(not) settling in at nursery worries(9 Posts)
DS2 is 3 and a week and a half ago started at nursery (where his big brother goes to school - so very familiar to him). He's quite shy, has only ever been looked after by me and DH and is very clingy so I never imagined it would be easy but we are all finding it so hard. For the first few days I stayed with him but remained uninvolved and his brilliant and lovely key worker played with him and DS enjoyed it (while I was in sight). Then I started to leave him for short periods. He cried when I left but I waited outside for a few minutes and each time the staff came out with photos of him laughing and chatting saying how he had settled after about 5 mins. When I pick him up they say how brilliantly he's been doing and if at any stage he has got upset they've managed to distract him. The thing is since getting back yesterday evening he seems constantly tearful and looks very worried saying he doesn't want to go back ever. He doesn't have to go as I'm a SAHM but I'm ready for him to be at nursery for 2 short days a week, having been looking after either DS1 or DS2 full time since DS1 was born. My head tells me to stick at it, to give it at least 6 - 8 weeks (this is how long it took DS1 to settle from memory) but my heart is worried I'm doing some sort of long term damage to him as he seems to upset about even the thought of it. Advice please.
Anyone? It's not the fact that he's upset when I leave him that I'm worried about, it's the anxiety it seems to cause him when we're not even at nursery, working up to the next goodbye. Is this normal? He cheered up eventually today but I'm dreading him asking tomorrow if he's going on Monday as I know it'll start him off again. DS1 didn't do this, but was about a year younger when I settled him so less aware of time and the future etc.
If he hates it find a new nursery?
I know that sounds a bit but it could just be the staff/nursery.
If he's clingy it might not be the right environment for him
OP I wish I knew the answer. Mine is also 3 (and 3 months) and doesn't like nursery. In his case he's actually been going since age 2, two days a week ( I work p/t so he has to).
I have the same issue as you, the staff say he settles within minutes and joins in, plays, chats to everyone etc. But when he's at home he will ask in the morning 'where are we going?' (As different things happen each day depending if I'm working) and then usually says 'we're not going to nursery'. If it is s nursery day he always says he doesn't want to go.
It's heartbreaking but I don't know what to do. I was thinking of moving him but surely that's a big wrench too and he is at least familiar with the environment of his current one so I'm torn.
I think in your situation I would definitely give it more time to see if that helps - after all it's still very new. But unfortunately I think there are kids who are just really happy at home. DS just likes hanging out with me really, he's never happier than on my home days! Lovely in a way but it's worrying as there's such a consensus that they should go to nursery from 3 to get ready for school.
That must be tough OP, and tougher since you know he doesn't have to go.
However, in the long run him being at nursery 2 short days a week is likely to be beneficial for both of you, so finding a way to make it work that isn't just agreeing to keep him at home is worthwhile.
Firstly, can he explain why he doesn't want to go back ever? I know hes only 3 but it might be worth trying to explore this with him... is he scared of someone? Does he not like the food? Does he feel he doesn't get help when he needs it, for example when wanting to go to the toilet? Or (and this might be the most likely reason) is he just not used to not having an adult's fairly undivided attention and is not liking the 'sharing' aspect of nursery?
Personally I'd try and address any issues he might raise when you ask him why he doesn't like it, and then give it a bit more time, and then consider either an alternative nursery or alternative hours - for example doing 3 mornings rather than 2 short days.
FWIW, my oldest was like this (and eventually settled) while my youngest loved nursery from the off and used to run off without so much as a backward glance and seem ecstatically happy to be escaping me... and I'm not sure which felt worse!
It is very early days. It is a massive change for him. I really think you have to give it more time. If he is settling when you are away that is great progress.
It is worth bearing in one that little ones don't always have the complexity of language required to talk about their emotions and words like "ever" don't have much meaning. If they can't say "Nursery is OK, but I like home best and can't really be bothered going out today". They may say "I don't want to go to nursery".
Your DS will have to learn at some point that it is OK for Mummy to go away, she comes back, and other people can be fun and caring too. As long as he is not genuinely terrified or anything I think you need to give him a little longer to get used to this huge change.
Hugs OP, this is so hard. I would stick with it for now. You seem to have confidence in the nursery and staff. I have a ds who is too a sensitive little soul and he often gets anxious and teary at any changes. I indulge this at home, lots of reassurance and cuddles, try to help him find words to his feelings etc, whilst sticking with the change if that makes sense.
We had a terrible nursery experience (posted on it here in may) and so our second go at nursery was always going to be traumatic but he soon settled.
It seems like your nursery is a good one, so I would be inclined to stick with it abit longer. If he is happy there, perhaps extra reassurance at home will help him?
I really feel for you and the little, it is so hard.
Thanks so much for your kind replies. We both feel better having had a rest on the weekend. I think the nursery is nice and I'm amazed at how quickly the key worker has formed a bond with him. When I have asked him why he doesn't want to go back he just says it's because he doesn't like being away from me . Over the last week I have spent a lot of time in the nursery with the other children and it's a consolation to see how happy they all are - none of them are wandering around upset, unengaged or saying they want their Mum, so yes, I'm sure it's a case of having to just push through it. I'm going to keep the sessions shorter this week so he doesn't get so completely overtired. I plan to pick him up when he's still having fun so that he maybe doesn't want to leave right away and also maybe bring a little treat for him.
Thanks again for your messages
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