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How are we going to settle a 1 year old into nursery in Covid times?

(12 Posts)
Yukka Wed 10-Jun-20 18:44:23

I have a 10.5 month old and I go back to work mid august. Originally she was going to start nursery in June, 2 mornings a week, and we would ramp up in July to 2 days per week, 3 days per week in August then full time in September. Perfect.

Now with Covid, things have changed. The Nursery can offer 3 days per week in August, but the settling offered in July looks like:
1. Wk 1 Half an hour with me and key worker in the garden
2. Wk 2 Half an hour without me, just key worker (no babies) in garden
3. Wk 3 an hour with key worker and babies in garden
4 Wk 4 - 3 days per week at nursery

I'm really worried about how she is going to handle this. The 2 x half hour a week a part almost feels pointless for her - will she really become familiar? And this is a baby who has had no-one but mum and dad since Lockdown started. We have no family nearby to go an sit in the garden with regularly.

During the last week 2 neighbours have come up to her in the pram to say hello when we left the house and she's had an absolute meltdown. Petrified. She seems fine with people at a distance, but up close, not so sure. I get her out every day, walks, parks, beach, anywhere with people, but they are obviously never that close.

We had some friends round the garden last week, she was scared at first but became comfortable eventually.

I have approx 6 weeks to get her ready. With the current restrictions - do you have any suggestions? Do babies just 'get on with it', am I overly concerned or are my concerns reasonable given the strange circumstances. All I can think of at the moment is selecting a friend or two and asking them to break the 2 meter guidance to regularly spend some time with her.

I feel absolute dread at the thought of leaving a screaming baby behind with a practical stranger, but I have to go back to work and she has to go to nursery.

OP’s posts: |
bluejelly Wed 10-Jun-20 18:50:00

Honestly she'll be fine. She may cry at first, until she learns that nursery is actually fun and that you will pick her up at the end. But she really will adjust. My dd started nursery unable to sleep without me being there and unable to feed herself with a spoon (she was 13 months). She did cry at first but then learnt really quickly and only has fond memories of nursery (she's 19 now!)

mindutopia Wed 10-Jun-20 18:54:08

That all sounds fine. That's actually pretty normal settling in. You may decide you want to request a repeat of a week/session, maybe she does the half hour without you twice instead of just once, for example. But otherwise, seems fine and that is largely what I've done with both of mine to start (no covid then obviously). It does take a few months to truly settle but it will be fine.

FightMilkTM Wed 10-Jun-20 18:55:36

Interested in this too.
My baby is due to be starting nursery in late August / early September and will be just over a year old.
‘Luckily’ for us she’s only going two mornings a week but we’ve never been inside the nursery ourselves / met the staff etc so whilst we have friends who’ve used the nursery and loved it and it has an excellent local reputation (+ofsted) it still feels wrong to be leaving her in the care of people I haven’t met in a place I haven’t properly visited.

Yukka Wed 10-Jun-20 19:02:44

Thansk for replying. I do understand that this is normal settling in period, but I'm still concerned that she hasn't been left without me for any amount of time, ever. Exception is her dad obviously.

But then I guess there are parents that without lockdown would have given 121 care and still put in nursery like this. I had planned for her to spend time with my best friend twice a week but that all got stopped with lockdown. And my gym offered a creche which she went to twice but that was back in february.

@FightMilkTM can they not offer you an out of hours walk around? I've heard of some nursery's doing that, wearing masks. I assume you will meet babies key worker when you start the settling sessions too?

OP’s posts: |
mynameiscalypso Wed 10-Jun-20 19:07:54

I have similar concerns - DS is starting nursery in September when he'll be just over a year. He's seen my parents (from a social distance) and was completely confused by the whole thing. I figure that the nursery workers will be used to settling children in though and even if these times are very unusual, they'll do their very best.

SandieCheeks Wed 10-Jun-20 19:10:30

I’d ask to do the 3 settling in sessions in one week, then start the following week. Maybe the first week pick her up early and the full days the second week.

Yukka Wed 10-Jun-20 19:16:49

@SandieCheeks they're not doing early pickups or half days to reduce presence of parents, each room group has a specific drop off and pick up window. Which is fine, except they'll be calling me to come and get her if they can't resolve a meltdown anyway. But I think you're point makes me feel better - more regular short sessions.

@mynameiscalypso - yes good point, they are used to doing this.

OP’s posts: |
SmellyBeard Wed 10-Jun-20 19:19:03

My DD starts in about 3 weeks. She's just 1 and never been away from me. The crèche is going to do 2 settling in days with an hour/hour and a half. The woman who phoned me to let me know the details said some babies settle in just a couple of days and some take a few weeks but they all settle in the end. I'm not keen either on leaving an upset stressed baby but I guess it's the same for every parent.

On the plus side she's recently become interested in other children and also very active so I think she'll like the social side once she gets going. I know I'm going to cry though when I walk away - it's going to be so weird.

mynameiscalypso Wed 10-Jun-20 19:25:34

I think it will be worse for me than DS. I've got so used to having him by my side all the time - before lockdown, my parents used to look after him once or twice a week plus we were at groups where there were other people for him to interact with but it's just been the two of us for the last couple of months (DH is still working FT). I think I'm going to feel like I've lost a limb!

Yukka Wed 10-Jun-20 19:28:07

@SmellyBeard she does like other babies - she has a book with pictures of babies in and there's one in particular she kisses (which makes me feel sad in itself, like she's desperate for socialisation) . . . and she loves the Cbeebies Baby Club on iPlayer. In fact she'll probably be happier once she's with the other babies rather than just with the key worker.

Hope it goes ok for you. I will be a crying too!

Thanks everyone this is helping me think it through and not have a meltdown of my own smile

OP’s posts: |
SS1987 Wed 10-Jun-20 19:33:21

My little girl had 2 hour settling in sessions before she started nursery at nine and a half months. Absolutely no problem at all the first time I left her for the full day. A year later and she still loves it. Try not to worry too much

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