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Just left my screaming DD at the childminders. Feel terrible :(

(25 Posts)
missrose Mon 03-Oct-11 09:44:46

It's her third visit and it's not getting any easier. The CM has a policy that the parents don't stay as she wants to the child to know it's her who is looking after them. She's been doing it for 20 years so she knows what works for her but it's so so hard.

I know she's a good CM (excellent references, good OFSTED report and the other child I've met is really happy there) but I'm suddenly beginning to have doubts about leaving DD. I know it's an irrational mum thing but I've started thinking that she's not being properly looked after. Please tell me it gets better sadsadsad

levantine Mon 03-Oct-11 09:48:28

Oh you poor thing, I know how this feels. How old is your daughter? How long are the settling sessions? How is she when you pick her up?

I am sure she is being properly looked after but it is a big adjustment for children.

mamamaisie Mon 03-Oct-11 09:53:39

It does usually get better so try to hang in there for a bit longersmile

How old is your dd? Does she stop screaming after you have left? Did your childminder allow you to stay on the first visit? If not then I find this a little odd. I recently took on a little girl who was very shy and clingy. Her dad stayed with her for several 1-2hour sessions before leavig her and I felt that it really helped her to settle. She has been about six times now and does still cry each morning but it doesn't last more than a minute.

missrose Mon 03-Oct-11 10:02:31

She's 11mo Levantine. She's normally there for two hours, once a week. Both the previous times I've picked her up she's been crying sad

The first time was because a toy did something unexpected and scared her and the second time she was outside with the CM having a little whiney cry but really turned on the waterworks when she saw me walking down the street!

Part of me thinks it's a good thing for her to be apart from me for a while - new experiences, new people etc but then I wonder if she's just too young and babies actually need their mums to be there. Not that I have much choice as work starts in a month.

lizzie83 Mon 03-Oct-11 13:56:15

Its awful the first time you few times you leave them. I see it from both sides because I have been a nanny for 10 years and have a two year old who goes to a child minder and pre school. It took him ages to get used to preschool as he only went one day a week and a week is a really long time for little ones. My advice is just to keep doing what your doing. If you are concerned ask the child minder how long after you go does she stop crying. My little boy used to cry for a good ten minutes and then as soon as he saw me he would cry again. It was awful but he loves it now and it does us both good to have time apart. Good luck. Hope this helps.

hopenglory Mon 03-Oct-11 14:04:06

If she's only going for 2 hours once a week she's not going to be old enough at 11 months to make the link between each session or time to really settle in and start enjoying herself. Can she either go a couple of times a week or for a bit longer?

leeloo1 Mon 03-Oct-11 14:04:14

I'm sorry, this must be awful for you, but honestly I'd say 2 hours once a week isn't long enough for her to settle. I prefer to take children for a minimum of 2 days pw and find children settle more quickly the more they do. Even if eventually you want her to drop to 2 hours pw could the CM take her every day for a couple of weeks so she gets used to it?

sprinkles77 Mon 03-Oct-11 14:17:13

My son does this, it's heart breaking isn't it? He also only goes once a week. I cannot really justify the expense of more than one day at the moment. My CM encourages me to take him in, find him a toy and then leave while he is distracted by it, without making a fuss about saying good bye. It usually works! When he does cry as I leave, she picks him up for a cuddle but where he cannot see me, and I wait in the hall till the crying stops. usually about a minute! I'd also add that he does this sometimes when I leave him at my parents, which is far more frequent than once a week!

3 visits is not that many, it will get better, but will take longer only going once a week. I suspect it is worse for you than the baby, as you fret about it all day, while she'll forget in a moment.

RitaMorgan Mon 03-Oct-11 16:29:55

Odd that see didn't let you stay at all. At my son's nursery (and the nursery I work in) we did one visit where we both stayed for an hour or so, a couple of visits where I stayed for a bit then nipped out for a bit, then a couple of hours of him on his own.

Agree with the others that once a week isn't enough while she's getting used to it - each time she goes it'll be like starting again at a strange place. I'd see if you can do three visits over the space of a week maybe?

RandomMess Mon 03-Oct-11 18:59:24

Can you not go and visit with your dd and stay for half an hour or so every week day in between just for a few weeks until your dd is used to it?

thebody Mon 03-Oct-11 19:22:18

poor you but remember its usually worse for the mum than the child, honestly.

agree that the time isnt long enough, i let parents stay as long as they feel they need to to settle a child but hope that its not too long as it can be counter productive in some kids.

i dont have a strict policy on this as parents and children are so varied its impossible to make one size fit all.

some littlies march in on day 1 and its all fine and others take some weeks to settle( longest I had was an 8 month who cried for 4 weeks solid) all good now.

if I were you I would set a date for review and see how she goes, I always send mum a picture on my phone so she can see just how soon little one settles if they are crying, could she do this to reassure you..

missrose Thu 06-Oct-11 21:51:39

Sorry to take so long to reply - internet problems but back up and running now.

Thank you for your comments. I had assumed that once a week was fine, building up slowly to three days a week which is where we will be by mid-November. I'm going to speak to the CM tomorrow about doing two sessions next week, maybe 9-12. Would that make a difference or would it need to be more?

DD was extremely tired after her session last week. Should I send her two consecutive days, or would it be ok to do Monday and Thursday, for example?

I can't really afford 3 sessions a week until I return to work but I could perhaps go to some of the playgroups the CM goes to so my DD begins to recognise her. Would this help?

I'll also have a chat with the CM about staying for a little while then leaving. I'm not sure about sneaking out though. My DD gets very upset when DH leaves the room in the morning but if we say bye to him properly and wave him off she doesn't cry.

I think she cries for about 10 minutes but is a nosy little thing. After the last visit the CM phoned and I could her DD chirping away quite happily in the background. They go out a lot too, which DD loves so I think she is ok and then gets upset if she's tired or hungry.

RitaMorgan Thu 06-Oct-11 21:59:22

No, no - don't sneak out. Always say good bye. Otherwise she could be on edge all the time thinking you are about to vanish when her back is turned!

Rather than building up slowly from 1 day to 3, I would do one week where you leave for increasing times (day 1 stay for an hour together, day 2 stay for half an hour then leave for a couple of hours, day 3 stay for 10 minutes then leave for half the day) then the following week go straight into the full days.

AMYJ1234 Thu 06-Oct-11 22:14:03

I settle new children in and dont charge. It s a time when I get to know the children and parents and they get to know me.
At 11 months - children can experience separation anxiety. They know you are leaving them. They cannot say 'dont leave me even though i know i will be ok!' It can be a protest because naturally they do not want you to go.
I do not think you need to leave your baby for a long time each day. They need to know there is a beginning - (you will leave) a middle ( they will play) and an end (you will come back) I would leave goodbyes very short- you will be anxious and this wont help the situation.
I think the childminder is right saying for you not to be there - they will not interact with the minder with a parent there.
You have decided to use a minder, found one with a good inspection report with loads of experience..dont worry xxx

AnxiousElephant Thu 06-Oct-11 22:16:23

It is awful and I had this with my first child when I went back to work. I fretted all day about it - this made it worse because dd could sense it. I became a child minder and realised that it was just a normal developmental phase because she was 7 months and very clingy. My minded children used to be unsettled for the first week, great the second, awful the third (worst week) then fine after that.

2 hours once per week is not really enough to get to know the CM well tbh and it will take much longer for her to get used to it because at 11 months they don't have a great memory for people and time/ place. It might be worth putting her in for longer for a few weeks until she gets used to it.

She will be being looked after I'm sure so don't worry about that, its normal separation anxiety.

missrose Sat 08-Oct-11 15:19:08

Thank you for the support. I know it will be okay in the end but I hadn't expected it to be so hard during the settling in period. My DH has taken DD out for the whole day today so she gets used to being without me and knows she is ok. I really miss her but have got LOADS done!

Amy I think that is where the CM is coming from - that the child will interact with the parent more than the CM.

Rita Thanks for the suggestion - it's good to actually have a plan in mind when I speak to her and it makes a lot of sense.

Anxious I'm making sure I keep my real feelings hidden and trying to be normal before and after her visits. After the first time I made a big deal of her being back with me but I think that's counterproductive. It just needs to become a normal, nice thing that she does.

mycatoscar Sun 09-Oct-11 11:49:34

Haven't read the entire thread but if you are otherwise happy with the care your dd is getting then give it a but longer. My dd was the same age when I returned the work and she went to day nursery three days a week. It took nearly two months of screaming every morning before she allowed me to leave her without a fuss. Staff reassured me she was fine within minutes and let me phone to check and took lots of photos of her enjoying herself. She would also kick off when I arrived to collect and it's easy to think they've been crying the while time.

Give it time and also understand that your dd is probably stressed by you leaving and is doing the only thing she can to protest but this doesn't mean she's upset the whole time.

menopausemum Sun 09-Oct-11 22:36:32

If you are otherwise happy then it may be worthwhile persevering. But, and its a big BUT: to have a policy that parents can't stay goes against everything we know about young children and attachment. The baby needs several visits where you gradually go from you as the carer, to shared care to the cm as the carer. It worries me that the cm doesn't know this. Also, when you leave I agree with some of the other posters that you should say goodbye. You could also leave the baby something she associates with you for her to hang on to when you aren't there. A pair of gloves, scarf etc would be ideal. (nothing valuable). That way she has some part of you with her whilst you're away.

missrose Mon 10-Oct-11 10:38:48

Just left her for the morning. There were a few tears although nowhere near as bad as last week. I stayed and played with her for a bit (not as long as I wanted!) but she was so obviously ok it did feel like the right time to go.

Rita As today went relatively well I wonder if it would be going backwards a bit to stay with her any longer? I'm having a chat with the CM when I pick DD up so will see what she thinks.

menopausemum your post has really scared me! It's not a hard and fast policy as such (sorry, should have worded it better) but she says that she finds it easier, and faster, to bond with the children if the parents aren't there. She would be flexible if asked but I think I would need to be very clear what I was asking for.

Thanks mycat, although two months of her crying could possibly send me over the edge! I don't think the CM would have her head around emailing me photos of DD but I am thinking of leaving a small camera with her and asking her to take a few snaps during the day so I know what she gets up to.

Oh god, it's so hard. Funnily enough, my mum, who is very traditional about male and female roles is insisting that I musn't give up work or my independence. Very shock. She also said that she HATED staying at home with the kids when we were very young and couldn't wait to get back to work. She worked in a factory so it was hardly a laugh a minute compared to my relatively easy job (apart from the mental boss).

EBDteacher Mon 10-Oct-11 21:21:24

I went back to work PT (5 mornings a week) when DS was 4.5 months old. I think by the time I left my DS with our CM had met her at least 30 times? We went to her house together and to the groups she attends 2 or 3 times a week from the time he was about 2 months old. My CM charged me for none of this. I never left him during those sessions but tbh by the time I did leave him I don't think he had any idea that CM wasn't part of our family?

The idea of not 'settling' a young child with a new adult is a bit bonkers to me?

EBDteacher Mon 10-Oct-11 21:24:01

menopausemum agree with you about attachment theory.

BertieBotts Mon 10-Oct-11 21:35:44

Could you ask CM to text or call you when DD has settled in? My CM did this when DS was unsettled at first and it put my mind at rest. She'd text after 10 minutes saying he was fine and giving me a mini update about what he was doing, which helped as I could picture him running around the garden or having a snack or colouring or whatever.

He's been going over a year now and loves it, but if ever he's upset at the time I pick him up (today for example I turned up and he and CM's DD had been fighting over a toy) and he will be doing his normal level of crying, but as soon as he sees me it turns into absolutely distraught end of the world type crying, and today even when he stopped he was sniffling as he talked. I think it's just that they are dealing with whatever upset they have in their own way, and then they see you and it's a combination of "MUM!! I'M UPSET AND YOU WEREN'T HERE AND I DIDN'T REALISE THAT WAS AN ISSUE UNTIL NOW" and "What a relief, mum's here, she will make it all better" similar to how if you're upset and someone gives you a big hug it usually makes you cry more (but feel better!) Plus, they are usually tired after lots of playing which always makes emotions run higher.

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 10-Oct-11 21:50:20

This is my settling-in policy:

''Settling in

This is the time before your child formally attends my setting, when they can visit, firstly with you, their parents/carer, and stay for a while to get to know me, the other children and their new environment with the reassurance of having you there too.
After a session or two, depending on the child and their reaction, we can move to short periods of leaving the child with me – I try to encourage parents to go and do something lovely (have a haircut, buy a glossy magazine and go the coffee shop, have a lunch out) for distraction as leaving your child for the first time can be difficult or even upsetting.

It is very important that your child has had an opportunity to spend some time here with me before their actual starting day as this will help them to feel a little more settled and confident about their new environment.
It also provides an opportunity for you to ask any questions and find out a little bit more about how your child will be spending their day.
Different children need different amounts of time for settling in.
The length of these sessions can vary but do need to be agreed in advance, so that it does not adversely impact the care of other children and fits with our regular routines, activities and outings.

Benefits of Settling In Sessions:
~ Your child benefits from your gradual withdrawal and knowing that you will come back at the time you say you will collect them.
~ Your child benefits from emotional stability, contentment and reassurance though meeting me, the other children in my care and learning our routines, leading to security and happiness when they are settled.
~ You benefit from seeing how we work on a day-to-day basis, see some typical activities.
~ You benefit from having short periods of time away from your child, so that you can build gradually to being away from your child for your working day.
~ We get to know you and your child better.''

Child A might settle after three sessions, child B might need seven, child C might need more

I don't charge for settling-in

AMYJ1234 Tue 11-Oct-11 14:21:01

I think any childminder who prefers to settle them into their setting without the parent there is not trying to break attachments with the parent nor is ignoring the fact that the child is very most probably going to have the strongest attachment with the parents. I would be mortified if any of my parents ever thought I was ignoring this fact or that I simply didnt know! However the fact is, when I am settling new children in, I have x amount of time to do this before the parents go back to work. I start as early as possible to give myself time to 'iron out' any problems/difficulties.However, practically after the first or second time, it is preferable without the parent for reasons mentioned about ease of bonding and also I am still usually caring for another 2 little ones needing attention too. To have a stranger to the other children in the house and to entertain the adult and their child can be exhausting on a regular basis for months leading up to the actual first day! (plus the other childrens parents may not want another adult there as they have more than likely not had a CRB check) Also how do I know how the parent coming is going to talk to the other children the way I would??
I have settled all my children in this way and they havent broken any emotional attachments with their parents! They are very happy children and the parents started their first day back relaxed knowing their children were used to me and my routine!!

missrose Tue 11-Oct-11 19:21:35

Thank you Amy. I don't have any doubts about this childminder at all. Everything I have had a problem with she has helped me sort out. After the last visit I went to pick up my DD. The CM was holding her, I held my arms out and she smiled and came to me. She didn't cry, she didn't cling to me, she seemed very comfortable and very happy to see me. She gave the CM big smiles and waves as we left. She hadn't had a morning nap but to be fair she sometimes doesn't with me.

Bertie I think that makes sense. The CM does text when she's stopped crying and then calls a bit later to tell me what they are doing and what time she will be home if they are going out. She's not very technologically minded when it comes to mobiles so doesn't want to try and email pictures but I asked if I could leave a small camera with her and if she could take pictures for me during the day and she's really happy to do that. I have problems getting round to sending an email with one baby!

Anyway, I'm feeling a lot calmer and happier about it, especially as DD now seems to want me to put her down at every opportunity. It may be that I'm the one who's become clingier and more emotional since she started with the CM!

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