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Ds 2.9 very upset at nursery & dont know why

(6 Posts)
omama Mon 10-Jun-13 20:04:25

Ds 2.9 has been going to nursery 1 day/ week since he was 13 months. For the first year he cried every single time I dropped him off & again when dh picked him up at night. The staff always said he was fine during the day so I presumed it was a bit of separation angst. At age 2 he moved rooms & all the tears stopped, he was happy to be left & I was relieved to say the least!

Anyhow, in the last couple of months he's started getting upset at drop off again, & its getting worse each week. Last week he ran after me & clung to my leg sobbing as I tried to leave & had to be peeled off me. Today he sat clutching his teddies & sobbing. Staff were busy with other crying children so I had to leave him with no-one to comfort him, it was awful & all I've wanted to do all day is go back & get him. Staff have told me the last 3 weeks in a row he's been very teary during the day too, keeps getting upset & mostly seems to be in the mornings & he seems fine in the afternoons. I'm concerned as to why he's suddenly finding it so upsetting, but he can't articulate his feelings yet, aside from telling me he feels sad. sad

I've asked nursery if they've any idea what might be wrong, if there's any issue with another child, or if its staff changes (key worker went on maternity leave in feb & was replaced with 2 new staff) but they assure me he's comfortable with his new keyworker & they can't pinpoint what's wring either. I've no concerns over the general standards of care there so I don't know what else can be wrong or what I/they can do to help.

He seems so unhappy I'm even wondering if I should move him, but he'd be leaving at Christmas anyway (going to preschool instead) so it somehow seems worse to uproot him now only to have to do it all again in 6 months time. I cant ask family to help as they already have him 2 days/wk as it is.

Is there anything anyone can suggest?

Sorry its so long!

ReetPetit Mon 10-Jun-13 21:02:28

I think it could be because hes only doing 1 day a week, i know it sounds weird but maybe inxreasing his days would help? Or otherwise could you move him temporarily to a childminder rather than a new nursery, but again I would advise doing more than 1 day if poss. It can be hard to settle and form friendships if a child is only doing 1 day. You might find 2 shorter consective days work better if thats a possibility for you...

MouseSquirrelMum Mon 10-Jun-13 22:18:45

Poor little one and poor poor mummy!

My dd behaved in a similar way at about the same age. I never really figured out what (if any) of the following were part of the problem - but here they are in case any fit your situation, plus the rather odd story of what worked.....I think there's a separation anxiety thing at around this age too.

Things that happened: her brother left nursery for school, her best friend left a few months earlier and nobody really explained where she was, her favourite carer went on holiday, others in her "room" moved up to the Preschool room, her brother was getting lots of attention for starting school (and he was upset). Looking at it all together, it doesn't sound like a happy time for her but we hadn't realised somehow. Leaving her every day was a nightmare of crying and clinging, all we could manage was a kind of "hand her to someone and run" technique that felt awful. She became really hard work at nursery too as she was upset by seemingly small things and wouldn't calm down.

Eventually I felt the best solution would be for her to move "up a room" and I and the staff all told her that she could do that if she didn't cry. So every day for a week she got a sticker from me for not crying, which she never did once (!) then she moved rooms. If she could stop it so easily, was she ever really upset or was it an act?? I have no idea!

Hope this helps somehow, good luck.

Willowbear Tue 11-Jun-13 17:51:38

Children who only attend for one or two days a week do tend to take longer to settle but a year seems a bit excessive. You mention that staff were settling other children who were upset, are most of the children upset in the mornings? If so that would concern me too.

I work in a 12-24 month room and i have to say that in general none of the children are upset in the mornings, most happily wave bye bye.

If we do have a child who finds the initial seperation difficult then we look at stratergies and distractions for when that child arrives eg bubbles or paint.

I would maybe talk to his keyworker about techniques you could both use to make it easier for him.

omama Tue 11-Jun-13 20:52:53

ReetPetit - you are right, with hindsight he'd have probably settled better if I'd sent him for more sessions. His grandparents look after him on the other day that I work (day after he goes to nursery) & whilst I see the benefit of 2 consecutive days it'd mean he wouldn't see his GP's, not to mention the extra childcare cost. So I think we are stuck with 1 day for now hmm

Mouse - its a relief to know he is not the only one, not that I would wish it on anyone as its awful! I can see how those changes could have been a trigger for your dd, but am racking my brains trying to think what might be bothering ds & the only thing I can think of is the staff changes that may have unsettled him. Argh I'd completely forgotton too that DS is due to change rooms when he turns 3 anyway. That's 2 months away so hopefully if nothing else helps, that might! If he's upset again next week I might have a meeting with the manager. She is lovely & she looks after the 3-5's, so I might ask her if they will start integrating him early.

willowbear - he is very, very sensitive. Yes a couple of other children were upset on Monday but this is not the norm - usually they are quite relaxed when their mums go. For a long time, so was DS, just not anymore sad

That said, I drop him off at 8am so there's only a handful of kids there. The majority of the other kids arrive nearer to 9am, so I don't really get to see how many of them cry. Oh god now you're making me worry I've picked an awful nursery. Should alarm bells be ringing at the fact he's cried for a whole year & is now doing so again???

His keyworker isn't there when I drop him off either. hmm Because its so early, there are only 2 staff there, the rest come in a little later before all the other kids arrive. He does know them ok but they are busy doing breakfast (serving/feeding babies) so aren't able to spend much time distracting him, aside from giving a quick cuddle.

Willowbear Tue 11-Jun-13 23:43:02

The nursery should have enough familiar staff on in the morning to be able to give each child a good welcome and spend a bit of time distracting, playing with them. It may be worth mentioning your concerns to the nursery manager as maybe the staff shift rota needs looking at to allow this to happen.

It is surprising how little things or changes to routine can affect little ones. Even things like being dropped off in a different room to usual or a different face than he expects to see can be stressful for them.

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