Gradual hours or full days straight away?

(26 Posts)
Dottydel31 Mon 15-Jun-20 17:53:12

Hi

FTM here. Baby boy is 7 months old on Monday. He was due to start nursery in may (3 days) but I had to extend my maternity leave due to coronavirus. I can't afford to take anymore maternity (I actually do want to go back to work too, as much as I love being a mummy I do miss my job) so I'm now due back 20th July and I'm starting him at nursery 29th June.

My original thinking was as I had 3 weeks between him starting nursery and me going back to work I'd start him gradually. 3 hours the 1st day, then then after till after lunch on the 2nd day, til 2 the next day and so on until he was doing til 4.30. That's the latest he would be in as daddy finishes at 4 so will collect him after work everyday.

Lately though I've been wondering if I'm actually being way too over cautious and I should just do full days straight away as he needs to get used to it or would u do it gradually?

He is a very happy, chilled out & easy going baby so I'm sure he will be fine but saying that I'm just worried since the lockdown he's only known me & his dad as obviously he couldn't go to baby groups or see family and friends so I'm not sure how he will be when not with us.

Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated

TIA

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Megan2018 Mon 15-Jun-20 17:57:24

Doesn’t your nursery have a recommended settling in pattern?
Mine does although they are happy to tweak to suit. We start with staying with them for a couple of hours, then leave them for a couple of hours, then build up over a couple of weeks.

Dottydel31 Mon 15-Jun-20 18:03:19

Well he was originally getting 2 settling in visits when I 1st paid the deposit (1 where i stay and play with him and the 2nd where he stayed in the baby room for an hour without me while I went to the office to do paperwork) but that got reduced to 1 due to coronavirus. And even that is only 1 hour with the key worker, me and the manager in a separate room away from all the other babies just to go through paperwork. My understanding is the 1st time I leave him will be his 1st day x

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DeRigueurMortis Mon 15-Jun-20 18:11:37

It's a while ago now for me but DS did a few settling in sessions of a couple of hours and then did full days.

This was recommended by the nursery and it worked well.

The rationale is that initially the hardest part for children is being away from their parent but once in situ they relax and have fun.

If you do shorter days then the ratio of distress to pleasure is higher, whereas in a full day they might be sad for small while then have many hours of fun.

In my case after less than a week DS didn't care about me dropping him off and went all smily faced to nursery excited by the promised plans for that day (especially anything super messy that we wouldn't do at home).

Megan2018 Mon 15-Jun-20 19:06:50

That sounds dreadful! I wouldn’t be happy with that. My DD is having 2-3 weeks! And they don’t charge.

On that basis I would be only doing gradual build up, half days at most.

Dottydel31 Mon 15-Jun-20 19:42:29

@Megan2018 I won't lie when they 1st told me the visiting policy had changed I was a bit sad and taken aback but in fairness it isn't their choice they have had to make changes to because of the stupid virus. I was ok with 2 visits as they were on consecutive days so I felt better but he will go for his 1 visit on the Friday and start on the Monday.

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Megan2018 Mon 15-Jun-20 20:16:09

@Dottydel31 my nursery hasn’t changed settling in for under 2’s. They’ve modified the over 2’s slightly though but still allowing parents in.
I’ve delayed my return so it will hopefully be better still, I was due back 1 Sept but now late Oct. Of course there could be a second wave then shock

I guess all you can do is try and see.

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Pawsin Tue 16-Jun-20 21:27:12

My setting has a 4 week settling in process! No way would we just accept a baby for a full day from the off. I would personally do as many visits/shorter days as possible.

There's no way of knowing how a child is going to react to nursery, even if they're generally happy/laidback they still may struggle. The whole settling in process is to teach the child that it's okay as mummy IS going to come back, that's a lot easier to teach working up in small time periods, rather than dropping a child off with strangers and not returning for 8 hours or whatever. I'm not saying that to worry you, as of course some children may not be phased, but most good nurseries have a settling in process for a reason and I think it's absolutely necessary. So yes I would try and do as many visits/shorter days as you can

rainbowscalling Tue 16-Jun-20 21:42:51

DD is 3 and a half. She started nursery just this week. Her setting has reduced settling in and she had a session weds last week where I was there for half hour then left her for half hour. She went Thursday for an hour on her own. Then started 3 full days a week, 7:30-6am yesterday.

Obviously she is a bit older and has settled in so well so I haven't been worried. She had been ready to start for months and when picked up today complained that she wanted to stay longer.

I would say only you know your child and how you think they might cope.

Megan2018 Tue 16-Jun-20 22:20:50

@rainbowscalling no offence meant (genuinely) but there’s a huge difference between leaving a 7 month old baby who hasn’t been left ever as half their life so far has been socially isolated in a pandemic and a 3.5 year old child! A 3.5 year old can (usually) talk for a start and I don’t think anyone can second guess how an infant might cope. They won’t ever have been challenged like this.

Sleeplessnights1234 Tue 16-Jun-20 22:24:48

We had about 4 settling in visits (us being there for paperwork first couple times then an hour then 2 hours. Didn't have to pay for them. Then he started after Christmas and I went back to work. My DP took holidays incase he really didn't settle (probably a bit over cautious but I felt better knowing he would be there and he also got a couple days to himself) worked out great.

Rainycloudyday Tue 16-Jun-20 22:32:26

We have taken three weeks settling in with both of our kids, starting from an hour and slowly building up to a full day. To be honest, I wouldn’t feel too good about a nursery that would entertain the idea of a baby going from zero to full days straight off.

Rainycloudyday Tue 16-Jun-20 22:33:23

To add, all those settling sessions were included in our registration fee which was on the high side as a result (£150).

Megan2018 Tue 16-Jun-20 22:35:54

@Rainycloudyday that sounds similar to ours. We can have unlimited settling in the month before start date. I had to pay a weeks fees to register (£220ish)

rainbowscalling Tue 16-Jun-20 22:51:03

@Megan2018 I completely agree, the circumstances are different. However my main point was that it had to be a judgement call made by the parent of each child. You can't know 100% how a child of any age is going to react to being left somewhere.

My DD might be 3.5 but she has never been left with someone who isn't a family member and, especially during lockdown has become extremely clingy with both myself and DP being home 24/7 (him furloughed and me working 9-5). I had no idea how she would react and 7:30am-6pm is a long day for any child.

If you think, in the long run, that your child may cope ok with long days straight away then you should try them. Especially if you are in a position of being able to collect if needed. If a child becomes too upset and cannot be settled at any point, whether a 2 hour session or 10 hour session, the nursery staff will call for a parent to go in. You are not going to be abandoning them completely.

Dottydel31 Wed 17-Jun-20 06:53:34

Thank you all for your advice. It's very much appreciated. I think I'll stick to my original plan of doing it gradually. It's so hard being a 1st time mum and never knowing what the right thing to do is (let alone during a pandemic) I just want to make sure he is happy and settled at nursery. I'd hate to think he's inconsolable all day and I'm stuck at work unable to do anything. Thanks again :-)

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yippityboomdeboom Thu 18-Jun-20 21:23:36

I'd go with your instincts and do it gradually, never mind the baby, you might well need it yourself as it's a big shock suddenly being away from your baby all day. I have just started my 12mo at nursery 3 days a week. We had one visit where I stayed with her and did paperwork, then a week where she was left 30m/1hr/1h30, then a week of half days about 8-12 (all free as part of settling). Then this past week she's done full days but 8-5 as opposed to 7-6 which is what she'd do if we had to commute (both wfh currently). I really recommend the week of half days if you can, it's still a good chunk of time but isn't as intimidating for either of you as suddenly doing a whole day. My baby isn't a great napper and it took until the third half day for them to get her to sleep, I didn't want to leave her for a full day until I knew she would go to sleep at nursery. The first full day I called about 2:30 and would have gone to collect her then if she was upset but she was fast asleep so I left her. She's settled in very well now. Good luck!

Applepie0403 Fri 19-Jun-20 14:48:26

Go with your instincts as you know what is best for your child. My DD started nursery full time last Monday and she seems to love it. We did the following settling in sessions the week before (she's just turned 1 btw):
Mom - 45mins
Tues - 1hr
Weds - 1.5hrs
Thurs - 2hrs
Fri - 3.5 hrs
Our nursery doesn't even let us go in for paperwork - all was done outside.

Hope everything works out for your child!

KaptenKrusty Fri 19-Jun-20 14:56:14

I am a manager at a nursery - usually we would do, a morning with you and baby - then you come on day 2 and try leave him for a bit (pop out for a coffee or whatever)

Then half days for 2 days and then full days after that

At the moment though we can’t have parents come in at all - so we aren’t not taking new children until September now sadly.

Each child is different - I’d give it a go though - he might settle quickly and Be happy to be left!

Am sure if he is unsettled they will call you back to get him x

lineandsinker Fri 19-Jun-20 15:04:09

We are in a similar situation, OP. Both DH and I are teachers and I’m due back to work in September. Our chosen nursery is term-time only, and I was hoping to do some settling in sessions in July with DS and then going all day from September.

The nursery has now cancelled the settling in sessions due to COVID with a view to doing them when DS starts in September but not sure how either DH or I are going to get the time off school to settle him in.

Feeling daunted by the fact that we are going to have to just leave him in nursery all day 4x a week from the off but I don’t think we have much choice. Both sets of GPs work full-time, too.

ZooKeeper19 Fri 19-Jun-20 15:48:43

We have a nearly 8mo that is due to start a nursery in August (10m) with me still on mat leave and then in September I was to go back to work.

Due to the virus situation (maybe not solely due to that) he has not seen anyone for months now (just his parents) and when we took him for a socially distanced visit last weekend it was pandemonium, he screamed like it was the end of days. He is petrified of other people, the moment he sees a stranger looking at him he goes full on.

I am super anxious about the nursery now, and cannot really imagine this will work. So I would advise, if you can, try see how he reacts to strangers, adults, without your presence (which is a hard one in the current distancing situation). I would definitely go for as many short stays in the beginning as possible. I agree with one of the previous posters, it'll also affect you (I know I will be super upset leaving him somewhere and just walking away, oh gosh).

Dottydel31 Mon 22-Jun-20 07:32:53

ZooKeeper19

We have a nearly 8mo that is due to start a nursery in August (10m) with me still on mat leave and then in September I was to go back to work.

Due to the virus situation (maybe not solely due to that) he has not seen anyone for months now (just his parents) and when we took him for a socially distanced visit last weekend it was pandemonium, he screamed like it was the end of days. He is petrified of other people, the moment he sees a stranger looking at him he goes full on.

I am super anxious about the nursery now, and cannot really imagine this will work. So I would advise, if you can, try see how he reacts to strangers, adults, without your presence (which is a hard one in the current distancing situation). I would definitely go for as many short stays in the beginning as possible. I agree with one of the previous posters, it'll also affect you (I know I will be super upset leaving him somewhere and just walking away, oh gosh).


This is such a tough situation. I'm "glad" (not sure that's the right word) that I'm not the only one in this position. It's so frustrating as before all this Covid I was quite looking forward to him going to nursery as I knew he would have fun.

I will say we have done a fair few socially distant garden visits to nanny and grandad and he's had been very receptive to them. They have even got a small cheeky smile every so often. I can tell thou that he's a little more wary but he didn't scream the place down so I guess that's positive.

He seems to love other children. (not that he's seen many). When my older niece who is 12, comes on FaceTime she only has to look at the camera and he gets so excited. I don't think it's that he remembers her (I wish that were the case). So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will love being around babies his own age.

Well Friday is the settling in visit and Monday is D-day so we shall see how we go.... confused

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ZooKeeper19 Mon 22-Jun-20 09:01:59

@Dottydel31 please do update with how it went.

We have had a few not-so-socially-distant meetings with some friends (everyone was isolated but still not too recommended) and my LO literally screamed every time someone talked to him and even just seeing random faces he screamed. He was better with just 2-3 people (adults) and not sure how he would do with a baby (we do not have any close friends with small children).

I will keep my fingers crossed that your day goes well today <3

Dottydel31 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:30:39

@ZooKeeper19

Thank you so much. I will do <3

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Dottydel31 Fri 26-Jun-20 19:45:49

@ZooKeeper19

Settling in visit today could not have gone any better. DS did nothing but smile and play happily with the toys. I even stepped out of the room for 15 mins to fill out some paperwork and left him with one of the nursery nurses and I'm not even sure he noticed I'd gone. Feel so much happier about Monday now! 🤞🏻for a repeat performance and hope it wasn't just the novelty of being somewhere new! xx

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