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Concerns about crèche-paranoid or reasonable?

(16 Posts)
NatureorNurture Fri 07-Oct-11 15:48:30

Hi all,
I would be really grateful if you could help me with this. My DS (eleven months) started crèche last week and while we were happy with it when we first picked it the first day was a bit of a disaster and I'm worried if it is a taste of things to come. He had attended for introductory hours the week before and it went ok. I am so sorry if this is very long!

He was upset when we dropped off so I had rung during the day to check and the manager assured me that he was happy and laughing. My DH arrived at 5.45 to collect him and he was the last child in the building with all the other rooms locked. My DS was sitting on the floor without any toys around him while his keyworker wrote notes and the other staff member cleaned up. He was as white as a ghost and his eyes were very red. We were told that he hadn't eaten and cried all afternoon which is very different to how the manager described him. He was inside all day and spent a good bit of time in an entertainer/walker thing (despite the fact that I had clearly said he wasn't to be in this as he has ongoing treatment for his feet). I had also requested that he was offered water regularly as he has renal issues and gets very thirsty (but he was only given a drink with his meals).The staff told my DH to check his nappy when he got home as she hadn't checked it since 3.30 (although he was alone with her since 4pm...) He cried until 10pm that night and was so clingy and upset all week when he was dropped off and collected which is really not like him.

From the outset I didn't like the baby room as it is very small and dark (i.e. no pictures, murals or anything on walls except a low mirror and all toys put in another room in boxes) but I was reassured that it would be renovated and that the babies were brought outside when the weather was good. Now it seems that plans to renovate are on hold. There's just him and another baby who started the exact same day and while the one staff member seems kind and sweet it's difficult to get information from her and she seems to be mainly focused on feeding, changing, sleeping etc and stimulating or playing with the babies gets overlooked.

We met with the manager the following day as we were all so upset and she agreed that staff should not have put away toys or start cleaning while he was still there and that he should not have been left sitting there. She also apologised about the misinformation when I rang. She said that the staff member is very good but was possibly overly fastidious about hygiene and cleanliness to the detriment of stimulation and playing with the babies. From the way she spoke it sounded like the staff member was a bit overwhelmed by having two start the same day and that made me worry. She agreed to address our concerns with the staff and we felt a bit more reassured. We decided to see how it goes and pull him out if it really wasn't working. Those issues have mostly improved since we addressed them but there are a few other niggly things that are annoying me but I know this post is long enough!

So I guess my question is whether others would think this is strange or am I being overly paranoid and should I put it down to initial teething problems that most people experience with a crèche? I fully appreciate that he is our first baby and has had a lot of health issues already so we are very protective but on the other hand as part of my job I often visit crèches to observe children and I am used to seeing the good, the bad and the ugly! I would really appreciate your thoughts and sorry again for the length of the post smile

diyvspse Fri 07-Oct-11 20:57:41

I found your post disheartening - it sounds like your DS was distressed, and understandably so. It's a long day to be away from your parents when you're not used to creche.
But you say he started last week - what happened since? Is he in full or part time?

Are you happy for him to be in an environment where he is going to be ignored at length like that? Stimulation is so important for development.

Alarm bells ringing for me.

NatureorNurture Fri 07-Oct-11 23:54:51

Thanks for your reply diyvspse. He started fully on Monday of this week but was in for 10 hours broken up over 3days last week to introduce him. He got on ok but the longest time was 6 hours so much shorter than he is now. He was tearful when I dropped him off & collected him. I know a degree of distress is to be expected when they start creche but he is generally a very happy baby so his reaction this week was very concerning.

After speaking to the manager, the staff made a concerted effort to have toys out and I saw them playing with him and comforting him when he was upset. I think what worried me was that I think stimulation and play should be a given rather than something we need to prompt. He's in four days, 8-5 so I know they are long days and he is wrecked when he gets home. According to the staff he calms after we leave but I just can't shake this worried feeling. The staff all seem nice and friendly, but I'm more impressed by the staff in the wobbler room.

I totally agree with you that stimulation is so important and even though they do seem to be providing some stimulation now, the fact that we had to prompt it makes me worry about what else is being overlooked! I contacted a few childminders today and will look into other alternatives just in case. My heart breaks at the memory of how he was on his first day! Thanks again

HoneyPablo Sat 08-Oct-11 08:14:49

The thing that sticks out from your post is how bad a job the manager is doing. She sounds like she is just telling you what you want to hear, rather than making a real effort to provide a stimulating environment for the children.
Having worked in nurseries for years. The renovations, the phone calll when she lied to you, and basically slating her staff( very unprofessional).
I can guess that the staff are only cleaning/tidying/doing paperwork because that is what is expected of them by the management. But she wouldn't tell you that.
If you are not happy, then look for somewhere else. Trust your instincts. The alarm bells would be sounding for me because of the following:-

manager lied to you on phone
slated staff to you
nappy not checked/changed since 3.30 (why couldn't she check instead of telling your DH?)
not offered drinks despite your express wishes
use of babywalker
no toys
emphasis on cleaning
--
And it's nurture

RitaMorgan Sat 08-Oct-11 08:22:19

Sounds horrible! I would be very concerned too. My ds has been in nursery since he was 7 months old and I have never had any worries that he wasn't cared for, played with a comforted.

Ben10WasTheSpawnNowWeLoveLego Sat 08-Oct-11 08:48:27

My Ds was at nursery since a baby from 7.45 to 6 some days and there was never any question about him not being cared for, lack of toys, state of the room etc etc

If you have these issues right at the start of your relationship with the nursery, I would change straight away. That is not how most nurseries are.

SazZaVoom Sat 08-Oct-11 08:55:16

Have you looked at childminders? It sounds like he might be mire suited to a more 'home from home' environment?

activate Sat 08-Oct-11 08:58:24

get rid and get a childminder

umf Sat 08-Oct-11 09:02:45

No, that doesn't sound ok.

tasmaniandevilchaser Sat 08-Oct-11 09:06:15

'can't shake this worried feeling' - this tells me all I need to know. Look into alternatives asap. Trust your instincts.

LynetteScavo Sat 08-Oct-11 09:06:58

It sounds horrible.

On the first day of your DS being left for such a long time he may well have been exhausted...it's a long time to be away from your primary carer. It's hard work for a baby not knowing when/if they will see mum and dad again.

But not checking the nappy?

Leaving him with to his own devises while they got on with jobs????? SO NOT ON! At this time of day the little mite need 1-1 attention more than ever.

Definitely look for alternative care.

TheMitfordsMaid Sat 08-Oct-11 09:13:52

When it comes to childcare, my advice is to trust your instincts and act quickly. I agree also about the recommendations to find a childminder.

NatureorNurture Sat 08-Oct-11 11:48:37

Thanks so much for all your responses, I agree with you all and am so angry and annoyed with myself that he's been there this week. We're hopefully going to visit a childminder later today and hopefully will work something out for the next few weeks. If we can't get something sorted then we'll take time off work until we do. But thanks so much, your responses really helped and made it very clear to my DH too.

redglow Sat 08-Oct-11 18:04:30

Hope you get sorted always go with your insincts, includeing childminders and nannies there are good and bad.

babbi Sun 09-Oct-11 08:32:25

Don't be angry with yourself, you are trying to do your best for your child.
Instead give yourself huge pat on the back for having the common sense to go with your instincts.. at the end of the day you have not much else to go on. Ofsted reports , personal recommendations - these are only other peoples opinions which may relate to other time periods, or different areas in the nursery.
Bottom line is you know your child and what his needs are. Mothers instincts are such a powerful emotion and I think usually correct.
Good luck- there are good child carers out there.

Honestly - changing a nappy and having a little cuddle with a young baby is such fun, a really good childcarer loves that bit as they know before long they will be chasing the little devils around the room trying to catch them to change them!

The fact that they couldn't be bothered to do that says it all really.

menopausemum Sun 09-Oct-11 22:25:48

Would you please send a complain to Ofsted - you can get the number from your local children's services department or just google it. You have done absolutely right to look for other childcare but unfortunately many other parents are still using this place - please complain to Ofsted in as detailed a way as possible for their sake.

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