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Settling in at nursery a nightmare, now unsettled at bedtime

(5 Posts)
NiamhC Wed 07-Oct-09 19:21:14

Hi all

Just some words of advice please and just so I can little boy is 17 months and started nursery this week 3 days a week. We did 5 hours of settling in last week which went fine but really isn't the same as doing full days.....needless to say this week has been tough, he has been sleeping ok there and eating but very clingy with the staff and has picked up a nasty cold all par for the course I know!!
I knowe we just have to go through the pain with this and he will settle, I don't know how long it will last but not sure I can cope with it....I hope we don't have weeks of this? How long did it take your little ones? I feel like the worst mother ever leaving him sreaming for me and I just cry when I think about him there confused wondering what the hell is going on!
I thing the worst thing now is he has become unsettled at bedtime, he always loved his bath, his bottle and just went into his cot silent and drifted off without a peep. Last 2 nights he won't get in the bath, screams when I dry him and dress him, refused his bottle and clings on to me for dear life when I put in the cot, then cries himself to sleep...heartbreaking.
I am doing the right thing with this nursery business, is this all normal, am I damaging him......just a bit of reasurance from a very upset mum!
Niamh x

Mots Wed 07-Oct-09 22:49:08

Hi NiamhC

I am a couple of weeks ahead of you, so the tough return to work and my DD starting nursery is very fresh to us. She was 12 1/2 months when starting. We have had to send DD to nursery 5 days a week and the first week was so horrible - tears when I left her, and tears when I picked her up (apparently an emotional rush that you have returned). We too have had real battles at bathtime and bedtime - as with you bathtime had always been a fun and happy time. I so understand what you are going through at the moment, and really feel for you.

I have found that the battles are down to extreme tiredness - that is all it is. I was worried that she was not enjoying her nursery. DD is sleeping well at nursery most days, but she is using up far more energy there than she would at home. The staff encouraged me that she was fine during the day once I was out of sight. I was so concerned that I asked a friend who's DD was at the same nursery to pop in and check on her. I knew that they arrived about half an hour after I drop off. It was reassuring to hear that my DD was fine and playing along, no tears. I would also suggest you keep talking to the nursery staff. I did this and said that I was really concerned because we seemed to only see DD as a teary little girl at home when she was always so happy. As she was fine during the day, they did not realise how tough it was at home. They now look out for tiredness and will pop her down for a 20 minute kip to recharge, and this has helped her hold it together in the evenings.

At the weekends, I let DD sleep for as long as she wants in the mornings and lunchtime nap to recharge after an exhausting, but exciting week. This means that we have more fun with her during her awake hours, and bathtime and bed time has become lovely and relaxed again - we too had tears at bedtime but now we just have a cuddle and pop her in the cot.

DD also picked up a cold in the first week, and at first we went by the theory that she should fight it off without going to the doctor - but last week (week 4) we took her to the doctor as her cough and cold was stopping her from sleeping at night - (we also wanted to check there was nothing serious that was making her so miserable). She is now on antibiotics, and as the cough and cold clears up, she is sleeping better at night. We also bought a karvol vapouriser which you plug into the wall at night and it releases vapours which help to keep their nose clearer. You can get them from Boots.

This is week 5 and DD is now having a ball at nursery, I would say that last week was the turning point when I felt a great deal happier, that was week 4. I know it sounds a long way off - it could be sooner for you, because we left her cold for 4 weeks before seeing the doc.

A very long response, sorry, but in short, my advice would be the following - do you have a friend with children at the same nursery - maybe they could look in on your boy? keep talking to the staff and explain the battles you are having at home and see if they can fit in another kip when needed. Keep an eye on the cold, you may decide to see your GP. IF he is not enjoying bathtime at the moment, maybe it is not necessary to have a bath every night? or shorten bathtime?

It does get a great deal better. I promise. I still wish that I was able to look after DD and not send her to nursery for 5 long days a week - but I now know that she is having so much fun, and developing well and getting to do so many activities that she would not get to do with me. All the feelings you describe, were how I was feeling 5 weeks ago, and I am a great deal happier now. But you must remember, if it does not work out - nothing is forever, you can always look for alternative solutions.

Keep me posted on how things progress - You won't be doing him any harm - but broadening his experiences which he will love. You are of course a fabulous mum, and it is normal to worry.

TJuice Wed 07-Oct-09 23:33:35

Great reply Mots and not much I can add.

My little girl settled quickly into nursery but was only 10 months and was kind of adaptable at that age. But her sleep was pretty disturbed for a few weeks. There is so much for them to process and overtiredness can be a factor too. And for your son it may be the most major change of his lifetime at a point where he is totally conscious of everything.

It is normal to worry - I had no idea how emotive the whole going to nursery business would be (for me!)

I am sure things will change soon.
Good luck!

NiamhC Thu 08-Oct-09 13:50:21

Thank you so much for your replies.....Mots wow you really were in the same place as us.....I don't know if I can do 4 weeks of this probably longer as DS is only in 3 is so tough. However, it does give me an idea of how long to give it until we think about another option.....I think like you if by week 4 he is not improving I would take him out...I am making sure he gets lots of sleep on my days with him, I agree he is very tired especially being poorly too...hopefully we'll return to calmer bedtimes but will just ride it out for now both at naps and bedtime he latches himself on to me and won't go in his cot so I end up wrenching him off and then leaving him crying. Luckily he only cries for maybe 10 mins and I know on this one I have to be cruel to be kind as he needs to sleep and the more he sees mummy come back after his naps and in the mornings (and after nursery) I know this will get better. So so hard and as you say Tjuice I had no idea how stressful nursery would be. I too wish I coul stay at home but it just isn't an option and it breaks my heart every day!
Keep you posted.

Mots Thu 08-Oct-09 14:24:15

Does your nursery take photos of the kids doing activities? DD's nursery showed me photos of her doing some activities and I could see the smile on her face. Made me feel so much happier. Keep talking to the staff - I still go in with questions now - they are there to reassure you too. Thinking of you. M x

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