I was so relaxed about DS starting nursery...until today :o((9 Posts)
DS is 12m and is starting nursery next week for 3 days a week. Ideally we wanted him to start before I went back to work in Jan but couldn't get a place before then.
He had a settling in session last week which I stayed for and he was fine & I thought "oh good, looks like he will settle quite easily"....then he had a 2nd session today which he was left alone & it didn't go as well at all. He was crying with tears when me & DH arrived to pick him up. Apparently he had been fine the first hr but then spent most of the 2nd hr "unsettled".
Ds is such a happy, wonderful boy, curious and not clingy & always happy to offer a smile. It breaks my heart to think that he could be so unhappy at nursery & I worry it will change him .
He's never been looked after by anyone but family before so strange faces/strange places must be quite scary for him I suppose. Also me & DH have always been good at understanding him & 'reading' him & knowing what he needs/wants & responding before he gets to the point of upset. It makes me sad that he will be wondering "why does no one understand me?". I know it's just until the nursery workers get to know him, but until then I'm feeling a real knot in my stomach over it.
How can I make this transition easier for him?
I can't bear the thought of being at work & him spending most the day being upset. I think I could be in danger of crying at my desk next week with the way I feel just now!
Lots of sympathy, I remember being in that position with ds1 and it's really hard but both dc have loved nursery and ds2 (21mths) actually seems to be happier at the prospect of going to nursery than staying at home with me
One thing that strikes me is that the settling in sessions seem v split up - with settling both of mine in (and ds2 changed nurseries at 16mths) so I've done three separate lots of settling in they've been on consecutive days and only gradually increased - day 1, 30-45mins in the room with parent, day 2 1hr 30mins with parent going out for a 30min period, day 3 2 hrs 30mins stay for lunch without parent (but close by in case of upset), day 4, about 5 hrs stay for tea again without parent, day 5 (if needed) stay for tea again. Because they were on consecutive days then the dc quickly got familiar with the people/rooms and felt more settled.
Can you postpone him starting the full days for a week so that you can do proper settling in? (Any decent nursery should be willing to do that) if he goes for consecutive days and gradually increasing the time he's there/you your dh aren't then that should help the transition and will also help him/the nursery workers to get to know each other quicker.
Also make sure you've spoken to his key worker (and any secondary key worker) to ensure that they understand how he likes to be comforted/sounds/movements he makes to indicate what he wants etc.
Also find out what the daily routine at the nursery is like and try to mirror that at home on his days at home (eg keep lunch/nap time etc the same as nursery) as that routine will then be familiar.
Does he have a comfort toy he can take? Ds1 didn't but ds2 does and he settled a lot quicker than ds1z
Also expect it to go in phases, they may settle quickly but then go through a phase of being upset in the morning but usually are fine again quickly. With both nurseries I've used I've been able to call up mid morning to check on them and ensure they've settled ok.
DD went to nursery at this stage and it was hard at first if she cried when we left but often that's very temporary. They cry at drop off and pick up while settling in and happy the rest of the day.
It's still very early in his settling in so I wouldn't worry just yet.
You could try to focus on the benefits rather than the negatives. Now DD just loves nursery as it's so structured and she learns from and interacts with other children.
Also agree that you can share some of his likes/dislikes with staff and they will also work things out with him. He will be fine, it's just the initial bit that is tough.
I totally feel for you as I hated sending ds1 to nursery, and he would howl when I left which made drop-off quite harrowing initially. All I can say is that it definitely helped him. He is now a happy sociable and very outgoing 5yo and in Reception class. When he left nursery aged 3.5yo they presented me with a thick book filled with photos of ds doing different activities, playing, making things, and lots of drawings, writing practice and crafts. I was overwhelmed at the amount and variety of things he had been doing, and realised I could never have done all that for him at home. The early sessions are hard, but he will settle in quickly.
I have just been through this with DD (13mo). She started nursery in the new year at 11mo and it took her a good month to really settle in. She would cling to me and cry at drop-off but now she smiles and waves bye-bye (and a tiny part of me feels sad at this too!). Her keyworker says she has really come on in the last month and I can see it too - and she comes home with stuff she's made and she gets to play with all kinds of messy exciting things she doesn't have at home like sand and glitter and other children .
It still isn't easy to walk away when I drop her off but I know she's getting all sorts of benefits from being there. It's totally normal for them to be unsettled by a big change but they do get there. And it's also totally normal to spend the first week crying in the car park (you, not them!) I just always tried to be smiley and positive so dd would know that being at nursery was a Good Thing Because Mummy Was Smiling.
It took my son about 7 settling in sessions to stop crying hysterically and enjoy himself. We had to pick him up early several times and just built up the length of stay really gradually. Don't be afraid to ask the nursery for a different approach if you feel it's not working.
It will amaze you how quick they adapt though. First second and third session left alone he cried for nearly an hour til they called me. Fourth I think he had some fun. Seven days later he had a whole day and didn't cry apart from drop off and pick up.
By five weeks later he didn't even cry at drop off.
Thanks so much for the support. His first day is tomorrow & I'm so nervous!!!
I do feel really really silly now that I didn't think to have him do more than 2 sessions, but that was all that was offered (presumably more would incur a cost - not that I would've cared). I should've done more sessions for a smoother transition & I'm now feeling quite guilty that I've not adequately prepared him . Idiot!
Oh well let's see how things go the next few days!!
Happy to report that DS had a good 1st day! He ate well & had his usual morning nap and was asleep when we came to collect him in the afternoon & seemed happy in the car on the way home.
Had a good day today too. Feeling SO much happier!
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