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DS doesn't want to go to nursery after scary story - how to reassure etc?

(7 Posts)
shockedballoon Fri 02-Nov-12 10:51:38

DS is 3 next week. He goes to nursery Tues & Wed from 8-5.30 and has since he was 11mo. It's a big nursery, but has them all divided into 4 lots of different age groups. He has had his phases of not wanting to go etc, but overall he's liked it - loved some of his keyworkers loads and made a little group of friends, including one really really best friend. It is a decent nursery, I'm happy with it overall, though I do think the story was a bit ill-advised for this age group.

It was the Halloween party on Wed that's upset him. They dimmed the lights (fairy lights on) and read a story that was a bit spooky. From their description it was about a teeny tiny woman who found a bone, took it home, it belonged to someone who came back for it at night and knocked on the door when she was in bed - at this point they had to stop reading it becaused DS became so upset. He then didnt want to join in the rest of the party (dancing etc) but 'seemed ok'.

At bed time that night he was physically shaking, quite tearful and repeating over and over "I don't want the story about the little woman, I don't like the dark and I don't want to go to nursery party". Managed to reassure with cuddles etc till he dropped off after about 45mins.

Now, any time nursery is mentioned he starts to cry, gets shaky and says he doesn't want to go anymore. His fear of the dark (already slept with a small lamp on) has increased 10-fold as well - won't even go into the bathroom when I am there and it is flooded with light from the hall.

How do I solve this (fear of nursery) before Tuesday? Any story books that may help?

exBrightonBell Fri 02-Nov-12 11:47:09

I don't have any advice I'm afraid but I can't believe the nursery did that! Have you complained and asked them how to sort out the fear that they have caused?

BrightenMyNorthernSky Fri 02-Nov-12 11:50:05

Poor little thing! That does sound quite scary for a not yet 3 year old. My DS1 is a bit like this, very easily scared by things. He had a real thing about crocodiles for a while, and once nursery (who knew all about his crocodile phobia angry) read a story about a crocodile. He got so upset that I had to be called in to collect him early, I think he's have been around the same age as your DS is now. I think the next time I only sent him to nursery for an hour or two, then gradually built it back up, reassured him lots about there being no crocodiles whatsoever in this country, that it was just a silly made up story etc.

If it is unrealistic not to send him for the whole day on Tuesday, could you ask if you could at least pop in for a visit on Monday to show him that it's all "normal" again? And maybe set up a special task for him to do there on Tuesday so that he's got a focus (with my DS1, they let him help make the snack and things to give him a sense of purpose and take his mind off the crocodiles)?.

We also have the sleeping with a light on thing, and I just went with that for a while - he is 4 now and for the last week has been persuaded to sleep in the dark, mainly because he wants to see the glow-in-the dark stars on the ceiling.

We have a nice book called "The Big Bag of Worries", which does help my worrier DS quite a bit, but then he's a little older and you might find the message a bit subtle for a younger child, depending on how he is with inference in stories etc.

Good luck!

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Fri 02-Nov-12 12:09:44

I would try and keep it lighthearted, don't dismiss his fear, but also don't go overboard with the sympathy because it will just reinforce that there is something to be scared of.

Explain to him that it's a story, it's not real, it's nothing to be scared of. Pick another book he likes with dinosaurs/crocodiles/lions etc in and compare e.g. 'we're not scared of Dear Zoo are we? Because the Zoo would not really send us a scary snake, that would be really silly! We don't need to be scared of nursery's story because there aren't any tiny people and the only ones who want to chase after bones are dogs, and they're not scary (unless he is also scared of dogs!)'.

I'd also organise with the nursery to let him take in one of his books for storytime, so he knows what the story will be and that it def won't be the scary one.

LittleBairn Fri 02-Nov-12 15:45:45

WTF totally inappropriate 'celebration' by the nursery. I would be having a stern word with them about this, making it clear you expect all stories and celebrations to be age appropriate.
Dimming the lights and telling a spooky story to 3 year olds is insane I would be seriously concerned with the adults in charge judgement.

LittleBairn Fri 02-Nov-12 15:46:36

if he has a comfort blanket or teddy that helps him feel safe take that and stay with him for a few minutes until he's relaxed.

shockedballoon Fri 02-Nov-12 21:29:38

I agree it was poorly judged by nursery, however it was a children's picture book story - personally I'd've stuck with Meg&Mog (which DS loves!). They'd made such an effort with decorations and games and everything and most of them are absolutely lovely, it's just this bit that backfired somewhat.

We've actually been visiting my mum since Thursday and each night DS has said he's missing DH and wants to go back to his house and his bed - never been like that before and we visit my mum every couple of months.

I'm going to talk to him about it tomorrow morning - bring it up in connection with seeing his best friend again or something. Some good strategies there Brighten and Holy - thanks. Will also speak to nursery again on Monday as well.

LittleBairn - he's not really one for comfort items apart from his nighttime dummies which the dummy fairy whisked away a few months ago! I will dig out his big igglepiggle which he temporarily became attached to when he moved up to his previous room and see if this helps at all - will also jiggle work hours to do the drop off (normally DH).

Thanks for replies smile

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