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So worried about clingy child starting Nursery

(11 Posts)
5ambreakfastclub Tue 01-Sep-20 11:01:19

My elder DD ( nearly 3) will be starting nursery for the first time later this month ( we are overseas)
Pre COVID she was looked after by a nanny while I was at work and she was fine with that arrangement. Now post COVID so much has changed for her , we went back to the U.K. for 6months, I had DD2 ( now 4 months) , DH was only with us a few weeks as he was working overseas and mainly it's been me looking after both children solo. As a consequence of all this she is very very clingy. She hasn't been around many kids at all because of COVID lockdown and she won't even look or play near any other children now. She cries and gets so upset if I try and have a play date for her .
I'm so worried that she'll just have a meltdown when I take her to nursery but she needs to go for her own social development, plus I'll be back at work in 6 months and she needs more structure than the nanny can give her .
I would be so grateful for any advice on how to prepare her for this. And apologies for the essay!!

OP’s posts: |
AvoidingRealHumans Tue 01-Sep-20 11:33:44

She will have a meltdown when you drop her off so you should prepare yourself for this. The easiest thing to do is just say your goodbyes and that you will be back soon and just go. The nursery staff will be well equipped to deal with this and often the child stops crying pretty much straight away. I remember walking away from the nursery with tears in my eyes, before I'd even got home they had sent me a picture of him playing nicely and not crying.

Could you do shorter sessions and then build up to full sessions to ease her in?

As for preparing her I would just keep speaking to her about going to nursery and how fun it is going to be and how many lovely friends she will make and that you will pick her up at the end of the day. There are probably books you could read together and videos on YouTube maybe so she gets a rough idea of what it will be like.
It is worse for us than them but she will love it after the initial shock.

5ambreakfastclub Tue 01-Sep-20 12:07:04

Thank you @AvoidingRealHumans some really helpful advice . She's only going to be doing mornings so hopefully that helps! Planning to have nanny look after younger DD the first week so I can just concentrate on the older one .
I think you are right it's harder on us than them, I just feel awful putting her through it knowing she'll be upset but I know it's for the best ..

OP’s posts: |
Nichola2310 Tue 01-Sep-20 12:48:33

I would add she may burst into tears when she sees you at collection time. My son does it every day even though I can see him playing happily before he sees me!

iano Tue 01-Sep-20 13:08:18

What is it that scares her about other children? Is this covid related? I think you need to get to the route if this so you can reassure her? I'm guessing you've asked her?
My 3 year old went a bit funny during the height of lockdown and started shouting for ppl to get away from him.

5ambreakfastclub Tue 01-Sep-20 13:12:18

@iano I don't think it's COVID related , we haven't really talked to her about that at all ( she didn't really notice the difference in lockdown as we have garden etc) . I suspect the real problem is that my DH came and went a few times while we were in the U.K. and she scared I'll leave her as well. Which I've tried to reassure her about , so going out for short periods and always coming back but the reality is for the last 6 months I've been the only constant and it's hard for her especially throwing a new sister into the mix . I think it's going to be really hard for her. She was socially shy before all this but not to this extent.

OP’s posts: |
iano Tue 01-Sep-20 14:34:27

How could she not notice a difference between normal life and lock down? Do you not socialise normally? Surely she's figured out that she can't see her friends?
Maybe you do need to talk to her about covid. It's everywhere when you go out. Signs, people talking, on the radio telly etc.
Suddenly having to wear masks if you go to the shop. Don't you think that'll be unsettling for her without explanation?
I get why she's clingy with you. I don't get why she fears other children. Personally I'd be more worried about the latter as it'll make her day at nursery pretty unpleasant seeing that she'll have to engage with lots of children.

Kayjay2018 Tue 01-Sep-20 14:38:07

@5ambreakfastclub my daughter will be 6months old when she starts part time at nursery (I will be returning to work part time) but she has not been away from me even for an hour. I have spoken with the nursery and we are starting a phased introduction to nursery starting at an hour and building up by half an hour every day until I start back at work. I would talk to the nursery as they will have seen this many times before and will be able to offer advice

5ambreakfastclub Tue 01-Sep-20 18:47:36

@iano I think we have such a different life overseas ( compound living so are relatively restricted compared to U.K. ) that when we came back to the U.K. for 6 months it felt like freedom having a big garden and going for countryside walks even though we were in lockdown. She did socialise with other children pre lockdown but she was always the shy one who yes would interact but also always come to me for reassurance and be more of a watcher than a joiner so to her it was great just having me to play with.
The mask thing , it never seemed to bother her . She has a really good vocab and the day we had to start wearing masks ( we were in Scotland so a bit earlier than most of the UK) she didn't really ask any questions she was interested only because i had a Frozen princess mask on. I guess I never really felt that she was affected by COVID but instead the move to the U.K., missing her daddy and now the move back overseas . Maybe I'm wrong !

OP’s posts: |
5ambreakfastclub Tue 01-Sep-20 18:52:52

I guess I never really thought that such young children would have especially close friendships , shes wasn't even 2.5 when we went back to the U.K. so she had children she saw at baby groups or swimming or with her nanny but she wasn't really close with any other children enough to miss them that much .
Otherwise she's a really bright happy kind girl and she loves her new sister and would spend all day chatting to us. I want her to have friends and fun and nursery I think is the best way forward.

OP’s posts: |
iano Tue 01-Sep-20 22:29:48

I guess it might be a personality thing. My son defo had some favourites at that age and would ask to play with them.
It sounds like nursery is a good idea for her to get to know children. I'd talk to her about the routine, read books etc.
She's old enough to understand you so confidently saying I'll pick you up (eg after afternoon snack time) might help. Ask the keyworker whom she likes and often talk about those people. Hopefully she'll surprise you and take to it easily.

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