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DD still unhappy at nursery drop off after 14 months - is this normal?

(8 Posts)
MGMidget Thu 24-Nov-16 11:54:55

My DD (now aged 20 months) attends daycare nursery two days a week. She had been attending the same nursery since she was six months old. At first she seemed fine but when she moved to the new room we had a bit more of a bumpy ride. Obviously this meant getting used to new staff (although the nursery is small and they used to open up her original 'baby' room with the 'toddler' room she is now in for part of the day which meant she was already mixing with the toddlers and the staff in that room from the beginning). In the older room there were issues with biting which, thankfully, seem to be under control now. However, when my daughter arrives at nursery her demeanour quickly changes from being happy and bubbly to serious and miserable! Sometimes she cries but usually she just goes quiet and its clear from the body language that she is unhappy and looks like she goes into some sort of emotional shutdown. This morning I felt awful leaving her as she was clearly unhappy but doesn't protest as she knows it useless (she's been going for 14 months so knows I not going to pick her up and take her back home nomatter what!). In some ways it would be easier if she cried as I would see that as normal baby behaviour. However, the silence, look of misery and general body language (looking slightly frozen, looking down, fiddling with her fingers) makes me worry about what psychological damage this may be doing to her!

I am wondering if this is just normal though. Bearing in mind that she only usually attends for 2 days a week (although I do often book extra days here and there). Could it be that she's not attending often enough to accept it as part of her routine? She seems happy enough on the way to nursery and seems to know that's where she is going. Its just when she gets there her face drops when she sees the staff! Although the nursery is small they seem to rotate the staff a lot in the room she is in (possibly they work shifts) so there are quite a few different faces (as well as temporary cover staff) that she encounters.

I think one of the differences in the baby room she was in before was that there were fewer staff and mostly I handed her over to the same staff member who she was obviously happy to be with.

Does anyone think this is normal behaviour or should I be concerned and if so any suggestions how to deal with it? Thank you!

MGMidget Thu 24-Nov-16 11:57:42

PS, I should add that she has been in the toddler room since 13 months - so for 7 months now. Therefore, its not a case of getting used to a new room.

fuzzyfozzy Thu 24-Nov-16 12:23:40

Hi. I can only answer as a childminder. I want my children to want to come here. They all come running in. Ask to see photos of her day to ensure she's engaged and happy whilst there, is there an online learning journey to show she's making progress.
It's a gut feeling sadly, I have moved children on because I didn't think they'd settled.

MessyBun247 Thu 24-Nov-16 12:31:02

Does she enjoy herself after you leave her there? What do the staff say about it?

MGMidget Thu 24-Nov-16 13:32:30

The staff say she is OK after the first few minutes. Reading between the lines a few things they have said suggest she is quite quiet the nursery generally though as it was after she had been there for nearly a year when they told me that she was 'copying the others' and running up and down and screaming' and was 'coming out of her shell'. I was a bit surprised that she had been subdued for so long that they felt they needed to make a point of telling me something like that. At home my DD is very vocal but when she meets strangers she tends to be quiet and look at them a bit suspiciously at first.

The staff have two standard responses at the end of the day. Either she's had a 'good day' (they say that to everyone) and then they run through what she has done according to the notes in the book. The alternative is that something has happened (which means a bite, scratch, accident) and then they explain it and ask me to sign the form. Usually the staff member running through her day hasn't been with her all day so they are just reporting from the notes. If I ask questions they will ask the relevant staff member for the answer if they are still there (sometimes they will have gone home early as they seem to work shifts). Also, quite often my DD has had more than one person responsible for her during the day - often two or three. Therefore, I can only get snippets of info from each member of staff and that is if they are still there when I pick up. I get the impression childcare is very much a communal effort amongst the staff, although I'm not suggesting that is necessarily wrong, I had assumed it was the norm in a nursery.

When I pick up my DD I do try to watch her before she has seen me, although often she sees me as soon as I come in the door and comes running over excitedly. If I get the chance to watch her before she sees me she is usually busy with something but I would expect that. When she sees me she immediately wants to leave and lets herself out of the gate to her room and grabs my hand. If for some reason she needs to go back into the room (e.g. because she has just done a poo and they have offered to change her nappy) there will be big protests and tears. However, that may well be normal for any toddler in any nursery when their mum has come to pick them up.

Its the settling in at morning drop off that is making me wonder. The staff she is serious with have been with the nursery for a long time so I suppose I would have expected her to be a bit more comfortable with them.

Thank you fuzzyfoggy for suggestions on what I can ask for. I think it would be very useful to try and get more insight into how she is during the day. I know the sort of stuff she does from her 'diary' but this is more factual - what she has eaten, how long she slept and a list of activities which she is doing with the other children in the room.

Rinceoir Thu 24-Nov-16 13:39:35

Can you arrive at an unusual time to collect her to see how she is outside of the hustle and bustle of collection time?

I would be concerned if this is an ongoing issue, as if she knows the staff well I would expect her to have settled better by now. My DD (2.7) loves going to nursery, runs in every day and doesn't even say goodbye to us usually! She had an argument with another child on Monday and was still subdued and sad on Tuesday but the staff made a big point of discussing it with me on collection. I usually speak to her keyworker in the evenings, and we have a meeting with her every 3 months to discuss how things are going.

MGMidget Thu 24-Nov-16 14:15:17

Rinceoir, thanks, yes I will try going in at a different time. I don't actually know who her keyworker is anymore or if she has one! When she moved rooms there was a temporary staff member in charge of the room and there have been a few changes. I think I may ask for a meeting with the nursery too (although they don't really offer this).

Rinceoir Thu 24-Nov-16 18:26:57

I think you should definitely ask for a meeting. My DD started nursery at 10months and bonded with her key worker very well. When she transitioned to the toddler room she was assigned a new keyworker (and the transition was slow and staged) and they are very close also. She is of course looked after by all the staff but her keyworker is who she knows to go to if she's hurt or upset.

I think you need to voice your concerns and come up with a plan together- if they aren't willing to do that you may need to consider moving her.

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