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Persevere with childminder? Clingy 18mo(11 Posts)
18mo DS2 has been going to a childminder 1 morning a week for a couple of months. I am a SAHM, so this is just some "me time": I go to an exercise class, meet a friend for coffee, then collect him. I was desperate for this time, as with 2 small boys and DH who works away a lot, life is pretty full on. However DS2 is really not keen at all on going. He clings to me like a limpet as soon as we pull up at her house, and won't be put down. I am told that he cries / is subdued almost all of the time that I am away (2.5 hours). He started off a bit better than this (always hated being left, but then settled), but has become progressively worse.
He is normally such a happy little thing, that I am starting to really hate doing this to him. He clings and seems upset for a good couple of hours after I collect him. It's probably not worth it, is it? I'm aware that one morning a week is unlikely to be enough for him to settle, but I really don't want to send him more - I just wanted a small window of non-mum time each week, but maybe this is asking too much? Any thoughts? I've tried the usual tricks of sending him with his comforter / toys he likes, staying longer to try to settle him (doesn't work), a drop-and-run approach (doesn't work, but no worse than if I stay for half an hour). The CM seems lovely and has a few other children there for him to play with, but he's just not settling.
how do you know that he doesnt settle? did the CM tell you?
Yes she just tells me how his morning has been. It used to be along the lines of "He cried for 5 minutes when you left but then had a nice time playing", but now it's more like "He's been crying on and off all morning and wouldn't touch his snack [he's a big eater usually] and hasn't really been able to settle down and play at all". She seems very honest and open about how he has been.
In addition it's usually pretty obvious when I collect him that there has been a lot of crying - last week his face had reached the puffy and purple stage , and he just hurled himself into my arms and didn't even want to be put down to go in the car seat.
how many other children does she have?
there is a couple of ways of thinking about this.
either she is telling the truth and he isnt settling in which case you need to look for another childminder that he will engage with
or she isnt telling the truth, because she wants you to withdraw your child from her care so that she can offer it to someone else.
as a mum, you will know how he is when he gets back. if he is generally in a good mood, then it maybe okay to perserve and see if he settles, but if he is 'not himself' when you get home, i'd think about moving him
OMG how does she let him get in that state???? No child should cry in that manner for 3 hours!
He is absolutely not himself when I get him back, not until he's been home a while, had a nap etc. Honestly, CM seems lovely and comes highly recommended - lovely house, nice toys, great garden - he normally loves outdoor play. Last week was particularly bad - I wish she had called but I think she was just hoping he'd settle (I suspect also that he'd got progressively worse so that by the time it was really awful it was almost pick-up time anyway).
She has around 4 other children (varies I think - 4/5) - but she works in conjunction with another CM so there are 2 childminders for 5 or 6 children (aged between 1 and around 3).
The thing is, I'm not sure that he'd be better anywhere else? Am wondering if I should just ditch the idea of childcare all together? He is a real mummy's boy - so confident to potter around on his own at toddler groups etc, but I have to be within eye sight, and if not he gets very upset. I'm not sure whether a different childminder would be the answer? Or whether he might just grow out of this (soon?!) if I keep going with this CM?
Probably once a week isn't enough for him to settle and get to know the childminder properly, so every time it's like being left with a stranger. Maybe 2 mornings a week could be better? Possibly with a new childminder if your ds really can't settle with the one you have.
If you are leaving him to go to an exercise
class could you find a gym with a creche instead? Then you would only leave him for an hour and would be in the same building so could come and get him if he was really upset
Hi, if it's not essential, then I'd withdraw him. By the sounds of it, he is struggling to settle because 2.5 hrs a week is just (imo) too short a time to adapt to his new surroundings. It's unrealistic to expect him to bond with the childminder in that length of time.
From what you say, the childminder seems nice. You don't give the impression that you are weary of her care. I would definitely knock it on the head and perhaps wait until he starts nursery. It's not that far off...
Thanks all. Decision made, he will not be going back for now (although childminder really does seem super, and the other option would have been to send him more, but at the moment that doesn't really fit in with our routine). I have been quite surprised to hear your opinions - my gut feeling was not to send him back, but I wondered if I was just being a bit flaky as, after all, lots of children are left for much longer periods at a younger age (as my DS1 was, when I worked) and are just fine. I agree that the 2.5 hours is just not enough to settle, and it just doesn't seem fair on him (and isn't actually very relaxing for me, as I just worry about him).
hazelnut - I have found a gym with a creche! Even better, there is a class on at an after-school time when I also have DS1, so I can leave them both together - I think he'll be fine if he has his big brother to look after him. Thank you for the suggestion.
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