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Toddler anxiety at play groups / child care

(8 Posts)
wakarimasen Mon 19-Aug-13 14:23:40

I hope someone might be able to give some advice as I'm getting really despondent with my 22 month old DS.

He started with a child minder at ten months old and took a long time to settle. He's been up and down the last year and still cries when I drop him off (1 year later). The child minder it's starting to suggest that he can't cope in the busy environment with four or five other children, he doesn't want to engage in any of the activities they do (painting, baking, fitness routines etc) and there can be days when he cries / whines all day.

He only goes to child care two days a week and when he's at home with me, he plays happily on his own but likes to choose activities himself. He's generally not interested if I try to encourage him to draw or bake etc. He's very happy at home, talks confidently and I've no concerns about his development generally. We run into problems when we go to soft play or organised baby classes as he's very clingy and won't leave my side, he won't talk to anyone and can become anxious / tearful very suddenly. This has been going on for at least six months so I'm starting to feel like it's not a phase.

I don't know what to do. I think my child minder is going to suggest he leaves and I'm starting to feel like I can't take him out anywhere.I'm due another baby in January and I'm not sure how we're going to manage.

Any ideas to help him would be much appreciated.

shiningcadence Mon 19-Aug-13 14:35:32

I think some children are just more 'nervous' than others. My youngest was like your ds. I'm a sahm so we didn't experience childcare but had we, I know she would've been the same as your ds. Parties, toddler groups etc were a nightmare. She just clung to me and cried. It can be exhausting - and embarrassing. My elder 2 were totally the opposite - so confident.

She is now 3 and although she is a little unconfident in new situations and sometimes becomes 'shy' (hiding her face etc) with new people, overall her confidence has grown so much. I think me just continuing to take her to the parties, soft plays, toddler groups etc have given her the confidence to realise that being around lots of people is normal and she didn't need to feel frightened. She started nursery in June and luckily a couple of children she was familiar with were starting the same time so she felt comfortable and familiar. I also found talking about nursery/toddler group etc in a really positive way made her feel positive about it too.

As for your childcare, maybe he would prefer a quieter home with fewer children and less structured activities. I'd have a think about contacting other child minders in the area to have a chat, maybe even visiting them, to see whether their environment might be more ideal.

Good luck smile

wakarimasen Mon 19-Aug-13 14:54:14

Thanks shining. It's encouraging to hear that this might not last forever. I think I'm terrified of changing our child minder because he took so long to settle and he's so terrified of unfamiliar people!

I can totally relate to the feelings of embarrassment. People keep asking what's wrong and there's usually no answer :-(

awwwwmannnn Wed 21-Aug-13 13:47:05

have you taken him to the doctors to get his hearing checked out??

My friend's DS was like this, very confident and talkative at home, but completely changed in social settings or places where there was a lot of activity/noise/people.

This behaviour went on for quite a while and she ended up taking DS to the doctors - it turns out his ears were quite blocked, and when he had a hearing test there was a small loss of hearing. he has since had his ears cleaned out etc, can hear better and his "shyness" has now completely gone.

it seemed that in loud social settings he couldn't hear that well so had no idea what was going on half the time, so if children were running past him or playing it made him nervous as he only knew what was happening if he could see them. it made him very clingy, as bless him he was too scared to get in the middle of it all.

not saying this is what's wrong with your DS, but wondering if its worth getting checked out?

hettienne Wed 21-Aug-13 13:50:10

Maybe look for a new childminder? If his current one is very busy with lots of activities, maybe you could find one that doesn't do school age kids at all and just has a couple of younger babies and a more laid-back, home-based approach?

sarahloula Wed 21-Aug-13 19:55:21

You have my deepest sympathy. My dd was incredibly shy and clingy and I was starting to get very worried. I work full time but dd was either with my husband or mum. I consciously started taking her to soft play regularly and sure start groups. She was very clingy/cried for a while but each time got better and better and she is so much better, will talk to strangers and play with other kids. Good luck.

CreatureRetorts Wed 21-Aug-13 20:20:11

He's not settled with the cm though? I'd take him out while you're on mat leave and think about a preschool or another more chilled CM.

wakarimasen Thu 22-Aug-13 19:46:07

Thanks so much for all the advice. I think we'll see how things go and could possibly look at alternatives when I'm on leave. Have started reading "the highly sensitive child" which was recommended on another thread.

I'll try to see if our HV can come out to discuss / look at hearing possibly.

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