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18month old not settling at nursery - any tips?

(8 Posts)
Yorky Tue 29-Jul-08 23:05:31

I am a SAHM, expecting DC2 in November so DS is starting nursery next week for 2sessions a week to give me some time to tidy/be pregnant etc. He has always seemed happy and confident, chatting incomprehensibly to ladies in shops, playing across the room from me at mums and tots etc.

Apart from one week of morning creche when we were on holiday at Easter when he was fine I haven't left him anywhere, although friends have babysat him, including an overnight stay going to bed at their house when he slept better than he does at home!

But he has done 3 trial sessions at nursery 2x1hr and 1.5hrs and each time he has been catching his breath and cried when I returned. The nursery is nice, the staff are sympathetic, the other children are happy, I wave goodbye to him (rather than just disappear) and make a point of talking happily and positively about nursery and he isn't upset in the car on the way there - or when he sees where we are.

Each time I pick him up and he's upset the nursery staff reassure me that he will settle in time and he just needs to learn mummy goes away and comes back, but how long does this take? They say he does play with toys and is distracted for a while, that he doesn't cry constantly while I am away. I don't want him to resent nursery or learn to associate it with being upset.

Then tonight he had a major wobbly when DH took him up for his bath, when I went up a few minutes late he was holding the stairgate and reaching for me. Bathtime used to be his and DHs time and they have a ball, but he has suddenly developed a real mummy's boy streak - is it related to the starting nursery disturbance?

Has anyone been through this? Have we left it too late to get him used to a new setting? Am I being selfish wanting a little bit of time - we thought he'd enjoy being around other children more, and made sure he started nursery long before baby arrives so he wouldn't feel pushed out by baby.

gigglewitch Tue 29-Jul-08 23:18:26

they are all a bit wobbly sometimes, and don't start bashing yourself for him going to nursery and not settling in straight away - it does take time. It sounds like you've done it all really well, and carefully, making sure he is settled into nursery well before dc2 turns up.
Don't know if you've tried it, but perhaps give him something that's "yours" - for my ds2 we produced a fluffy dog on a keyring, which was "Mummy's" and he looked after it on the days he was in nursery, thus it got attached to his bag handles instead of mine on these days. It worked well for him. They;re all different and respond to different things, hopefully you'll get a good few suggestions on here from wise mn-ers. With DD [now 2.6] who has two days at nursery whilst i work, talks non-stop about her fave staff all the way there, "Jo-jo" must have burning ears on two mornings a week grin. See if he has a keyworker or main carer, and say their name a lot?

Yorky Wed 30-Jul-08 12:56:02

Just bumping for anyone whose DC are at nursery now.
Thanks gigglewitch, I'm sure time will help, I just don't like seeing him so upset each time

rebelmum1 Wed 30-Jul-08 13:01:25

Aw he's having to come to terms with a new baby and a nursery too. Maybe a childminder would be better, it's more of a home environment.

Mimsy2000 Wed 30-Jul-08 13:11:41

i sympathise with you. i've had similar problems. a few thoughts:

sounds like he needs more time - 3 visits is not a lot although i can understand feeling upset by him crying... how old is he?

also i would be prepared for a bit of acting out when at home. he's just expressing his disapproval of the whole nursery thing. my ds always reserves the worst behaviour for me, after nursery. he's an angel for the rest of the world.

it does sounds like he's having a bit of separation anxiety but i really think that if you've got another one on the way, you are doing the right thing by giving him a new place to have fun and develop. maybe to ease your mind, give this nursery thing one month. for that month make sure you develop a really tight routine around the whole thing and keep your positive attitude about the nursery. tell the nursery staff your plan and then reserve judgment until that month is up. if it's still not working, find another option.

i am in a similar position. i am due in october and my ds has just moved in the 'big room' at nursery and it's been a struggle. because i'm not working at the mo i would be really inconsistent with when i took him in and because he didnt' seem to want to go in, i kept him home more and all in all i made a real mess out of it. i tried the 'give it a month' thing and was really routinized with when i took him to nursery, when i picked him up, what we did when he got home, etc.... and it has started to work. it's not yet perfect, but i can see that my actions can definately dictate his experience there.

anyway, sorry i'm rambling. don't give up just yet. i totally understand how crap you must feel ,but give it a bit of time b/c the fact is that you are really going to need this nursery gig when you have another baby to look after. gulp.

Mimsy2000 Wed 30-Jul-08 13:13:42

oh sorry- i see he's 18 mos....his behaviour doesn't seem out of the ordinary at all.... even if he's a sociable little thing it's still a big deal to leave mum....

Yorky Wed 30-Jul-08 13:43:58

Thank you
It is very reassuring that he's normal, even if its inconvenient!
And nice to think am I doing a good thing, I was worried about it being more for me than him. I like the give it a month idea, by then it should be clear whether or not he is going to get used to it

rachelgreen Thu 31-Jul-08 22:11:01

DS took a few months to settle properly at nursery - he started at 11mo, and is now 17mo. It's only the last couple of months he hasn't cried when I drop him off, but the nursery staff reasasured me he was v. happy once I'd gone. After a couple of weeks he was more settled there and soon got stuck into the new toys, little people to play with etc.
the nursery staff said that they settle better if they go in on consecutive days you don't say what days he goes in, but even if you're not planning them to be consecutive days, whilst he's getting used to it, perhaps you could try that?
i hated the idea of DS going to nursery, but he has thrived on it, your LO will love it once he gets used to it - in fact you'll prob be the one upset in the end - I cried the first day I dropped him off that he didn't cry! i was so pleased when I handed him over and he was happy, then got to my car and broke my heart, thinking he didn't need me anymore!
it will get better and you'll soon be wracking your brains at home to entertain him as well as nursery do.

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