What I overheard at nursery(18 Posts)
My ds (21) months has recently started nursery (2 days p/w), he's going into 3rd week. When I arrived to pick up today I overheard them in the garden before they could see me. My DS was crying, and shouting 'Mummy' in quite a distressed & angry way. His key worker said in a strict voice, 'you're fine Gabriel. You're happy. We're playing with the ball, you send back the ball'. Then he briefly stopped crying, then started again & she said his name pretty sternly, and repeated 'you're fine!' What do others think of this approach? I have to admit I have a very soft and gentle approach, because that's just me, and it was a shock for me to hear this, but I don't think a firm approach is necessarily bad. Just not sure what to think about this. The key worker said when he was unsettled going down for his nap she stroked his hair and he went to sleep, so it sounds like she can be comforting. My DS seems to like her, though is still getting upset sometimes. They say overall he's making progress and is doing well despite ups and downs. I'd be really interested to hear what anyone who has worked in a nursery thinks to the stern approach when a child is crying. I do get that they need to minimise crying for the other kids' sake, too, and don't have the resources to be constantly consoling a child, but would really like some opinions. It's all so new. Thanks x
Well, I wouldn't be happy. Babies cry at nursery - it's par for the course. And although he was, on one level, "fine" (i.e. safe and being cared for) I would not be OK with my child being treated as an irritant for being upset and crying for Mummy during only his fifth session.
Strict-cross or strict-firm? A small distinction but a significant one, I feel.... I do this (reassure firmly) if my kids get overly worked up, say if they have a wee bang or tumble (or some other small upset) and frustration or tiredness makes them overreact. I have a friended who favours the very gentle sympathetic approach even for small upsets and it seems to me to actually prolong the angst....
That's what I've found anyway but everyone's different!
I took my son out of a nursery for this same thing. I dropped him off one morning and he was upset but I had to get to work. As I walked away I heard the leader saying "you're fine. That's enough now. Stop crying." Etc. It played on my mind all day and in the end I didn't send him back (it was the final straw after several other incidents)
In my opinion if a child is sad they need understanding and sympathy,, especially when so young.
The thing that doesn't sit right with me is telling a child that they are happy when they are clearly not. Their feelings need to be validated, and if they are upset, then that needs to be acknowledged, and the cause dealt with, or the child gently distracted . What you have described is none of these, in my opinion.
I think small children need to be cuddled when they're upset. Telling them to get over it and minimising their very real feelings risks creating emotionally constipated adults who bottle their feelings up - it's not healthy. I do agree with Eeeek that you don't want to pander to it either or they never learn to handle their own emotions, but what you overheard doesn't sound like that.
I'd have a chat to the nursery about their approach when the children are upset and raise what you overheard. And if you're not happy after that then in your position I'd consider moving nurseries.
I would really judge it on the tone of the keyworker. If it's a firm voice to get him to refocus attention back on the game he's playing (which is distracting him from being upset), I'd be fine with that. On the other hand if it sounded more like telling him off for crying, or if he was really upset in the first place, then no, not okay.
It's difficult to say wether it's ok without hearing the tone tbh.
I have used this approach before, but I would say firm/breezy rather than stern? Sort of "ok stop crying, you're fine" with a cuddle and then "let's go and do this" to distract.
I have only really done this when I know a child well and have seen that they can get themselves in a pickle, like too much reassurance adds to their anxiety, but confidence and distraction helps them to recover quickly.
It's hard to know, without knowing your child, if this is an appropriate approach to use.
Sorry, should clarify - I don't mean firm like "stop crying and play your game!". I'm thinking more like the kind of tone of voice that I do when my toddler is starting to get worked up - I'm a fairly soft-and-gentle type of parent myself, but I still have a firmer-than-usual tone of voice for getting toddler to listen to whatever I'm trying to redirect her to/distract her with if she's starting to get worked up.
I'm pretty firm myself, but no, I wouldn't be happy with this.
Thanks all, yeah I agree very much with the above in terms of parenting approaches and validating a child's emotions. I guess I wasn't sure what was normal at nursery in terms of dealing with crying, though I appreciate it depends on the child, too. I would say her tone sounded pretty intolerant of his crying to me.
Just reread Op and realised your DC is only 21m (same age as DS) and actually I definitely wouldn't use this approach with him in an emotionally hurt (as in sad as opposed to fallen over hurt) situation... Not even sure he would even understand that tbh?!? Use the firmly reassuring tactic more with DD(3.5)...
I would trust your instincts on this one.
Go with your gut instinct. My first DD was mostly fine in nursery my second we pulled out of the same nursery after 6wks as she was unhappy 1yr old who just didn't settle. Found lovely childminder never had any tears even from day1 and now 4yrs on she still loves going there for after school care.
"Intolerant of his crying" I would not be happy with.
I arrived at nursery to pick up my DS (28 months) a few weeks ago and found him upset.
He was sitting on his key workers knee, with a drink of milk and she had collected a few of his favourite toys to try and cheer him up.
I was happy with this- I wouldn't be so happy if I heard her being stern with him!!
I wouldn't be happy with that. At my DD's nursery they cuddle and distract in that sort of situation.
Thanks. Couldn't sleep last night, worrying about it, but I had a long chat to his key worker about it this morning, which has made me feel better in that she says she always give him a cuddle when he's upset (though it didn't sound like she did that moment I overheard yesterday in the garden), and tries to make him happy, and that he spends 90% of the day on her lap or playing right next to her. I think I'm going to see if he settles soon or not and let that guide me. I was glad I raised it with her, though.
Speak to the staff. I had a similar incident with one particular member of staff and DD. I spoke to the manager and explained I wouldn't be happy with her being dealt with like this and her key worker was changed. Two years on, DD adores her key worker (to the point where she's the only person who is allowed to do her hair!) and all issues are resolved. However I echo what others say, your gut is there for a reason! Good luck!!
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