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What is your three year old like after nursery?

(14 Posts)
Highlove Mon 09-Oct-17 08:52:08

My DD is 3.7 and does four full days (8-5.30ish) in nursery. She's been in nursery for 2/3/4 days a week since 11 months.

I have some general concerns about her - though she's generally on track and in some areas probably quite advanced (her language and comprehension is quite a bit beyond her peers), socially she really seems to struggle and to be behind her peer group.

I frequently pick her up from nursery and she's playing by herself. Most of the other kids (and certainly the girls, it would seem) are now playing together, are forming what nursery describe as 'special friendships'. Outside of nursery she has friends she plays with but can only really cope/engage of there's one or at most two others. More than that and she shuts off and plays by herself.

That's the context, I guess. I am already a bit worried about her. But she is almost without fail a total nightmare after nursery. When I (or DH - we share it) arrive she always seems happy and pleased to see us. But sooner or later, usually sooner, she will dissolve over nothing - huge meltdown, screaming, sobbing, etc. It feels like a massive, massive effort to get through the evening till bed (7/7.30) - like we're on egg shells around her waiting for the inevitable eruption.

I know three year old meltdowns are pretty normal, but I do worry that she is finding nursery very stressful. Or maybe her behaviour is very normal - I know it's a long day for her and I would dearly love her not to be there as many days/as long.

Sorry this a real ramble. My question: what is your similarly aged child like after nursery? Should I be worried? Nursery have no concerns about her.

Highlove Mon 09-Oct-17 19:30:11


TepidCat Mon 09-Oct-17 19:51:27

I didn't want to leave your post unanswered but perhaps someone with better experience will come along. My DS is a little younger but I've come to realise his personality is introverted and it takes a lot out of him being around people all day. I'm not sure there is much you can do about it. What are the non-nursery days like? I'd try to keep those as calm as possible. I have no idea if this makes any sense but I think it's fine not to be a social butterfly and to find 'joining in'/sharing/friends etc exhausting. She will find her way.

Although I feel guilty about putting DS in situations he doesn't find easy I try to think about it as what is best for the family overall.

Highlove Mon 09-Oct-17 21:00:18

Thank you. She is quite high maintenance on non-nursery days, but not to anywhere near the same extent.

I wish we could just take her out but we just can't afford us not to both work. We're looking at options but it won't happen overnight. And anyway, I guess it will make starting school easier. Just can't help feeling a 3yo shouldn't fine the day so stressful.

Della1 Mon 09-Oct-17 22:15:17

Not sure if it helps to know this but my twins have just started reception class at school and they are hard work in the evenings. They are exhausted. Lots of crying,
grumpiness etc. I think it sounds like she is tired and probably exhausted from being on top form all day and socialising. It’s not unusual for children to parallel play at this age so I wouldn’t worry too much. Also, one of my sons prefers to play with just one or two children (never big groups). It’s most definitely his personality. Keep post nursery as demand free as possible. Tv, toys, simple dinner etc.

user1488397844 Tue 10-Oct-17 21:37:01

My little girl will be 4 in Jan and only really has one friend at nursery. I mentioned this to her key worker who said it's completely normal for them to have very few or even no particular friends at this age as they can become so easily frustrated/unwilling to compromise and basically play to suit themselves. As long as she is happy I wouldn't worry. Also she can be an absolute nightmare in the evenings so I've started putting her to bed earlier which has really helped, she's great now if we don't let her become over tired.. hope this helps!

uhoh2016 Tue 10-Oct-17 22:41:14

Sounds like shes exhausted from her day it's a long time to be out the house all day for anyone regardless of age. Could you bring bedtime forwards? I understand you want to spend some time with her after nursery but surely it would be much more enjoyable for all of you if that's on the days she's not at nursery

Highlove Wed 11-Oct-17 15:41:45

Ok thank you, this is both reassuring and useful. Interested to know time you suggest bedtime being?

Highlove Wed 11-Oct-17 15:43:49

Sorry that bit about bedtime sounds quite passive aggressive. Genuinely not meant to be. We aim for lights out by 7.30 at the absolute latest, sooner if we can. It's already earlier than our friends with similar aged children do. What do you think?

uhoh2016 Wed 11-Oct-17 16:20:36

Start bath time around 6.30 or earlier if you think she's extremely tired to be asleep 6.45 -7

user1488397844 Thu 12-Oct-17 13:25:56

Sorry for late reply. My little girl has an extremely long day, 4 days a week. We leave home at 7.40am and dont get home until after 6pm most nights. She has dinner before I collect her so once we get home she goes straight for a bath/shower then she can watch tv/play for 20mins and in bed asleep for 6.45/7pm usually. Some nights we skip the shower and she is asleep for 6.30 it really depends on how tired she is!

skankingpiglet Fri 13-Oct-17 16:52:45

I'd say the behaviour is tiredness too. My DD1 is 3.5yo and at the end of a long day or if she's had a bad night's sleep we are also walking on eggshells. She's a completely different person when she's not exhausted (as am I! She's her mother's daughter). I try to foresee potential issues that may set her off and avoid where I can, try to distract if things are escalating etc.
Your bedtime doesn't sound unreasonable on the face of it, but if she's struggling and you are able to make it a little earlier then I would. Bedtime here is 7.15-7.30ish but if it's 'one of those days' I aim for lights out by 6.45-7. Any earlier is difficult I find with our schedules, and I also find an earlier bedtime can result in earlier waking which leads to another long, tired, grizzly day.

BettyOBarley Fri 13-Oct-17 19:52:34

Gosh I just came to post a thread about my DD 3.11 who has started having the most epic crying fits over anything and everything... multiple things every day.. It's utterly exhausting isn't it. I think tiredness is definitely a factor. I let her have a "girly night" with me last night as it was a day off today, she stayed up until 8.30 and has been horrific today.

Our situation is very similar - DD has just increased from 15 to 30 hrs at nursery and I think this is a big factor plus a new sibling although she actually comes from nursery quite hyper and takes a long time to settle at bedtime.

She also is usually playing alone when we pick her up but nursery have said she does have friends. She also is a bit ahead in terms of speech/comprehension and gravitated to the older kids, a lot of whom have just left to start school so she doesn't know a lot of the new ones - do you watch your DD at places like soft play to see if she seeks out new friends etc? My DD does but I have noticed that starting nursery seems to have taken the wind right out of her sails on terms of confidence and she can seem very shy and unsure of herself these days where she used to be the total opposite. It is difficult to watch.

Sorry that was long with no real advice but just wanted to say that I have one just the same! What are your other concerns you mention?

Highlove Sat 14-Oct-17 11:21:07

Thanks! It's just the social stuff really, struggling a bit in groups and not really having any strong friendships at nursery like the other kids seem to.

She's great with adults though - very chatty and people often seem quite impressed by the way she talks to them. And now you mention it, I have noticed her trying to befriend 'big girls' in the past - 6/7 year olds - who needless to say aren't that keen to play with a 3yo! Hmmm.

I guess I am reassured. Maybe we just happen to know a few really confident/extrovert kids of the same age, which probably highlights that she's not.

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