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3yo DD crying at every nursery drop off - advice please!

(12 Posts)
Mybabysmellsofbiscuits Thu 25-Apr-13 10:27:13

I am betting lots of people have been through this, but could really use some advice on my DD at nursery drop off.

She's been at nursery since January this year, she goes 2 mornings a week from 8.30 - 1.30. I work from home and just needed a decent few hours off from being mummy during the day to actually clear some work.

The problem is that she still cries every morning I drop her at nursery. I expected this when she was settling in but finding it concerning that she is still clinging to me and crying every morning I take her.

What's odd is that she is perfectly happy as soon as I have gone (I call when I get home every day) and she tells me all about what a wonderful time she has had when I collect her. She's got a little group of girly friends she hangs out with whilst she is there, she's close to her key worker and the other women in her room and she often plays out 'nursery' when we are at home, getting all her toys out and reading to them, or giving them lunch and putting them down for a sleep.

We have been through a bit of a tough year, I am a lone parent and we have recently moved in to a flat just the two of us, but in every other respect she is a well rounded normal toddler.

Not sure if the crying is just for effect or is her way of showing me she will miss me...I have explained to her that I might have to leave her sometimes but will always be there to collect her at the end of the day. I make sure I am positive when I drop her off and pick her up.

Not sure if anyone has any suggestions on how to distract her or to make the whole drop off a more positive experience, as at the moment, I am literally peeling her off me, passing her to her key worker yelling her head off and walking away - distressing for her and me. Nursery have been pretty good, they have made her a star chart that she can collect a sticker on when she comes in smiling...needless to say it's been there for weeks and no stickers yet...

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!


KatoPotato Thu 25-Apr-13 10:36:22

I'm going through the same! Only on week 2 and every drop off is heart wrenching. Staff say he's getting better and crying for shorter length each day but I'm just going home and sobbing myself! He's 3.3

tacal Thu 25-Apr-13 10:48:46

My ds is 4 and has been at nursery since he was 9 months old and still goes through phases of being like this. He seems to suffer from anxiety about leaving me, especially if he is tired. I am also a lone parent and ds became very unsettled when my dad got ill 2 years ago and passed away. I dont leave ds when he is crying, I stay with him until he is settled or at least not crying. It is what feels right for us.

You just have to do what feels right for you and your dd.

It is good you know she is happy at nursery and enjoys it.

Best wishes

AnythingNotEverything Thu 25-Apr-13 11:22:56

I know this is heartbreaking but as least you know she's fine once you've gone.

Potentially a slightly silly question, but could you ask her why she cries?

AuntySammy Thu 25-Apr-13 21:52:26

I work in a nursery and children do cry when they first leave parents some children just take longer to settle than others. It may help to take in and settle her at an activity such as puzzle, playdough, painting, drawing or even toy animals (children seem to love those). Then say something like "Mummy is going now to do some very boring work but I will be back after lunch and we can do something fun together". Then perhaps a cuddle from her keyworker if she is distressed, and your dd can wave from a window whilst you bounce up and down outside (or do something else silly) - I know a parent who did this once and it worked her son stopped crying and laughed and then was fine the rest of the day!!! All most children need to settle at nursery is a distraction, and reassurance about where you are going, why you are leaving them, and that you will return. Eventually she will settle and jsut run in! Good luck

KatoPotato Fri 26-Apr-13 10:28:16

Thanks for this AuntySammy It's great to hear DS isn't the exception to the rule, as it can be hard to feel like that when yours is the only one heart broken at drop off!

DH took him yesterday and performed a loving but perfunctory drop off and as a result he had a far better day! - I know it's early days but any advice is so greatly appreciated! thanks

Mybabysmellsofbiscuits Tue 30-Apr-13 11:39:25

Thanks all for your comments! I had a feeling there were probably others experiencing the same thing.

I had a chat with her key worker and we are going to try a reward system this week, where she gets to choose whatever activity she wants to do if she has a smile when I drop her off... will see how that goes. I am also going to try dropping her at breakfast time as we are so rushed to get everything ready and get out the door in the morning, she probably feels like she is being dumped there. She loves having her lunch at nursery so hopefully this will be a bit appealing to her.

Fingers crossed! xx

Mondaybaby Tue 30-Apr-13 12:09:20

Hi Mybaby, Gosh - it is so hard isn't it. My dd is 2.8 and has been at nursery since was 7 months old. I could have written parts of your OP. She is fine when I leave her and seems to have a good time when she is there. She has good attachments to her carers and has a little bunch of friends who she plays with. I am also a lone parent. She still goes through phases when she asks me not to leave her and clings on to me when it is time to go. If we haven't been to nursery for a while, like over the Christmas holidays, she is much more unsettled and will cry for a week or two until our routine has settled down again. Other than that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason why she sometimes cries when I leave her. It helps if her favourite key worker is around when I drop her off or if she can do her favourite activity like painting or water play. I don't think she is doing it for affect but think that she is genuinely sad to see me go.
I have made a photo album for her to keep at nursery with pictures of me and her and grandparents which she can look at at any time. I also now 'fill' her pockets with hugs and kisses which I tell her she can use if she misses me! She likes this game and tells me at the end of the day if she used any. Other than that, I try to stay calm and not get upset when she is distressed and I try not to leave her when she is very distressed. But you are definitly not on your own!

CheeseStrawWars Tue 30-Apr-13 12:26:53

"Nursery have been pretty good, they have made her a star chart that she can collect a sticker on when she comes in smiling".... "we are going to try a reward system this week, where she gets to choose whatever activity she wants to do if she has a smile when I drop her off"

Seriously? They're teaching her to ignore her feelings in order to get rewards? What is this teaching her in the longer term? That there's something wrong with her or she's bad if she's sad? That she will effectively be punished - through withholding rewards - if she doesn't put on her happy face when it suits other people? That her feelings are less important than keeping other people happy?

Her sadness is upsetting to you, so they're trying to manage her so she doesn't upset you, rather than looking at why she might be upset.

I am shock that the nursery is applying reward charts in this way. Trying to reduce the rush in the morning sounds very sensible on your part, and I'd actually consider looking at other nurseries if they take this approach in other areas of their "care". Have you tried telling her it is okay to be sad, and that you are sad to be away from her too, but you'll be looking forward to seeing her again at hometime and hearing all about what she's done?

AmyYammaChildLover Thu 02-May-13 17:46:39

I too am shocked at the way the nursery tackled this. All 3 dds were very clingy at drop off, however ds1 is absolutely fine, so not experiencing this at the moment. Know where you're coming from, and all the advice given is exactly what I'd say. Maybe a special toythat she takes in with her, if the nursery allows it. It could represent you, or something so she knows you're always with her? Worked with two of my dds.

AllBoxedUp Thu 09-May-13 18:28:38

I know this might be a bit late to be helpful but recently my DS who is 2.5 was getting really upset about going to nursery and saying, "It's a mummy day" every morning. It was making me feel terrible.

What I did was draw out a really basic planner for the week with a picture to represent nursery for the days he was there, a picture of me for my day off and a picture of all 3 of us for Saturday and Sunday. In the morning I would show it to him and tell him which day it was and how many days it was until the "Mummy day" or "family day" at the weekend. It seemed to really help as he knew more what was going on.

Sheila Thu 09-May-13 18:41:24

Bit radical but could you find an alternative form of child care, like a childminder? My DS went to three different nurseries and hated them all. I really regret sending him now - I think even the best ones are grim, although some children cope better than others.

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