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Clingy, nursery nightmare!! How can I get through this!!

(21 Posts)
mammabelleboo Tue 02-Oct-07 12:27:12

Some feedback and support would be so appreciated!!! I have a clingy 2yr old dd who is not very good at mixing with other kids and being left. All she seems to want is me - when we go to playgroup she dosn't go off and play with the other kids, just wants to stay with me. So I decided to put her into nursery for half a day a week to get her used to being without me and mixing with other kids. She has had 2 1 hr settling sessions - the first time I left her was horrendous but she did settle and seemed happy when I picked her up, not so happy the second time - crying when I collected her but they said she had been OK up til they went outside for playtime. Went to playgroup this morning as usual and she was really tearful, crying saying she wanted to go home etc. Managed to calm her down and we stayed for the rest of the session but she wouldn't let me out of her sight - I couldn't even go to the loo! I realise this must be nursery that's unsettling her and making her upset when I leave her and it's making her want to be with me even more. Am I doing the right thing in leaving her at nursery - feel so awful that I'm putting her through something that is clearly upsetting her a lot, but am only trying to get her used to being left before she goes to pre-school. Feel so sad sad. Sorry, bit of an essay!!

ELMTREE Tue 02-Oct-07 12:50:06

i really feel for you. I started my DD at pre school about 4 weeks ago. She was 2 in April. And she cries everytime i leave her. I fact when I mention the word school she has a meltdown. I will continue to take her as i think this will help in future as its not long before she will go 3 days a week. Its all a learning curve for them, but easier said than done. She has been going to a childminder for the last year while i go to work and loved it up until about 6 weeks ago and cries when i take her then aswell.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 02-Oct-07 13:03:30

mamma, i really don't believe that you have to 'prepare' children like this. Not being good at mixing, and being clingy are totally normal ways to be at 2. When you think about it, it's part of human nature; we are programmed to remain near our care-givers, because we know we can't cope alone as tiny children.

It's healthy and right.

And my belief is that you can't 'practice' like this; no point in trying to 'get her used' to being left later on. I think, if she has had what she needs NOW, which is to be with you, then she will be better equipped to be left, later.

If she doesn't have to do it, you don't have to make her smile

Instead, why not just focus on some social time with you; day to day life, so long as you get out and about, provides plenty of opportunities for her to be social, and just as importantly, watch you be social.

pooka Tue 02-Oct-07 13:54:27

Agree with HG. If you can keep her at home, then do keep her at home until she starts pre-school.
Would also add that even if she settles at this particular nursery, that's not to say that when she comes to pre-school she won't go through this all over again. Every child is different and while I could easily say that my dd started pre-school with not a tear, that doesn't mean that my ds will be the same.
You know her best. If you think that the upset caused outweighs the benefit at the moment, then give it a break and reappraise at a later date.
Good luck.

mrsgboring Tue 02-Oct-07 14:30:49

I agree with HG too. A 2 year old is a very different child from a 3 or rising 3. She doesn't need to do this yet. Separation anxiety can come and go any time under the age of 3 - it's completely natural, but if you force a separation like this, it will make it way way worse - I had 6 months after I tried to go back to work and put DS in nursery when he was 11 months - six sessions, the longest 3 hours, always traumatic. I'd never ever do it again! If you don't need to do it to go to work or some other pressing reason, I'd save your money and keep her home.

coffincarrier Tue 02-Oct-07 14:33:13

I agree with HG, 100%. I would ditch the nursery for now and concentrate on spedning time with your dd and building up her confidence.
and then try again in a few weeks or months if you feel she might get more out of it?

Vikkin Tue 02-Oct-07 14:38:15

I agree with HG. Unless there is an overriding reason for her to go, take her out. Don't do it to her or yourself.
Ten years ago, I tried for a term and a half to get my son settled into a playgroup when he was 2. Eventually, plucked up the courage to say No More. Six months later the critter went off to nursery and I had to be evicted from the classroom in floods of tears. He ignored me and jumped into his new life.
My three year old great niece starts nursery next week. She has never been to playgroup, only to a local Mums/Toddlers club once a week. I give her ten minutes before she's running the place.
Some kids are ready to jump in at 2. For others, that extra few months in a home setting, with perhaps a couple of short playdates with 1/2 other kids, makes all the difference.

Vikkin Tue 02-Oct-07 14:41:01

I should also have said...three years ago I put my 2.5yr old dd into playgroup. 'Goodbye mother' she said, that was it. She was one of those that are just ready.
Now I have to drag her out of school every afternoon.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 02-Oct-07 14:48:23

Vikkin I love the sound of your dd grin How self possessed can you be!

I hope it's been useful mamma. I so feel for you, I did this exact thing with ds when he was two, for the same reasons - and he hated it too. Luckily for me my mum was with me one day about two weeks in to it, when I was taking him, and he was in floods of tears at the mere idea of going, and she just looked at me and said "Don't put yourselves through this!" It was great to have another person there to give me some perspective and to say it was actually OK not to pursue this.

so that's what I'm saying to you today smile

mammabelleboo Tue 02-Oct-07 14:56:23

Thanks all for your advice. Am now in a quandry - thought I was doing the right thing, and a lot of people say I am doing the right thing - but now I'm not sure. I have paid a month up front, not that the money matters, and she goes for her first proper session tomorrow. I think I will see how it goes, maybe try it for a few weeks and if she is showing real signs of trauma then I will have to stop. All I know is that it was the biggest shock of my life when I went to school - I was really clingy to my mum too - as I never went to nursery, wasn't really the done thing in the late 60's (showing my age now!! blush I just don't want her to go through what I went through - being a painfully shy child and adolescent. It's so hard and stressful being a mum - you are constantly agonising over the choices you make as a parent and I am finding it really draining!! I now feel like the worse mum in the world and like I'm about to throw my child to the lions!...I suppose I must take comfort from the fact that I thought it was the right thing to do...just now I'm not so sure! Oh dear!!! sad.

mammabelleboo Tue 02-Oct-07 14:58:40

By the way, it's only one 1/2 day a week! So she will only be there for a few hours out of 7 days - now I'm trying to convince myself it'll be OK???

Vikkin Tue 02-Oct-07 15:07:04

No, no, no, don't go there (to the I'mabadmumplace). You have to 'suck it and see'.
Even after the rotten experience with ds, I still tried again with dd.
But don't turn it into a battle of wills and don't ever be afraid to say I've changed my mind on this.
If it has anything at all to do with you needing a couple of hours to yourself (and that is not a crime) why not investigate a smaller group setting for one morning a week or do a swap around with someone else.
BTW I'm a product of the sixties too (intend to buy my menopause test tomorrow). I never went anywhere until I was 5 and went to school.

legalalien Tue 02-Oct-07 15:19:16

hmm - think I forgot to actually post my post - it was about how "in my day" there was kindy at 4 and a half, and nothing before. and I'm an (admittedly early) seventies child. There seems to be a lot of pressure in the UK to "socialise" children into the nursery environment at what I consider to be quite a young age. FWIW, DS (rising 3) still has a nanny, and I've been keeping a "watching eye" to try and judge when he's ready for 1-2 afternoons of nursery - he certainly wouldn't have been six months ago, but I floated the idea with him last month (he's now old enough to understand the concept of "it's only a couple of hours", and he's announced that he wants to go "two times" a week - first hour long visit went quite well, so we'll see how it goes........

pooka Tue 02-Oct-07 17:48:23

Best thing to do is see how it goes, but not feel that if you do decide not to bother later down the line that that is a weak decision. Like I said, all children are different, and while you may have felt at sea when starting school at 4.5, others (including me) didn't, even when not being socialised earlier on.
And you could always put her into a pre-school or nursery at 3, or 3.5. Doesn't mean that it's now or never (or at least until school starts).
At the end, you have to trust yourself, and you will know better than anyone whether she's settling. Would say that at dd's pre-school/nursery, they do recommend at least 2 sessions a week to ease the process of settling. Once a week means there's quite a big gap between sessions.

Vikkin Tue 02-Oct-07 18:56:29

Yeah HG you'd just love my dd.
She's just spent five minutes on the naughty step for being extremely rude during dinner. Now she's tap dancing on a piece of chipboard she keeps for that purpose.
Roll on bathtime, 'nother 20 mins!

NAB3 Tue 02-Oct-07 19:02:58

My DD was 2.5 when she started playschool. drop offs weren't pleasant but I would look through the window and she wasn't crying. Thought all was well, wasn't, so removed her after 4-5 months.

New nursery for 3 sessions a week. The manager was lovely and really went the extra 100 miles to help my DD settle. She once laid on the floor crying for 1 1/4 hours but they looked after her. She wet her pants and they changed her. She really was amazing. Fast forward a few weeks. DD asking to go every day.

It can be done if you get the right place with the staff who are willing to help.

bubblagirl Tue 02-Oct-07 19:15:05

my friends dear son would not go to nursery he would scream and scream when she left and they would have to phone her to come and collect him this happened several times and then she stopped taking him he was 2.6 is now 3.2 and has jsut started nursery and loves it

they all go threough phases of being clingy my ds did at 2 would never have taken him nursery think i would have been more of a wreck watching him so upset yet he is 2.5 and not as clingy now hoping to have him in nursery before x mas

if it upsets your dd that much dont do it try and get some friends round and then arrange to go out and then still go play group she will eventually get comfortable with mixing but maybe at home she will be better to start with

my ds has his friend come round maybe twice a week if not then once and this helped him get used to playing with others he has done this since 1 had several friends round at different times

mammabelleboo Tue 02-Oct-07 21:29:52

Thanks a lot everyone for your posts. My gut feeling is that I've started this too early - I don't think she's comfortable with it yet and for that I feel bad that maybe i've misjudged sad.....but I've committed myself to a month so I feel I ought to give it a try as I might be proved wrong & she may settle and enjoy it, with a bit of a heavy heart, I'll take her tomorrow and see how it goes. If she has a bad time, I'll have to review it. If she gets on OK then, happy days! But if the clingyness worsens then it's not achieving anything and I will jack - her happiness is paramount and I wouldn't let that continue. Like the idea of having little friends round - I must confess, I don't do that much so maybe that is something I ought to be focussing on. Feel awful that this has happened at the 11th hour - it was her OTT clingyness at playgroup today that brought it home to me and have been agonising all day over what to do. Thanks again all, your advice has been really helpful!

ELMTREE Wed 03-Oct-07 07:40:40

i hope all goes ok today. i know its not pleasant but at the end of the day it whether you feel this place is doing her any good. As i said before my dd went to a childminder from 18 months and cried everytime but i had to go to work. she then got used to it and loved it and now at 2 and a half cries again. its just a stage. i hope!

JossStick Wed 03-Oct-07 13:01:55

She's only two! I pulled my DS out of preschool at three because he was really suffering. It took guts to tell the manager there but she was really nice and we decided to leave it for a year. It all worked out really well in the end and he loved preschool after that and now enjoys school.

Think how your heavy heart will lift if you decide to leave it - if it will then you know it's the right decision.

CheekyGirl Wed 03-Oct-07 13:41:42

Hi - serial lurker here. You may find that it's harder for her to settle doing only half a day a week. It's a whole week before she does it again, IYSWIM, which is a long time for a two year old. If you are determined to settle her in, it may be best to do two sessions a week. However, I really agree with HG and the others that if you don't have to send her, don't! Try again in 6 months!

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