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DTs starting preschool - advice on DD who misses mummy!

(7 Posts)
penona Mon 06-Jul-09 20:32:53

My DTs had their first taster of pre-school this morning, they are 2 and are starting 3 mornings per week from Sept. It is a nice, quiet environment right opposite our house. Up until now they have been at home with me, with help from a nanny and grandparents a few hours per week who I occasionally leave them alone with.

DS was fine, wandered in, made himself at home and played v happily the whole time. DD was a little more anxious about where mummy was, so I stayed for about 45 mins in view, then sloped off outside while she was absorbed in painting. While at home they called me as she was totally hysterical for no reason. I arrived and eventually managed to calm her down, but she wouldn't say what was wrong. I have never seen her so distressed. We all stayed and played a little while together, so she left on a happy note, then came home.

Later I asked them what they had been doing and she kept saying 'DD crying, DD crying'. I asked her why she said 'DD wanted mummy. missed mummy'. Rather stupidly I started crying (she has never shown much interest in me, preferring her dad!!!!), then realised I didn't know what to say. All afternoon she has said 'DD crying, miss mummy' and went to bed saying it tonight, quite upset still.

I am not sure what to say to her, how to comfort her truthfully - I can't say 'mummy won't leave you again' because I will (although it'll break my heart!!!) and am not sure how to reassure. She is only 2 but has good speech and comprehension. Any advice on how to handle???

BlueBumedFly Mon 06-Jul-09 22:37:09

I think the unfortunate error was one made by all of us, you sloped off. The truth is they have to see you go otherwise the trust that you will return is gone. You must ensure she sees you go waving and smiling. A fast drop is sadly the best, the longer you hang around the more she will think the pre-school is a place that you go to be together as a Mummy and DT place.

God I know i sound hard but I have been through this for over a year. My DD has been at a private, very lovely nursery since 9 months, she is now 2.2 and will allow me to leave without protest as long as she is not spooked by anything such as her key carer not being there. I was always told to ensure she saw me going. Even now if I stay to chat to the carer about anything like potty training etc she will get upset when I leave, even if it is only for 10 mins. I understand you have to settle DD in, after all this is all very new to her but as time goes on you will need to make drop offs swift - I practically have to swing in, drop the bag, cuddle, kiss and off before either of us have time to get upset!!

I have a chat with her on the way, we say Mummy goes to work and DD goes to Nursery, then she says, Mummy come back and I say yes, mummy comes back for DD later. It is like a mantra and she does seem to need the reassurance, even after all this time.

Does your DD have a 'lovely'? My DD has her pink bunny rabbit that she has in bed and I let her carry it in for the goodbye. They put it in her bag once I am gone and she is fine. Perhaps she needs something from home to keep her calm and reassured?

It is soooooo hard, I still come out and cry in the car park sometimes if I have had a bad drop off. However I know she has a great time, I get reams of photos home of her having a ball so I know she is OK during the day.

My heart goes out to you. So, big smile plastered on your face, big hug, kiss and Mummy be back later and off you go. The moment you look upset or concerned she will think you think it is a bad idea a feed off of that.

Poor pickle, it is so hard on some kids whilst others (like your DS) just skip in and are fine. We are changing rooms this week and I am totally dreading it!!!

Hope things improve for you.


AllThePrettyHorses Mon 06-Jul-09 22:41:32

Hi penona, have lurked for a while but this is my first post because I really sympathise and didn't want your post to go unanswered. One piece of advice I had when my DS started nursery was not to "sneak off" without saying goodbye. It is so tempting to leave them when they are happily absorbed, so that they don't realise that you're going and get upset, However if you just disappear your DD may get even more upset when she realises you are gone - from her point of view you have just vanished without warning. In the short term she may get upset when you say goodbye, but at least she will know where you have gone. I agree that you need to comfort her truthfully, and that saying you won't leave again isn't going to help her. On the occasions when DS said he didn't want me to leave him at nursery, I just told him that I was sad to leave him but that I knew he would have lots of fun and - most important of all - I would always come back to get him at the end of the day. I really think this helped him.

penona Mon 06-Jul-09 22:50:27

Thanks for the tips. We are going again next week for a morning so will be more decisive in my leaving then, or at least let her know I have gone.

She does have a special blanket thing but he's not allowed out of the house (for fear of losing!) so perhaps I'll find a new toy she could take with her. And if she brings it up again tomorrow I think I'll say 'sorry for not saying goodbye, didn't want to interrupt your painting, next time I will say goodbye' or something.

Thanks again for replying. I didn't realise it would upset me so much, feeling like a meanie mummy!!

BlueBumedFly Mon 06-Jul-09 22:59:57

You are not a meanie mummy!!! All kids start nursery/pre-school/school at some point, they are fine and we are heartbroken!!

Maybe let her choose a new toy just for pre-school (either one from home or the shop)? If she can choose maybe it will be more special and remind her you are coming back? I was told by my nursery to send her with a specific 'nursery' comforter. We have 3 of the same pink (and now very skanky) bunnies. If she settles on one comforter for P-S buy spares for goodness sakes - the number of times I have had total heart failure because Bubbi has done a runner, last week he did the whole of Sainsburys lift without us, I thought she was going to blow a gasket!

AllThePrettyHorses Mon 06-Jul-09 23:20:34

Absolutely not a meanie mummy!! We all want our children to be happy and it is perfectly natural to be upset when they're upset (speaking as someone who blundered up a crowded London street in tears the first time I left DS at nursery). This phase doesn't last forever - before you know it you will arrive to pick up your DTs and they will tell you to go away because they don't want to go home, like my DS does now!

13lucky Tue 07-Jul-09 19:35:21

Oh, I feel for you but I agree with everything Bluebumedfly said. It's so hard. I have a super clingy daughter who will be 3 next week. She started at pre-school in January for two mornings a week, having previously never been left with anyone except grandparents. I would agree the best policy is a really quick drop-off. I don't even go in the door - I just get her to the door (which is answered by her key-worker) and then give her a kiss and say I'll be back later. The key with my daughter is that she doesn't like surprises. She likes to know exactly what is happening. At her pre-school, as I should imagine most do, there's some sort of routine - registration, play time, snack time, outdoor play, story time and then pick up. So, we always talk about what she will be doing before she goes and during the week leading up to pre-school days, and she knows that after story time, Mummy will be there. This has been one of the key things for her. She knows what to expect and therefore accepts it a bit more. She also takes her special teddy in the car, gives him a kiss when we get there and he's in her car seat waiting for her when she comes out!! We still have 'wobbly' mornings but we're getting there slowly, and recently she's been so excited talking about different children at home. So, hang in there. Be really positive in front of her - I KNOW how hard this is and like a previous poster said, I'm often in tears in the car on the way home, but always try and hold it together in front of her. It will get easier and I always try and remember something I read once: 'Remember, you're not sending them to Siberia - you're sending them to PLAYschooll'!

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