nursery has ruined my happy child...

(76 Posts)
queenrollo Mon 26-Jan-15 12:48:18

My two year old started nursery two weeks ago, two 3 hour morning sessions a week.
He has only ever been away from me a handful of times in the last two years, all with his dad or my mum both of whom he knows well.
I stayed for the first two hours of the session and then went off with a cuppa to the parents room and he lasted 20 mins before realising I had gone, and he got upset. They couldn't distract or console him so they came and got me and we went home as it was so close to session end.

Second session I stayed first 20 mins and then they took him to wash his hands for snack and i went to parents room. He got upset a few times but they distracted him well and asked me to take him home half hour early as he was getting tired and they wanted him to go home while he was still happy and had good associations.

Third session....keyworker greeted him with a toy and he ran off to play so I left straight away. He had a couple of little moments across the morning but enjoyed himself and didn't want to leave when i went to pick up.

Fourth session - no-one came to him when i entered the room and he was clinging, so after waiting a little while i ended up trying to get him to play and when he went to the other side of the room and seemed engaged I left. But he saw me go and got really upset.
I decided the best thing to do was keep going and he would most likely calm down.
Came home. Went back at the end of three hours to be told he had been upset and cross all morning, even after a nap.
He was sobbing when i entered the room and it was awful.
He has been ultra clingy and upset all weekend, and i just went into town with him and my normally happy and sociable boy has screamed and clung to me every time a stranger tried to talk to him, and i had to leave. I had to struggle to get him in the car seat and he cried for me from the back seat all the way home.

Sorry this is so long but I just feel utterly overwhelmed by the sudden change in him.
It was a difficult decision to send him to nursery, and I have tried very hard to be positive about it and see it as a good thing for him even though for me it is difficult.
He is supposed to go again on Weds....the staff suggested I hand him over at reception and I have reservations about this but am willing to try and see if it reduces his anxiety at me leaving.

Thank you if you have read this far. If anyone has any suggestions or reassurances for me they would be most welcome.

OP’s posts: |
dementedpixie Mon 26-Jan-15 18:55:34

does he need to be going just yet? Neither of mine went until they got their free hours at age 3

Eminybob Mon 26-Jan-15 18:58:24

This breaks my heart and is the exact reason I don't want to go back to work (but will have to when DS is 14 months)sad
Sorry, no advice, just thanks

LittleBearPad Mon 26-Jan-15 18:59:20

You need to say goodbye to him and tell him you'll pick him up later. Disappearing when he's distracted will make him worry you're going to leave him whenever you're together rather than just at nursery. Hw needs to learn that you may go, but he'll know that you've gone and most importantly you WILL be back.

Artandco Mon 26-Jan-15 19:00:02

You need to tell him your going, not just keep sneaking off. I'm surprised the nursery are suggesting this

LuckyLopez Mon 26-Jan-15 19:02:09

Sneaking off is what's ruined your happy child! He'll be a nervous wreck never knowing when you're going to disappear. Why arent you telling him goodbye, that you LJ d him and you'll be back for him very soon? How unsettling for him.

LuckyLopez Mon 26-Jan-15 19:03:09



longestlurkerever Mon 26-Jan-15 19:03:10

op it's early days might he be happier in a childminder setting? My dd went to nursery from a young age but she liked it straight away really. That said she took a few weeks to settle into pre school and she likes it now. It's a tough call and I feel for you.

Nolim Mon 26-Jan-15 19:05:21

Agree with bear and artan. Dont just disapear. Say bye bye with a happy face (fake it if you have to). Give him some time to learn to be surrounded by ppl other than mum.

Galvanized Mon 26-Jan-15 19:07:32

We use nursery in a similar way (ie more every day, not many hours) and I always explain the routine of the day to my two year old - "you'll have a snack then play then have lunch (or whatever) then mummy (or daddy) will come and collect you" - and wave bye before I go. I think it helps even though it sounds like a lot of detail to give a two year old!

Galvanized Mon 26-Jan-15 19:08:33

(Typo: not every day)

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 26-Jan-15 19:10:18

Read Owl Babies to him. DDs nursery has this at story time for the first week of term for the benefit of the new starts.

MarmiteLady Mon 26-Jan-15 19:11:04

I agree with others that you should definitely be saying goodbye to your child and letting him know that you are going, but will be coming back. I strongly suspect that this is what's making your child unhappy.

LooksLikeImStuckHere Mon 26-Jan-15 19:11:57

Could you tell him what you'll be doing when you pick him up? It really helps them to understand that nursery is just a temporary thing and that you'll be back?

I also used to advise that parents gave the child something of theirs, asking them if they can look after it until they came back (a teddy, a key etc) but think your DS may be a little young for this.

abadoo Mon 26-Jan-15 19:12:11

Definitely agree. I would talk about the plan for the day, ask him/ tell him about the fun toys he will play with, garden, nice food etc at nursery and that you will be back to pick him up later.
I found my Ds tended to be tearful at pick up as if relieved i'd come back for about 3 weeks. I think he was pretty tired when first settling. Now he races off with barely a backwards glance.

Good luck. Am sure things will improve.

freelancegirl Mon 26-Jan-15 19:13:22

Could it be that he is actually coming down with something - nurseries are hot beds for germs and coughs and colds.

I had exactly the same thing last September with my DS who had only really been with Dh or my parents (I tried him at a childminder when he was a year old and it was a disaster). It was awful at first and in fact I pulled him out of one smaller nursery where he wasn't getting much one on one attention to a bigger one which, contrary to what I would have thought, was much more friendly and distracting. So check first whether this is the right place for him and don't be afraid to move him or change your mind all together.

Once we had moved to the bigger one it did take a few weeks of settling. We are only sending him for two mornings a week and I wanted to do it for him more than anything (I don't really need it as child care) and I am really glad I stuck with it as he now loves it and is learning so much and having such a lot of fun. Of course I was sobbing at first but he really did get used to it like everyone said he would and it's proving to be a really valuable experience for him.

yetanotherchangename Mon 26-Jan-15 19:17:09

Can you leave it six months and try again?

saintlyjimjams Mon 26-Jan-15 19:24:27

Does he need to go now? Is it so you can return to work?

Mum of 3, with my first I would have seen it as my duty to get him to accror nursery, by my third I would have just taken him out of possible (i know it isn't always possible for whatever reason)

skitter Mon 26-Jan-15 19:25:24

My ds started nursery 2 days a week at 15 months (he's now 4.5) and we were very strongly advised by the nursery to always say goodbye, not disappear or slink off while he was distracted, as they felt children were more unsettled if they felt their parents had just disappeared. It really did help him understand that we were going but would be back and we hadn't vanished without saying goodbye. We also had a waving ritual, where he'd wave goodbye from a particular spot each day. It seemed to help him settle. It's still very early days for your ds. I'd try changing how you go about leaving him and see if that helps. He will still be upset saying goodbye for a while but hopefully will start to settle and will be less distressed overall.

queenrollo Mon 26-Jan-15 21:20:09

Thank you for your messages.

He is going to nursery because we have had a very intense two years so far (he has a medical condition which has had a serious impact on our sleep) and I need a bit of time for me. I have no-one who can have him for me a few hours a week so childcare was my only option and having done lots of research this nursery is the only place I feel comfortable sending him.
I think they have just misjudged how to handle settling him in and as I've never done this before I've tripped up a bit with it.
I honestly would prefer not to have him in childcare at all but my mental and physical health are suffering and so I have to accept that this is necessary.

From this week I will start saying a proper goodbye to him and tell him I will be back to collect him In a little while. We'll see how the next couple of weeks go and if he is still really upset then I need to think about what to do.

I just feel between a rock and a hard place about it.

OP’s posts: |
NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Mon 26-Jan-15 21:28:38

Could you ask the nursery if you could take a few pictures of the play areas and where they sit to eat snack etc. Make them into a little book and talk about what he can do there. Be very upbeat and positive. Definitely always say goodbye and that you'll be back in a little while.
Also, as much as possible, try and hand him over to the same couple of people each time.

ProjectGainsborough Mon 26-Jan-15 21:39:47

You do need time for yourself. Definitely.

Do you like the nursery generally? I remember feeling so wobbly about sending my son into nursery and we ended up moving him to a different nursery in the end. There were a few incidents in the first one, but the second nursery just instinctively felt right to me. The atmosphere was lovely, they took the settling in process seriously and they gave me brilliant advice. It's hard to know when you've not done this before, but in my experience, it's worth trusting your gut.

queenrollo Mon 26-Jan-15 21:46:50

Nora it is a small nursery and the same staff on for each session so I can definitely hand him over to the same people each time.
It's a good idea about the photos and I actually already have them in the brochure and lots on their Facebook page so I can definitely sit and do that with him.
It is very nature based and they spend a lot of time outside, which DS absolutely loves and I think I need to talk more about that with him so he looks forward to it.
He is small for his age and not so much language yet, though very good understanding and so even though he is two they are keeping him in the smallest ones room while he settles, but all the children snack together and they gradually migrate to the next room when they are ready - not just because they have turned 2 (he only turned two last week).

I know if we can get past this settling in and separation stuff that he will love it there.

OP’s posts: |
queenrollo Mon 26-Jan-15 21:53:06

project I really do like the nursery. Their daily activities are very much in keeping with how we live and it just felt right when we looked round. They also deliberately keep numbers low so they have a high ratio of staff to children and it's not a manic setting at all (which I felt overwhelmed by in other nurseries)

With a friend they switched to doing an hour every day for a few weeks to get her little one used to the staff and so that would be an option for us too.

But readng this thread I am just wondering why they think me going quietly when he is distracted is a good idea.

OP’s posts: |
KiaOraOAotearoa Mon 26-Jan-15 21:59:28

Don't sneak out!
They have no concept of what's really going on.
Form a ritual, bag on his peg, kiss good bye, say you're coming back and then go. Just go.
Easier said than done, I know.
It will get better.

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