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How can I nip this awful crying in the bud?

(22 Posts)
DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 08-Nov-13 17:45:28

Poor Ds is 3.5yrs old and is getting really distraught leaving me to go to nursery in the mornings. He goes twice a week and its going up to 3 days in December so it has to change quickly argh!

He's had a rough ride at nursery as he hated the preschool class and got really withdrawn. But I got him moved up early to the Nursery class and worked closely with the staff and he seemed to be thriving.

But now he's completely losing it every nursery morning, total hysterical out if control crying sad

I have a feeling it's more to do with leaving me than actual nursery... Though it doesn't help that the room leader is a bit brusque and hes having trouble understanding it's not aimed at him. I don't think it's that though somehow... Although am keeping an eagle eye out about it.

How can I get him to change the utter dispair he has? He aparently recovers quickly but I'm upset for ages after, though am careful not to show it!

bundaberg Fri 08-Nov-13 17:47:55

have you considered alternative childcare? a childminder perhaps? where it's smaller and more home-like?

if he's totally hysterical i wouldn't leave him there tbh

hardboiledpossum Fri 08-Nov-13 17:53:17

what does he say when you ask him about nursery? does he say he enjoys it?

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 08-Nov-13 20:22:18

He comes home smiling and chatty and laughing... Hence my thought that it's not actually the nursery that's the problem now, but leaving me. The nursery staff said that today he was really enthusiastic and threw himself into everything...

I am less worried about the nursery itself (having been through that in the summer), and more worries about how traumatic he finds it leaving me.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 08-Nov-13 20:23:11

He wouldn't even talk about being sad this morning, looked blank and then carried on telling me about playing outside today and doing singing...

RandomMess Fri 08-Nov-13 20:24:45

Can you try giving him something of yours to look after whilst you're at work? Sometimes it can help the transition between the 2 places.

hardboiledpossum Fri 08-Nov-13 20:29:16

could you start the settling in process over again? so on day one stay for a couple of hours and just leave for 20 mins, then the next day stay for an hour and leave him for 40 mins and so on?

does he do full days or half?

iwouldgoouttonight Fri 08-Nov-13 20:30:04

DS was similar to this at nursery (and also when he started school), he got himself really worked up when I left him but the staff (who I really trusted and who were lovely) said he calmed down after a few minutes and was happy the rest of the day. I think with DS it became a kind of habit, ie, as soon as nursery is mentioned he gets upset, completely forgetting hr actually quite likes it!

Things that did help were when he made a couple of close friends, I tried to really encourage it and see them outside of nursery, so if they were there when he arrived at nursery he was less upset about leaving me. Does your DS have children he talks about playing with at nursery a lot?

humblebumble Fri 08-Nov-13 20:32:58

My eldest DS was very similar to this, it was the initial separation for him that he found very hard but he loved the activities and friends at nursery/school and it was only as he got older (around 5) that he found it easier. We tried a few things:

1. Tell him about what you expect his day will be.
i.e. you will drop him off and then you WILL be back to pick him up at "x" time.
2. Arrive early, get him settled in activity, say goodbye then calmly leave quickly
3. Arrive later, so he doesn't feel he is the only one there, settle him in an activity, say goodbye and then calmly leave quickly

4. Walk in at any given point, find a teacher/assistant, hand him over, say goodbye, and calmly leave quickly.

I think for us was making sure that he was engaged in an activity or with a teacher really helped. My DS loves to "help" so often I would ask the teacher if they had any particular "jobs" they needed doing.

He was in no way rushed but these tactics helped for us. We found that trying to engage him with a friend didn't help as much, he needed the adult there most of the time. The wailing apparently subside fairly quickly after I left the room. It was heartbreaking though. I feel for you. Now at 6 he asks me to leave so he can get on with his day.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 08-Nov-13 20:41:09

You've given me a thought, when he first went up to this class they encouraged him to bring in a toy from home to play with and get used to sharing, but after toys started to get lost alot they stopped it. He really liked bringing in a toy and I think it had that role of transitioning from home to nursery. I wonder what I can do about that?

Re friends, he's started to mention one boy alot so maybe I should send a note in to his patents and ask if they want to do a playdate.

I'm not sure about the settling in process again - my first thought was that he ll think by crying he can effect the length if day which I dont want him to learn or it will be downhill from there! I do wander if there are some things I can take from that process though?

It's from the moment he opens his eyes, first thing he says is 'is it nursery today?' then howls from that moment (still in bed) until he's out of the door. By the time he gets to nursery he's quiet but not crying, and then gets engrossed in something really quickly and starts laughing and having fun within seconds... Is there anything I can do to make the bed to door moments less awful?

Actually the more I write, the more I think it's leaving me plus ambivalence to nursery (like, it's not a great or a favourite thing rather than a hideous experience for him - it requires learning and socializing and general effort... As opposed to cuddling mummy in a kind of regressive 'baby fug'

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 08-Nov-13 20:44:37

Btw his goodbye happens at the door, I'm disabled so have someone who works for me do the actual walking to nursery... So it's like the whole goodbye starts as soon as he opens his eyes 0-60 in one second.

Should I add in something nice between waking and out of the door for nursery? Or would that just prolong the agony / give him something to dawddle with?

RandomMess Fri 08-Nov-13 20:54:37

Hmmm how do you deal with it the momet?


something else?

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 08-Nov-13 21:11:17

I try and carry on with normal morning routine, but give lots of cuddles and be sympathetic but not all over him iyswim

I've been talking to him about nursery and reminding him that he has fun and the kinds of stuff he does there... But I feel like I should address him leaving me rather than nursery directly?

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 08-Nov-13 21:14:32

Oh and I tell him it's ok and that mummy will be waiting for him and I'll want to hear all about what he's done at nursery etc.

Today when it was really bad I said he could come home a bit early, which did abate tears a bit... But I was a bit desperate and felt that was the wrong thing to say really...

He is just totally losing it, horrible to see but as it also stops so quickly I don't know if it's as bad as it seems?

RandomMess Sat 09-Nov-13 08:31:59

It's very difficult to know whether some of it is just habit IYSWIM.

You seem certain that he enjoys nursery. I do have friends who dc have had similar behaviour about going to nursery/school and in the end they did have to go done the rewarding "good" behaviour with stickers route - they were a little older but it did just seem to be a habit as they were fine when they were there and enjoyed it.


Perhaps you could try a reward chart for getting ready for nursery like a big boy? Perhaps he thinks he ought to be upset by leaving you rather than it's a normal thing?

Have you told him what you expect of him on nursery mornings?

Really tough one because his feelings are valid but he seems excessively worked up yet enjoys nursery... I'm all for people have their feelings validated etc.

Can you try a game of beat the clock to get ready one morning to change the focus from leaving to go to nursery to racing against the clock to get ready.

If you talk to him in the evening/at bedtime about going to nursery - what are the good things and what are the bad things, what has he said? Has he mentioned leaving you?

Some dc are just home bods and prefer chilling at home all day...

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 09-Nov-13 12:38:23

I'm not very certain smile it just occurs to me that I've been perhaps over focused on nursery and missing the point that it could be more about leaving me than the destination.

I think I need to address both, but not sure how to address the leaving me bit...

RandomMess Sat 09-Nov-13 12:43:32

Is this only time he leaves you?

If so perhaps he needs lots more practice at leaving you only for a little bit of time IYSWIM

waterrat Sat 09-Nov-13 14:51:33

Are you absolutely sure that it wouldn't be better to change childcare? Could you do some surprise visits and try to see what is going on there ...

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 09-Nov-13 21:48:23

He leaves quite alot to go to play groups and music classes etc with my helper, and just to the shops and everyday stuff.

He does cry and look miserable about leaving me then as well, but isn't utterly overwhelmed with emotion... Unless he's just woken up from a nap. Actually the waking and knowing he's leaving thing is when he falls apart, no matter what he's doing.

I would relook at childcare but I'm puzzled as to why it's happening now, so am not sure it can be blamed purely on the nursery. As I said there were problems earlier this year and it feel different this time... I was on the verge of taking him out but the nursery worked closely with us and rely turned it around (& moved him up to a different room as I refused to send him back into the younger one).

It feels different because after explaining it on here I realise

- he's not coming home sad or telling me unhappy moments at nursery
- he's stopping crying when he's left the house rather than continuing to nursery
- its weirdly intense and hysterical and very raw... Rather than the unhappy sadness he had in the summer, which he could articulate and talk about at the time and afterwards

I guess I'm still at a loss really!

I will speak to the nursery again, and do some drop ins / watching unseen through the class room window (v handy layout of rooms means parents can do that and it really helped me decide there was an issue before... But now he does seem fine when I 'spy on him' )

But at home in that morning moment I feel like I should be doing something to help him...

RandomMess Sun 10-Nov-13 07:41:57

Have you been unwell recently? I wonder if it's anxiety that you're not okay?

Could it be the whole being whisked off before he's had a chance to spend quality time with you.

It's really hard to know isn't it.

I wonder if you could totally indulge the hysteria one day to see if that helps you get to the bottom of it - obviously he's going to end up late to nursery. Perhaps these are just overwhelming emotions that he can't articulate? Is it a growing awareness that you are different (due to disability) and by default he is different?

Only other random idea is that you spend time talking at him about his feelings in the style of "how to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk" how special your time is together when you have your baby fug and when he needs to be "a big boy".

Have you ever offered to take him to nursery? I just wondered what his reaction would be to that?

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 15-Nov-13 00:03:32

I think I've got to the bottom of it sad

I'll start another thread though. Im very very sad.

He asked me today 'why are you different from S's mummy? Cos Ss mummy doesn't lie down all the time'

RandomMess Fri 15-Nov-13 17:34:12


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