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How should I settle my baby into nursery? I don't like the nursery's advice....

(17 Posts)
TallishMum Thu 01-Oct-09 11:41:21

My 7 month year old is due to start nursery next week. The nursery reckons that I should just leave her there, staying for more than five minutes. I'd much rather spend some time with her in the nursery, so that she gets to know the place and the staff. I'm so upset by this that I'm seriously considering withdrawing her from the nursery (thus losing the first month of fees and my chance to go back to work - argh!) Am I over-reacting? Have any of you adopted this approach to leaving your child at nursery, and did it work?

bruxeur Thu 01-Oct-09 11:44:12


Ladyatron Thu 01-Oct-09 11:46:51

it is heartbreaking but yes if you need to get back to work you have to cheerfully hand baby over and leave. anything else is too drawn out and upsetting

lynniep Thu 01-Oct-09 11:48:44

I would say it works for most children, going by the feedback from my nursery (they said about 90% of their babies/small toddlers settle this way), but not for all. It is standard practice, but as a parent you should have the option to stay. Its your child after all. I would say to them you arent happy, but are willing to try (if you are!) - because its the quickest way to get her settled.

However I'd also add that it did not work for my DS. In fact it was so bad at the first nursery I tried (where they refused to let me stay whilst he got used to his surroundings) that I had to withdraw him. After about 9 'settling in' sessions where he cried for the whole hour, he started getting hysterical just approaching their front door.

The nursery he's at now let me stay with him for several sessions then I gradually withdrew into another room and then left him for an hour or so. It took a while but for him it was the best way.

BornToFolk Thu 01-Oct-09 11:49:55

Have you raised your concerns with the nursery? What did they say? It might just be that that's their procedure for children that age but they'd be willing to adjust it if you don't like it.

We had a couple of settling in sessions where we stayed with DS for an hour or so, then a longer session when he stayed by himself. We would have done more but he helpfully contracted chicken pox in the middle of it all!

He was older though, 12 months, and going through the separation anxiety that's common at that age. Perhaps they think that younger babies don't need as much settling as they are happier to be left?

Bramshott Thu 01-Oct-09 11:51:36

I think you need to do what's right for you and your baby. The first time I ever left DD1 at nursery, they suggested that I just sneak off when she wasn't looking (she was 12 months), and I did, but then felt so awful afterwards that I vowed I would never do that again Even if it meant more tears, I would always make sure I said goodbye after that because I thought it was important for her to know I was going IYSWIM.

rubyslippers Thu 01-Oct-09 11:52:33

i think this sounds fairly standard

with DS who was around 6.5 months, i stayed with him the first time for around 20 mins

the next time, a bit less and then i just stayed in the building

he was fine

IME and IMO it is much harder on the parent than the child

does your DD have a key worker?

cyteen Thu 01-Oct-09 11:55:17

My DS's nursery advocate settling-in sessions before the child actually starts, where you take them along and spend time with them in the room, talking to the staff, playing together etc. That way the child can see it's a safe place and get to know it a bit more gradually. Nursery policy is that as long as you stay on the premises, you can do as many of these sessions as you like and stay as long as you like.

I took him there four or five times before his official 'start date', sometimes popping off to the manager's office for a bit so he could get used to me not being there. It definitely seemed to help him acclimatise and he's settled in really well.

I would not be happy at all with what your nursery have suggested. Having said that, I do do the brisk cheery drop-off thing now DS is actually at nursery, but it seems a bit harsh to go straight from 'being with mum 24/7' to 'being left in strange place with strange people' - the inbetween stage of getting us both used to the idea was really important for me us.

FiveGoMadonTheDanceFloor Thu 01-Oct-09 11:56:13

Ds started at 6 months and I just dropped him off, he is now 16 months and has never been unsettled at all being left.

DD started 12 months and I had one settling in session with me before taking her in.

DownyEmerald Thu 01-Oct-09 12:00:31

When my dd started with her childminder at 12 months, she said to me that it would have been much easier if she had been - say 8 months. The implication being they find it much easier to settle at that age into a strange surrounding (maybe everything is a bit strange at that age?) and to an additional carer.

What we did, was initial "interview" when I took dd along. Obviously dd liked her and liked the surroundings. And then the first time when I handed her over and left quite quickly - (hiding my tears) cm had toys ready for her to play with. And that first session was half a day. Next time till after lunch to see how that went. Next time after nap and a bit of one-on-one time with cm. Next time full day. She was absolutely fine with a bit of grizzling for settling down to first nap. All very normal cm assured me, and very soon she was a totally happy bunny allways.

stirlingstar Thu 01-Oct-09 12:03:00

IME can be very different between children.

Both my DCs started nursery just after 6 months, both initially at 3 half days/week. (Nursery had allowed for 3/4 weeks of settling in visits, and said would be happy to go slower if needed.)

However, DS1 was ready to stay for whole session on his own pretty much immediately. I think we had a couple of visits, but he really didn't need them and would have happily stayed on his own from the first. Would go back to nursery workers for extra cuddles after I came to pick him up.

DS2 - thought I would get same easy ride - but no. Had 3/4 weeks of visits, and then needed to pick him up early for the first 1/2 weeks. He's now been going for 3 months, is in 2 full days and one half day, and totally happy, excited to get there in morning etc.

I wouldn't have predicted this from (what I thought was) the nature of each child.

I've done it doing a first visit with me and DC for about 45 minutes, during which they played in the room while I sat there going through forms etc.

After that, though, it's been staying no more than a few minutes, probably. Although in both cases we built up how long DCs were at nursery for -- so an hour, then two hours, then half a day, then a full (but short) day, then a full (normal length) day.

7 months is a comparatively easy age for them to start, compared with 10-12 months.

Waspie Thu 01-Oct-09 12:20:39

We had settling in sessions with nursery.

First time my son and I went for an hour and I stayed the whole time. The next time was for an hour but I left my son with the staff and children and went off for a walk.
The final session was a half day and I dropped my son off and collected him 3 hours later.

Had he reacted badly to any of these I would have had more settling in sessions for him.

Poshpaws Thu 01-Oct-09 12:23:05

I agree with stirlingstar. It very muich depends on the nature of the child.
Ds1 started nursery at 23 months (3 days a week, increased to 4 when he was 3). He went in without a backward glance and was not even fazed by a change of nursery at 3.

Was a SAHM with DS2, who went to his pre-school at 2.5 quite happily.

Now returning to work with DS3 (2.5) who is on his 9th settling-in session and is stll crying and saying 'I don't want to see the teachers' when we pull up outside and I have to leave him crying when I drop him off. 9 times out of 10 when I pick him up he is fine, but he still cries at drop off.

Maybe see how your DD goes at first and if she seems very upset for a number of sessions, ask the nursery what can be/or is being down to settle her smile

BikeRunSki Thu 01-Oct-09 12:25:26

I did a session where i stayed with my soen for an hour, then he did 2 x1 hour by himself. On the last trial, he cried when I took him home. This is his 5th week at nursery (3 days a week) and we have had no problems. He was 5 days off his first birthday.

A friend o mine started sending her son to nursery at very sjhort notice and just took him there, all day while she was at work. No trials, no settling, no intro, no nothing, due to circumstance. She has also had no problems. He was 7 months old.

TallishMum Thu 01-Oct-09 21:48:40

Thanks everyone! Really useful advice. What was really annoying me was that my nursery was being inflexible about this, insisting that it would be best for the baby for me to drop her off and leave. After some rather tense discussions, I think that we've agreed that I can spend and hour with her in the nursery tomorrow, and an hour on Monday - but after that, she's on her own. I'll give this a go, and hope it works. Note to self: next time I try to find a nursery, I will remember to ask about their settling-in policy!

Katymac Thu 01-Oct-09 22:05:19

I'm a childminder working in a setting - we have 9 under 5's

This year I have settling in several new children between 4m & 3.5yrs

I prefer a long settling in - during which I don't charge

One of my settling in this year was as follows:
Wednesday 15th April 2 10.30 to 12.30
Friday 17th April 2 1.00 to 3.00

Monday 20th April 2 9:00 to 11:00
Wednesday 22nd April 2 10:30 to 12:30
Friday 24th April 3 9:00 to 12:00

Monday 27th April 4 9:00 to 1:00
Wednesday 29th April 4 10:30 to 2:30
Friday 1st May 5 9:00 to 2:00

Monday 4th May Bank Holiday
Tuesday 5th May 6 10:00 to 4:00
Friday 6th May 6 8:00 to 2:00

Monday 11th May 5 8:00 to 1:00
Tuesday 12th May 8 8:00 to 4:00
Friday 15th May 8 8:00 to 4:00

Monday 18th May 5 8:00 to 1:00
Tuesday 19th May 10 8:00 to 6:00
Friday 22nd May 9 8:00 to 5:00

This worked well for me, for mum & for baby - all of us were happy to start the next week

My policy is:Settling-in – I feel very strongly that an effective settling-in period is vital for the safety, happiness and health of your child. Changes, of any sort, can cause stress levels to rise in children and a new childcare setting is a prime example of a stress trigger. Structured settling-in sessions can help to manage the child’s expectations and stress levels. Depending upon the age and stage of development of your child settling-in can be as little as a 10 minute meeting and up to a graduated pattern of leaving your baby which may take up to a couple of months. As long as you can fit in with my times available and are prepared to take my advice on the length of each session, these are free, providing contracts have been signed and the first payment made.

Good luck

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