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yucky first day at nursery, any tips for emotional mum?

(15 Posts)
MudMum Tue 22-Sep-09 15:30:58

Today I took my DS to nursery for the first time, settling session, and we both left in tears. I tried really really hard to be the strong, calm mum but just couldn't hack it! He became inconsonsolable.

Some background - I have no family in the UK but do have a super supportive DH. My DS has always been 'slow to warm' with others, hand has never been held by my MIL as he cries and cries.Now I have to go back to work full time from January and it's not negotiable so am trying to get DS settled early but judging by today it feels like it's going to take longer.

I've had some recent RL criticism from lucky SAHMs who are making me feel so guilty.The nursery is great, with 'outstanding' ofsted report so no worries there, just the separation...

Guess just be nice to hear how other mum's with clingy (I hate that workd but can't think of another) type babies? What helped the both of you get through it?

proof Tue 22-Sep-09 15:36:10

I have two clingy children out of three. Short visits, to build up slowly always helped. Maybe build up to half days and later you can include lunch.

Also, finding someone at nursery who will welcome him in and make the routine the same every visit i.e. she will take him from you with a cuddle and maybe let him wave you off from a window. Later, he will gain confidence in other nursery girls but, for me, having one who was empathetic and who my child trusted was the best starting point.

cookielove Tue 22-Sep-09 15:37:27

how old is your son?

TheMightyToosh Tue 22-Sep-09 15:38:15

Had the same with DD when she first started going to nursery - I cried a LOT!!!

But soon she settled in and although stayed a bit shy going in in the mornings, she was always all smiles when I arrived to pick her up, so I take that to mean she is happy there.

As long as you are confident with the nursery and you like the staff etc, I would persevere with it - your DS will settle eventually. Don't feel guilty - you are doing the right thing by getting him settled in early. Unfortunately sometimes we have to do these things, and I definitely think my DD benefits loads from her time at nursery. She loves it! Made loads of friends and learnt loads of things that I couldn't do with her on my own.

I've read loads of threads on here lately about DCs having trouble settling in reception class. At least if you get your DS used to going to nursery now at a younger age where it will have less impact, he will be a dab hand at it by the time school comes round.

Feel for you - but it does get easier for both of you.

lynniep Tue 22-Sep-09 15:39:00

How old is DS? And did you stay with him? It took mine a long time to get used to it, but he did! (although I had to change nurseries - not meaning to panic you there!)

Some children cannot cope with the new surroundings and people to start with and need their mum (or whoever it is bringing them) to stay with them for extended periods before they gradually leave. The first nursery I tried him at wouldnt allow me to stay, and he never settled, he just got worse.

The place he's at now is not perfect, but to give them their due they never argued with me when I said I needed to stay with him until he was accustomed to the room and the workers. They didnt make me feel awkward although it must have been wierd for them having me around for up to an hour, and I gradually moved away from him whilst the workers gained his trust and he let them hold/feed him

MudMum Tue 22-Sep-09 15:41:55

Oh my goodness, thank you so much for your kind words. Got me crying again though! This is my first post but have lurked around since he was born. He's 15 months now, so guess this has been the most difficult transition.

I stayed around, at first in the room with him then tried to go to the kitchen, where i started to cry with a sympathetic staff member, and they had to come get my as DS was outside howling and howling.

TheMightyToosh Tue 22-Sep-09 15:51:38

The staff at DD's nursery are brilliant as they are firm with me (in the nicest possible way!).

They send me home if DD cries (she doesn't anymore, but did sometimes when younger) and they assure me she will settle before I even get home. They tell me to ring a bit later to set my mind at rest, and everytime I do, she is settled and having a great time.

They also reassured me that once I was out of sight, I was soon out of mind for my DD (temporarily!) which helped as I knew that if I made myself scarse quite quickly when she was upset, they would quickly distract her and soon she would forget she was upset and get on with enjoying herself. It always worked, although it felt a bit like I was abandoning her sometimes. I used to cry all the way home, but then ring and be told she was having a great time!

So rest assured you are normal and it will get better. I would see if you can leave him there and leave the building for an hour or so, and see what happens. Obviously they can phone you if he really isn't settling, but you might need to give him the time he needs to get over you not being there and settle in a bit. It might not happen on the first or second go, but keep trying and you will get there.

You can always ask the staff what they think is the best thing for you to do. They will have encountered this exact same thing many times before and know what tricks you can try.

lynniep Tue 22-Sep-09 15:58:22

Try staying with him in the room if you can for the first few times - not holding him, just so he can see you. I think I had to stay for about four sessions before I could back away out of sight without hysteria setting in.

He noticed I was gone after these few times, but didnt panic straight away. As soon as he did start to look like he was going into meltdown, I came back in.

I did the leaving the room thing for a few more times, then tried leaving the building. It did work and he did settle, and that doesnt mean he didnt cry when the time came for me to say 'bye bye' and just leave him there - but it did mean that he stopped soon after I left i.e. crying was for my benefit, not because he wasnt happy there.

I'm not saying it wasnt a protracted process, but everyone was so thrilled when it happened. He is such a sociable kid now and still loves going to nursery.

MudMum Tue 22-Sep-09 15:59:25

That sounds really good, to just go. I was incapable of asking staff advise today as thought I was just going to blubber, which I did, and they were really good and supportive but that sometimes makes it worse. Poor little DS isn't used to me crying so that was unhelpful for him too. But the staff are all older types who've probably seen all sorts...

I go back tomorrow a.m. which is not ideal but the only 2 sessions they had. I need to return books, so that'll be my purpose in going away for a bit.

It was just hard so seeing all the other LO's playing happily and wondering if they are fundamentally different or something as mine was so sad.

Guess that's pretty dumb and will feel better tomorrow.

TheMightyToosh Tue 22-Sep-09 16:10:07

Is there a particular toy that gets his attention or that he particularly likes? I remember DD holding onto a balloon on her second session (she loved them) and it was that which suddenly gave her the confidence to let go of me and start to explore. She didn't play with the balloon, just held it! It seemed to give her confidence having something that she 'knew' about, so the whole place wasn't quite so alien to her anymore.

Then when she moved to the bigger room she adopted a soft toy dog, which they now keep in her bag for her if she is a bit shy in the mornings.

Good luck tomorrow - maybe try to speak to the staff first thing before you get emotional again! You sound like me - I cry at anything like this (even sometimes start welling up even when DD is happiky skipping off to play with her friends - I am hopeless and she is going to be so blush by me when she is older!)

MudMum Tue 22-Sep-09 16:18:01

ok now I'm laughing. I am becoming my mother! Yes, it was embarassing. Just one of many revelations that you are your parents children that only happen when you have your own!

Thanks for the good suggestions and support. Will check the room for shakey shakey toys for him tomorrow.

Guess this whole process is harder without understanding from friends with similar aged children who seem to think that full time work is evil and bad parenting. Obv I know that's crap but sure makes me feel insecure on days like today

BornToFolk Tue 22-Sep-09 16:30:11

Has he got a comfort object or toy? If not, try and introduce one. DS didn't have one until he started nursery at 12 months and it did help him to have something familiar with him. Most nurseries won't mind one comfort object I don't think.

Be really positive about nursery. Talk about all the fun he'll have and people he'll see.
Try not to cry when he can see you. Tell him that you are leaving (no sneaking out!) and when you'll be back.

It will get better when he builds up relationships with the staff there.

TheMightyToosh Wed 23-Sep-09 10:45:29

Let us know how you get on today, MudMum!

MudMum Wed 23-Sep-09 12:54:33


Today was so much easier. I took him in, he settled at first so I went to the kitchen. He was fine for about 6 minutes, then I was fetched. I spent the rest of the session with him. He was totally glued to me at first, but did venture out when something interested him enough. I think he likes the staff, who were really great. They told me to just sit there and be boring, which worked. He was definitely not quite ready for me to disappear. Plan is for next week to do the same the first day, then maybe leave the next day if all goes well.

It was pretty bad yesterday as the manager told me that an office worker nearby had called in to see what the problem was! My ds is very small for his age but has the loudest shout. Then he slept for two solid hours. Poor little duffer. I was really starting to panic about my whole plan for a bit there yesterday. Don't suppose it'll be the last time either.

I managed to hold it together today though, did have a bit of a lump throat but could swallow it for once.

Hope alls well, thanks all for the support, hopefully things will continue to get better bit by bit...

TheMightyToosh Wed 23-Sep-09 13:42:02

Great - sounds like he is making progress already!

Once you get to the stage where you can leave for a short time, he will learn that you go, and then you come back, so he won't be so scared of seeing you leave.

Good luck with it - you will get there in the end (though I don't think you ever lose the odd lump in throat completely - school, university, etc etc - I'm going to be just as bad for all of them I think!) smile

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