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DS doesn't seem happy at childminder's. Don't know what to do

(14 Posts)
blushingmare Tue 24-Nov-15 20:10:15

Hi. Just looking for a bit of advice as not sure what to do about my 18mo DS.

He's a real mummy's boy - very clingy to me and at the slightest upset - teeth, a cold, whatever, gets even more so. He found me going to work and starting at his childminder's quite hard and was very unsettled for the first month. We then had another month when he was fine once he was there, but screamed heartbreakingly when I dropped him (not unusual I know). We then had two weeks where he went really happily and was happy all day and I thought "yes! He's settled ok now".

But for the past two weeks he's been really unhappy there. CM says he's worse than he ever was before. Just crying loads and saying "Mummy, Mummy" over and over. He won't eat anything at her house now and she has tried tempting him with all sorts. He's not actually been too bad when I've dropped him, but every time I pick him up she says he's had another bad day.

Maybe he could be teething/sick. He's certainly got a bad cough at the moment. But at home he's fine and happy as anything, in spite of the cough. And he's not had a temp or anything.

I just really don't know what to do. It breaks my heart to think of him being unhappy all day. The thing is, even if I were to pull him out and put him somewhere else, he'd have to go through that whole settling period again and that fills me with dread. Especially as it may well end up in the same result.

CM herself seems lovely. I don't think she does amazingly educational things with him, and TV is on more than I'd ideally like. But she's really caring, really kind, v flexible and open to ideas, so I'd really like it to work.


shutupandshop Tue 24-Nov-15 20:12:07

I'd be tempted to try him somewere else.

blushingmare Tue 24-Nov-15 20:44:35

God sorry - just realised how long this is blush

HSMMaCM Tue 24-Nov-15 21:32:26

Have a look around and see how you feel about what else is available. Also schedule a parents meeting with your cm. Not during the working day or on the doorstep. Ask her to be completely honest about whether she can help him make the most of this experience. Children are the same as adults and sometimes the chemistry just isn't there even with the loveliest people.

lushaliciousbob Tue 24-Nov-15 21:33:29

Sorry no real advice. I work in childcare though and settling normally doesn't take this long. It may be that he's just not going to settle that great at her place. How is he when she takes him out and about ? I find mine settle more when we get outside. Is there any way you can spend an afternoon at the childminders playing with him so he gets more comfortable with the house? I also wouldn't worry too much about the tv. I only really use the tv once a week but it does help sometimes when a child is unsettled.

blushingmare Tue 24-Nov-15 21:49:09

Lushalicious - he is better when they're out and about, although this week even that hasn't helped. I think it must be tough on her too as she's a sweet person and doesn't like to see him upset and also has another 2yo to look after with him, plus before school mindees, so it must be stressful at times with him being upset a lot of the time.

BTW - I think she has the TV on the whole time when she is at home, which is not ideal from my perspective and for that reason I definitely wouldn't want my 3yo to be there, but for DS he's not too into it yet and she goes out with them for a large part of every day, so it's not like he's just sat in front it all day. But it's not what I would do at home! But that's of topic really!

longdiling Tue 24-Nov-15 21:57:14

Oh gosh, I've been your childminder (only without the constant TV!). I had a little boy who just didn't settle for months. He was/is a sensitive little soul who adores his mum and cries quite easily. I stuck it out because she'd already moved him from nursery. I cuddled and distracted and made sure he had a good long nap every session. He slowly and gradually got better over time and I had him right up until he started school. If he got upset about anything at all he would always end up crying and wanting his mum, right up til the end! I'm still in touch with him because I have his brother and he's always happy to see me and was very excited to have a day with me in the school holidays. He still cried for him mum when he got tired at the end of the day though! I agree with all HSMM's advice (as usual!). Have a good long frank chat with the childminder. See what else is around as it might just suit him better. How often is he with the childminder? What didn't help with the little boy I had was that he was with me a couple of days and then passed around the other few days. Not the mum's fault as she wasn't on a lot of money and needed to save some by getting relatives to care for him - it definitely unsettled him though.

HSMMaCM Tue 24-Nov-15 22:16:16

LongDiLong just highlighted an important point. How many days a week are you using the cm?

blushingmare Tue 24-Nov-15 22:21:11

longdiling - you've got my DS right there - a sensitive mummy-loving boy - gorgeous, but troublesome at times!
Thanks - I will ask to meet with her. You mentioning naps makes me think maybe that is one thing that could be improved and might help.

He is with her, 8-3, 3 days a week. On two of those days, my mum picks him up and has him until I finish work at 6:30. On the other day I pick up and all other days of the week he is with me.

There is a nursery option that might work for him, but don't know if they have space. Otherwise it's finding another childminder. We live in a rural area, so cms within an easy radius are not exactly two a penny, but I'm sure there are some around. My main worry about changing is having to go through the settling process all over again, which is distressing for him and me, only to have the same outcome because essentially he's a big soft mummy's boy smile But then, maybe a nursery environment would have more distractions... I was keen on a CM originally because I thought being sensitive, he'd be better having one person to form an attachment with. Gah - I don't know! It's so hard to know what to do!

Karoleann Tue 24-Nov-15 22:30:56

Is he sleeping properly at the CM? Is she able to follow the routine that you do at home (its not always possible with other children to think about).

Is a nanny an option? He may be happier just being at home. If the sleeping is a problem, could your Mum do a full day rather than a couple of half days, at least trialling that would be easier than moving him.

They do change really quickly at that age though, but I must say my DS2 was never particularly happy in any childcare setting and would still (he's now yr3) rather be at home.

longdiling Tue 24-Nov-15 22:40:07

It is hard. I think some kids just are more suited to being at home with mum - but obviously that's not always practical. This could well be a temporary setback as it's 'only' been a couple of weeks. If the cough is stopping him sleeping it would certainly make him worse. How about providing food from home in recognisable pots/a recognisable lunch box? If he were to eat a little that would probably help too. Hassle I know but it might be worth a try.

What are the childminder's strategies for dealing with him being upset? What works at home for you if he's crying? You seem keen to make this work and confident in your choice of childminder so I think you need to work with her to ensure every avenue has been explored. In the meantime it wouldn't hurt to have a 'plan B' and scope out other childcare options.

Good luck! I am very glad I stuck it out with my sensitive little mindee, it was tough when he was little and mostly just cried but he turned into a wonderful little boy.

blushingmare Tue 24-Nov-15 22:52:29

Karolean - ha sleep and routine! I'm afraid we don't have much of either at home! But he coped pretty well with our complete lack of routine. He will only nap with me if I take him out in the car and I usually time this just before or after lunch when I have him at home. Interestingly sat CM's he snuggles down and sleeps on her sofa, which I just can't believe happens, but apparently it does!!

I have noticed more recently though that he's tending towards a later longer sleep, so I'm going to suggest she gives him an earlier lunch and puts him down for a sleep in a cot if she can get him down, as I think he'd probably sleep longer then, which would be a help.

blushingmare Tue 24-Nov-15 22:54:48

Nanny isn't an option and neither really is my mum doing one long day, because a) she'd have too early a start as doesn't live that close and b) I need her to provide the afternoon childcare on both days for my 3yo too, whose preschool finishes at 3.

blushingmare Tue 24-Nov-15 23:03:03

Longdiling - I'm not sure what her strategies are exactly, apart from cuddles and distractions. Think this is what I need to meet with her about.

Have tried sending food from home. It worked in the initial unsettled time, but this most recent time he won't eat a thing. sad

Maybe this is a bit off the topic, but although I think CM is great in many ways, there are some things that I have had some reservations about so am not 100% sure.... But some of these things could be just me not really getting how a childminder works as haven't used one before. The main thing is that I do think she is really caring and is obviously interested in what's best for DS, which is the most important thing for me. There are also practical and financial considerations that make her a good option for me too. But there are a few niggles that have made me think "I wonder if she is the best cm out there" kind of thing.

You sound like a very lovely cm and your sensitive little one was lucky to have you!

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