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settling into playgroup

(8 Posts)
moneli Tue 10-Nov-09 20:58:55

I am in the process of settling my 2yo ds into a playgroup. There is a settling in process of about 2 weeks (ending on Friday) before he starts attending 2 days a week for 3 hours in the morning. Over the last few days I have extended my time away from him saying that I'm going to the shops and will be back in a bit. He is fine when I leave, kisses me good bye and says 'see you later', but today is the longest I've been away (1.5 hours) and he was apparently upset on/off for a lot of the time. They said he didn't cry hysterically and he was ok but red-eyed when I arrived back, but apparently he wouldn't let anyone else comfort him when he was crying, he wouldn't join in with their activities (snack time, reading stories etc) and just kept playing with the trains, at times through sobs. One of the staff sat with him the whole time trying to engage him but he wasn't interested. I knew it was probably going to be hard as he's never been looked after by anyone but me but I am worried. Is this normal? How long should I leave it before I pull him out and try again in a few months? I asked him this afternoon if he wants to go back tomorrow and he said yes, he wants to play with the trains again. And when he left today he gave the staff huge kisses and hugs...

DiscoPpants Tue 10-Nov-09 21:41:41

I had the same problem with my ds last year, it only took a couple of weeks for him to get used to the different routine, and he loves going now, asking everyday if he's going to "work" everything and everyone is new to him there so he's maybe a little overwhelmed, if he has a comforter take that in with him so that he has something that is familiar. try not to worry too much i remember my ds crying when i went to pick him up because he didn't want to come home

skinsl Tue 10-Nov-09 21:46:27

Ohh bless, you must be concerned.
I'm sure it is completely normal, and I would take great comfort that he wants to go back and that he was affectionate with the staff. And it sounds good that someone sat with him the whole time. Talk to the staff, they are probably the experts. My DS also 2 has been going since he was 9 months, just for a couple of afternoons, and he still goes through phases of crying when i leave, but when I pick him up I can just tell that he has had a whale of a time!

moneli Wed 11-Nov-09 08:41:15

Thanks for the advice. I'll be taking him again today so let's hope he is less upset

happystory Wed 11-Nov-09 08:50:37

Moneli, it sounds like you/he are good making progress. He's attached to YOU, why wouldn't he want to stay with you the whole time?! But gradually he is seeing he can have fun without you and that preschool has certain attractions, but he is also beginning to understand that you will be back.

Jan2 Wed 11-Nov-09 10:50:15

Just to say that this sounds just like my DD. She's 2 and a half and started pre school 2 mornings a week in September.
It's been very difficult at times because like your DS she has only ever been looked after by myself or my husband.
At the beginning I used to just nip outside for ten mins and sit in the car!...when I went back in she'd have been crying for the whole time. Then gradually she started to get to know the staff and over the first half term we started to make progress.
By the last day of the half term I managed to leave her for 2 hours and there were no tears!!

She's been OK since going back after half term. She's there now in fact. I take her in about half an hour after the start and then go back half an hour before the end and sit with her while they do songs and story time. Hoping that eventually she'll be happy to go for the full 3 hours but to be honest after the start we had I'm really pleased with the 2 hours!

They are all so different and some do take longer to settle but if your DS says he likes going then I would definitely carry on but maybe speak to the staff about extending his settling in period. My DD also says that she likes going to 'school' and she does talk about it in a very positive way which is why i've persevered and I'm so glad I did.

Good luck! xx

moneli Thu 12-Nov-09 14:33:39

Just wanted to say thanks for your kind message Jan2. We've had a couple of good days where he has stayed for an hour without me, then when he gets to the point that he can't be distracted and just wants me, the playgroup calls me and then I go back and spend the rest of the time with him there. Like you, even an hour feels like a big achievement for him. The playgroup and I are really happy for it to take as long as necessary so as of Monday, when the induction process is officially over, we'll still do the same thing. He enjoys it so much and seems to be forming good relationships with the carers so I feel really confident now that it'll be OK! x

lostthewill Thu 12-Nov-09 20:50:25


Just gone through this with dd who I thought would never settle but now 6 weeks in and she is desperate to get to preschool. I found trying to explain where I was going ie 'Mommy is going to buy some carrots and will then come back' the play workers also mirrored what I'd said and for some strange reason she seemed to accept it more and gradually the tears and red eyes stopped. Good luck it will be worth it for you both once he is settled.

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