy to understand emotionally. It upset him and drained his confidence if he tried to interact with his age group and got knocked back for reasons he didn't understand so he played alone a lot. Now he's three, he's getting it much more. I wouldn't worry. I do think it was crap of her to raise it with you that way. Talk to her, go through the checklist, help your DD to spend lots of time with her peer group (playdates especially) to demystify them. If she doesn't like noise, you probably haven't been at lots of playgroups and soft play. Children in large numbers can be terrifying. She'll find like-minded friends once she's had time to find them.

Marzipanface Fri 26-Oct-12 22:30:59

Thank you both of you for taking the time to read and respond so quickly. I know it was a pretty detailed and long post!

My DD did used to go to playgroups and soft play quite regularly to be honest but started around 18 months to get shy and frightened. And yes, I think it was a bit crap of the key worker to raise it like that with me as I was struggling to put on wellies and raincoat on DD and with everyone around. But then I wondered if I was being oversensitive.

I think I worry because I was painfully shy when I was a child and preferred reading and imaginative play by myself than dealing with other children. It sounds awful but I found other children boring sad

As a result I ended up have few friends and being quite friendless all through school. Part of me desperately wants my DD to be totally the opposite and not go through the rejection and self esteem issues I had to deal with on a daily basis.

Viewofthehills Fri 26-Oct-12 22:32:49

Are they forgetting how young she is because the others are older and she sounds very articulate and developed in some ways?
If it is a small nursery she may well not have found anything on her wavelength yet. If she plays well with her cousins who are older it may just be that she has more in common with them.
She sounds lovely.

KenDoddsDadsDog Fri 26-Oct-12 22:38:17

If she has only just started nursery them this sounds very normal to me - she will be getting used to the fact that they at times can be very loud !
Just as an example, my DD is 2.10 and has been at nursery since she was five months old. Has her little friends, mixes but is quite shy in new situations.
Last week we went to the first birthday party held by one of her nursery class. My DD and her two friends who are boisterous and mischievous were totally overwhelmed and sat at the table holding hands. Wouldn't dance or anything. This week however they have relived the bloody party every day IN THEIR COMFORT ZONE
So give her time to settle and don't worry! Six weeks is nothing smile

Marzipanface Fri 26-Oct-12 22:42:59

I did point out to key worker that she is a lot younger and most likely not as socially skilled, her response was to point to a boy and tell me that he was only two months older than my DD.
I don't know. I probably need to just calm down.

KenDodd sounds like my little girl. I had to take her home from a party the other day because of the noise and so on, yet when she gets home, she starts dancing and running around pretending she was still there! Do you think maybe they just observe for a while then sort of practice at home?

catkind Fri 26-Oct-12 22:46:48

Huh? My son was playing around more than with other children till around 3. (And still much of the time at 3.5.) Quite normal still as far as I can see, his nursery workers weren't worried or anything. And they commented on his amazing concentration skills - sounds like your dd is also doing great at that!
These darned tick-lists. They are often ahead in some things and behind in others, normal normal normal. And a bit sad that they're only looking for the things they're behind in and not focussing on what they're good at and enjoying.

Flugelpip Fri 26-Oct-12 22:49:08

Someone pointed out to me a while ago that many very successful people are introverted and the world needs them! It's superficially easier to be outgoing and 'popular' but growing up is hard for everyone. I was shy and reserved; I worry about DS being the same, but he's himself and he'll make sense of it in hs own time. They're not us and they won't relive our lives. she'll have other problems grin. I think 18 months to three is a shy time as they become more aware of others. The key worker sounds like a twat, tbh. Two months is a long time at that age.

Notquite Fri 26-Oct-12 22:49:31

Is 2.9 too old for parallel play? My children are older, so I may not remember accurately, but I do remember my friend's daughter (July baby) didn't play with other children until Reception class. Now a sociable teenager.

My DD1 went to nursery at 2.6. She loved the staff and the activities, but it was a while before she engaged with other children. I think it's perhaps a first-born thing - she was very talkative & was used to the enthusiastic response of adults to her chatter. DD2 was less talkative & very shy with adults, but made friends easily with other children. They are both perfectly sociable at 15 & 12.

DD1 had a thing about new or very slightly uncomfortable clothes. DD2 was extremely sensitive to noise. Nothing about your daughter sounds remotely worrying.

KenDoddsDadsDog Fri 26-Oct-12 22:49:47

Yeah at that age they role play a lot - three embarrassed mothers at a party wildly dancing to Agadoo , then they do it at nursery home time !
She sounds fab - a good key worker will encourage her to join in and make sure she's ok. I really wouldn't have much angst about it , she will be fine.
The clothes thing is also normal - one of my friends DDs had to have her clothes inside out as she couldnt stand seams. Then one day she was ok.
I was also a bookish kid and have similar anxieties but your children are a combination of lots of different things!

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Fri 26-Oct-12 22:53:04

Goodness me! She has only been there 6 weeks! She sounds lovely and totally normal!

golemmings Fri 26-Oct-12 22:55:20

I'm another one who says don't 2.10 dd was really shy, wouldn't join in with gym or music classes but sat on our laps sucking her thumb, wouldn't talk to the play group leaders that she'd known since she was 3 weeks old...

And then she turned 3 and suddenly joining in was ok; it was even fun. She started swimming lessons. we met a friend of mine in the village last week; dd didn't know her but was keen to chat and even took m's hand to lead her across the road.
I have no idea what changed but being 3 gave her lots of confidence.
Apparently when she's 4 she won't be scared of the gruffalo!

Halfcups Fri 26-Oct-12 22:57:33

Oh dear sounds like the key worker knows very little about how young children learn, interact and so on. Very unprofessional and thoughtless to broach it with you. How horrible for you to get such negative and ill informed feedback for your first progress report. Your daughter sounds just lovely. You recognise some difficulty she may have in noisy situations and you re addressing it. You sound very insightful and reflective. Unfortunately not the key worker....
Take the opportunity to talk to the key worker and also the line manager. The whole thing has not been handled well. I wish you luck x

Marzipanface Fri 26-Oct-12 22:57:50


I knew you would give me all some perspective. MN is brill!

Thank you everyone. I was bit nervous about posting but I am glad I did now!

Wolfiefan Fri 26-Oct-12 23:03:02

My DD is 2yrs 10 months. She HATES loud shouting and often hangs back in social situations until she has decided how she feels about it. She will play next to rather than with other children rather a lot. (She will make eye contact.)
Your post does seem to suggest she's quite advanced. (Or maybe my LO is lagging behind!) Perhaps other children of her age don't interest her as they don't play quite like her.
I'm struggling to post on my iPhone so I hope that reads as helpful and supportive as I'm trying to be!

Marzipanface Fri 26-Oct-12 23:07:17


Yes my DD does the same thing. Hates loud noises and hangs back but I was pretty sure she plays with as opposed to alongside but perhaps not.

KenDoddsDadsDog Fri 26-Oct-12 23:08:52

See, this is why MN is so good! Dive in.

Wolfiefan Fri 26-Oct-12 23:19:15

Sorry. I wasn't being clear. I meant that my dd was only just starting to play with others. I thought that was quite usual.
Perhaps she plays differently at nursery? She could still be settling in.

BackforGood Fri 26-Oct-12 23:34:57

If your child's KW has any concerns about your child though, she has to raise them. She would not be doing her job if she didn't. The way / timing she raised them was all wrong, but she is right to mention them, and to ask you more about how your dd is at home. That's good you could reassure her about playing with other children, and that you could mention that this is the first Nursery type situation so she may well be adjusting, but, once again, the KW is right to suggest you look at a developmental profile together to see if there are any areas that your dd might benefit from having a 'focus' on for a while. `
Don't get me wrong, from what you say, it doesn't sound as if there is a lot to worry about - you will demonstrate that together as you fill in the profile, but maybe, with the Nursery clearly being so on the ball, they might be able to give your dd some support with her sensory processing issues?
I wish more Nurseries chatted with parents when they first had concerns themselves, albeit, in a better managed conversation of course.

100mph Sat 27-Oct-12 00:33:05

6 weeks is quite early to make a judgement - not sure if the key worker has discussed her views with any other staff members - how experienced is she? Maybe parallel play at 2.9 is late - but I would have thought it depends on the child's circumstances. The other little boy in her class might have more siblings at home/ play with a greater variety of his peers outside the class/ have been in nursery longer than your daughter.

My son started nursery last month - he will be 3.6mths next week. He is v. articulate and used to playing with about 5-7 children on our street of various ages. Although there are only 8 children in his class he barely mentioned their names to me until the last week or so although did clock his teachers. He now refers to various boys as his friend. I do believe he's been interacting with them though although this has probably been secondary to his engagement with the adults and the activities/ objects to play with (no toys as such as it's Montessori..)

If she's a bit reserved it would be worth checking to see what they're doing to support her - e.g. small group/ partner activities/ games that would help her get to know other children a bit more directly to build her confidence/ interest in them. A bit of very gentle nurturing and time is probably all she needs.

Separately I was interested in your refs to her reactions to noise/ clothes/ busy situations etc.. My DS1 who is otherwise quite brave and boisterous has always been very sensitive to noise and also has a real issue with socks/ shoes. I've read a couple of things relating to similar symptoms. One involved mothers referring to 'sensitive' children- they echoed the descriptions you gave above re. clothes etc.. They noted that while their kids' situations involved challenges - (Whether practical like the ones that you mentioned - but I also think they referred to possible tantrums when the kids appeared to be over-stimulated) they also seemed to lead to children with particular gifts - heightened emotional awareness etc.. I have no idea whether this is a recognised 'condition' for want of a better word - or whether it applies to you - I just remembered it because I tried to compare my son to the symptoms they mentioned and he had a couple but not most of them. I also think heightened sensitivity may be a symptom related to gifted children. Don't take my word for it - pls do google - but I similarly vaguely remember checking it for my son. He's bright/ unusually articulate etc.. but your DD appears more advanced re. letters /numbers so may be worth checking.

I would remember the nursery needs time to get to know her as an individual as much as she does the other way - they may well revise their views in a few more weeks.

hope that's helpful - pls excuse awful grammar - too late for me to do better..

Marzipanface Sat 27-Oct-12 10:53:09

Backforgood I know the KW has to raise issues, I really do. The point is it has made me anxious.

Maybe they are really on the ball about it.

midseasonsale Sat 27-Oct-12 21:32:57

Shes only been at nursery 2 mins! Not long enough to settle in.

sittinginthesun Sat 27-Oct-12 21:55:02

Your DD sounds lovely. smile

My eldest ds was a very sensitive child. Almost mute with strangers, little eye contact, very vivid imagination. He had so many quirks - hated enclosed spaces, even shops. Held back and didn't join in play in groups.

He's now a very bright, popular (but sensitive and deep) 8 year old.

It is worth speaking with nursery regularly, but if she is happy, then I'm sure all will be well.

smilesintherain Sat 27-Oct-12 21:58:01

Sounds to me like she is doing great and perhaps just a bit overwhelmed by nursery and all that comes with it. I'm sure she will find her feet.

However..and I don't mean this as an area of concern...just something that may help. You mention she struggles with some sensory stuff. Is it worth speaking to your HV or doctor about this and whether there is any kind of referal that could be done (if warrented) to see if she needs a bit of help in this area? I imagine nursery is pretty loud and has a lot going on - could that be putting her off integrating as much as she is clearly capable of? I don't mean this in a scary 'somethings wrong' way..more that there could be some stuff out there to help her along the way. For example, I know there are products like socks with no seams in soft fabrics for children who have these challenges with clothes.

My 15 month old is the complete opposite - developmentally delayed and a sensory seeker. He likes loud noise, textures and seeks out sensory stuff. We see an Occupational Therapist anyway and I tentitively brought this up (thinking she would think I was a crazy neurotic over googler!) and her advice was fantastic. When I talked everything through I realised that things I thought were behavioural were likely being influenced. For example he was constantly pulling my hair and had to have his hands in it when he woke at night, which I though was a comforting 'mummy loving' thing. Nope - sensory! By letting him pull on ribbons tied to our table during the day he is pretty much over it. Same goes for his attrocious sleep - by wrapping him from the arms down in a swaddling blanket he is so much happier - he needs light pressure around him.

Just a thought. I really don't think you have anything to worry about, but I am sure that there are professionals out there who have great tips and product suggestions to help her with clothes/loud noises etc. I only say it because the suggestions we got were so simple and really did help (much to my surprise!)

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