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Preschool advice please - ds1 (3 years) not settling in at all

(10 Posts)
mumbojumbo Mon 24-Jan-05 10:27:41


Can wise mumsnetters help me, please.

DS1 (3 years old) started at preschool 3 weeks ago. He does 2 sessions a week atm. First session went OK, then it started to go downhill.

He wants me to stay with him and becomes hysterical when I go. I've been talking with the staff and we have agreed to swap his afternoon session for a morning one in the hope that this will help (in case he is too tired after lunch).

This morning, from the time he got up, he kept saying that he didn't want to go...wouldn't get in or out of the car.....when I finally left him, he was screaming and in hysterics - it was awful. I've taken the approach so far to acknowledge his feelings but explain about the fun he'll have when he's there and also give him something to look forward to afterwards (like taking him out to lunch).

I'm trying to keep positive and believe that this is a passing phase, but it's so awful to witness. I've also got ds2 (14 months) to cope with, and PND. It's really getting me down.

Anyone got any tips on the best way to handle the situation?

zubb Mon 24-Jan-05 10:32:36

How long does he cry for when you go? does he settle down quickly?
Just that ds2 can scream hysterically when I leave him with his childminder, but as soon as I am out of sight he stops and starts playing happily - as I have witnessed many times.
Is this the first time that you have left him? If you stay at the pre-school does he join in with the activities or want to be with you all the time?

weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 24-Jan-05 10:33:41

Hi there. Have you tried staying for a couple of sessions? Maybe if you did that and then after a couple explained that you have to go but you will be back and leave with a big smile on your face so he doesn't see it's upsetting you and that you're very happy to be leaving him in such a lovely place? Some mums at the playgroup my ds went to used to leave something of theirs, a bag or jumper and say they were just going out to do some shopping and would be back soon and sometimes that worked. Do the staff try to distract him while you're leaving? They should imo and be showing him something very exciting once you've said your quick goodbye. Does he calm down once you've left? It will pass, definitely! But it's trying in the meantime I know!

Blu Mon 24-Jan-05 13:55:41

My big sympathies, Mumbojumbo, I'm going through something similiar with DS. DS is not as distressed as yours when I leave, but gets upset later and tells the carers that he misses Mummy. I think WWW's idea is a good one about leaving a bag or something - because then he will have visible proof that you will be back to collect it. (this crossed my mind this a.m - DS was fiddling lovingly with my scarf, and I asked if he's like me to leave it with him - he said 'no mummy, you'll be cold'. Bless. Weep) Also, backtrack on the induction process and stay with him a few times, until he bonds with other children and gets to know them.
I have been giving DS a countdown to the things that will happen - 'you will do this, paint, do that, have a snack and then it will be time for me to pick you up' so that he has some sense of the timescale (he is there all day) - oh, and the all important 'and I will bring a little treat for you'.
Hang on to the fact that they do get through this, which then lets them know that they have faced something difficult and it wasn't, in fact, the end of the world. I think this gives them an important confidence when facing a struggle in the future.
Good luck.

HeyEnidYouveLostWeight Mon 24-Jan-05 14:01:47

I think the key is how he behaves when he is there.

If he is fine, then I would persevere. If he remains distressed then I would forget pre-school altogether and try a childminder or letting him stay at home with you and dd until September.

dd1 behaved like this when we attempted preschool at 2.5 and I took her out. We waited a year, she went happily to nursery at 3.5. She is 5 now, loves school and popular and happy (most of the time .)

Blu Fri 28-Jan-05 15:49:23

MumboJumbo - how has it gone this week?
We have not got on at all well, and are starting an induction process anew. DP stayed there with him this a.m and he loved everything about it. He's said he likes his teachers/carers, other children and the activity, but I think he can't cope, yet, with not having a smaller child/adult ratio. So we're giving him more support to settle in, and hoping for the best. (it's playing havoc with work, of course).
Any change in your DS?

batters Fri 28-Jan-05 16:10:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

csa Fri 28-Jan-05 16:49:11

blu and mumbojumbo, probably not much help either but we went through a similar situation with ds when he was 2-ish. the good news is that he is very happy being at preschool now although it did take him quite a while to settle in. from what the carers say, they settle in much more quickly if they are there full time. if it is only a few sessions a week, the time it takes to settle in is much much longer (talking about weeks rather than days). good luck. keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Blu Fri 28-Jan-05 17:38:44

Oh, thank you, csa.
Ds is 4 days a week - and in his 4th week, which is why we are so concerned. But I think the 'go back to beyond square one' tactic will work.
Thank heavens it's the w/e

mumbojumbo Fri 28-Jan-05 17:57:16


Meant to post an update yesterday but time ran away with me.

Thursday morning's session was a little better. This was a change to his original routine, with slightly younger little ones and more staff on hand. Yes, we had tears before leaving home and ds1 saying that he didn't want to go, then he wanted mummy to stay at nursery school too. I spoke to the supervisor about possibly staying during a session, but we decided against it and would see how he got on. In any case, it is difficult as I have a 14 month old as well. DS1 had a good session and came out with a sticker on his folder which proudly announced "I didn't cry today" with a smiley face. Both myself and dh made a big fuss of him for that. Apparently as soon as I'd gone, he'd settled down fine.

We go swimming on a Friday am with the preschool as well. The first week it took me 20 mins sitting with him on the side of the pool coaxing him in the water. Today - first in! So I feel that we are making some progress now.

Blu, sorry to hear that you've been having a tough time. Breaks your heart to hear them distressed, doesn't it. Good luck anyway!

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