Attachment / Unconditional Parenting views on starting nursery please!(10 Posts)
My ds will be 3 in March next year, so we are starting to look for a place at a local kindergarten for him; there are 4 within walking distance, and how much choice we actually have will of course depend on how many places are available.
Anyway, I am visiting the first place tomorrow afternoon, and I was just thinking of what I wanted to know about it, what questions to ask etc. when, in the middle of all my musings, it suddenly occured to me that I really, really don't want to do the thing where you stay for 1 or 2 sessions and then leave your child even if they are crying and crying. I know one of the kindergartens basically does have this policy - no parents after the second day, no matter what.
I have not followed any particular mode of parenting as such, but I guess it's turned out to be more like a mix of AP and UP then anything else, and I suspect that my feelings about starting kindergarten stem from that. I really want it to be a positive experience that he willingly and happily goes along with, rather than something that has to be got through until he's got used to it iyswim.
I've never left him to cry, and it seems wrong to me to suddenly do so in this situation.
Anyway, I was wondering how those of you who follow a AP / UP style of parenting have tackled this.
(Of course, it's possible that my ds will go into the kindergarten and take off without a backward glance at me, but knowing him as I do, I suspect it's going to be a somewhat slower process of him getting used to it).
Actually, any thoughts on this would be much appreciated!
No idea about AP, but your ds is too young for doing only 1 or 2 sessions and then you leave.
Look for the place that offers the gentler and longer settling in period (in Italy at your ds's age settling in stage lasts more than a week, sometimes 2 weeks, going everyday)
when my ds started, mums went along the first time,then we stayed in a seperate room the second time, so that if the kids got upset we could comfort them. They let the mums of the ones that found it hard to settle stay for the week, then they encouraged them to let the teachers comfort them after that (but i think if mums had've wanted to stay they could have). One that struggled to settle actually settled much quicker once he knew his mum wasn't there (I settled mine inthe week after him!). Try not to worry, Im sure he will be fine, if you feel you want to stay, the nursery should really accommodate this although they may try to advise you otherwise, as they are supposed to follow parents wishes as far as possible.
We had a two week settling in period, during which I had to be available at all times in case C got upset. He was 2 at the time. The first week I was on the site, with him or in the parents' room, the second week, I was allowed out nearby!
Although it was a pain at the time, it was absolutely worth it in terms of ensuring C feels confident and secure at nursery.
I would try really hard to find somewhere that prioritizes things like this, that are important to you too. It will probably mean that for the most part your relationship with the nursery is a good one.
Re. unconditional parenting.
I don't fully practice this myself, though there is a lot about it I agree with. So I was a little uncomfortable when we were potty training and nursery brought out the usual sticker rewards at the end of the day.
But I feel ultimately this is something C will experience all his life at school etc, and it is something he will have to get used to. It doesn't mean I fully agree or reinforce it at home.
From an AP or UP perspective, I think my approach would be to give it a go if the child looked like they'd enjoy it, but never leave the child crying with a stranger. I mean, from an AP perspective, wtf?
So if that meant finding a nursery where parents are welcome as often or as long as needed, that's what it'd mean. And if it meant pulling the plug after a session or two and trying again in 6 months if it seemed a good idea then, that's what it'd mean.
I've always felt that it is better for children to take independence in their own way at their own time, and that distress at parents leaving them with strangers with whom they feel uncomfortable is not going to make them more confident and secure in the long run.
And if you don't have to use childcare for preschoolers, then nursery is just a possible option - there's no point at all if the child doesn't like it.
[awaits true MN flaming]
Almost everyone I know went through the leave-them-crying thing when their dc started kindergarten, and thinking about it I realised that I did not want this for my ds at all, but I seem to be very much in the minority (wrt people I know, not MN in general).
The kindergarten we visited yesterday way lovely. Once I managed to convince ds he might actually like to come inside he thought so too. They have a reading room which is basically like a little house on stilts in the corner of the room which you climb up to via little steps round the back. Ds was fascinated by this, he went up and then called down to me "Mummy! They have books!", settled down on a cushion and started looking though a big book about fire engines. He then told me "Bye. You can go talk to the lady now". So I suspect my fears about him starting Kiga are somewhat ungrounded - more a case of me not wanting to be separated from him, rather than the other way round
Anyway, their policy is to do whatever is appropriate for each child. So you start off by staying with them the whole time, then maybe go off for just an hour, until you think they will be fine for the whole session. It sounded perfect, really.
We are visiting another one tomorrow, and I'm interested to hear what they say, because I've heard they are more of the "leave them crying they will get used to it" mentality (should add that I've also heard they do fabulous stuff with the kids and everyone I know whose dc go there is v. pleased with it, which is why we are going to have a look!).
Just a thought. I used to put my DS in a gym creche once a week for one hour.
It's a very short space of time and he quickly learned that I do come back. He actually really enjoyed the little change of toys once a week too.
The best thing about it was the first time they take your child for a 15 minute trial first while you just sit outside nearby, maybe having a coffee so that if he doesn't cope or settle you go back.
I think this is a gentler way to teach them you come back than a whole morning at nursery all week.
They might ask you to leave if he is crying but at least they are only giving it a short time before they decide if he settles without you or not. It may sound harsh but remember the whole point is teaching your DS you DO come back and there's actually nothing to worry about. I think if you look grief stricken it will make him worse so it's good for you too.
I stopped DS going to the creche when I was PG but I intend to put him back in once a week a good 3 months before he starts nursery next year as the thought fills me with dread too. !
Oops, I've found this thread a bit late but lots of food for thought as I've been questioning all this for our 2 3/4 year old who I'm introducing to nursery at the moment.
I found a lovely Montessori which seemed to have an AP perspective as a parent is allowed to stay in the classroom until DD settles but must say I'm still very unsure she'll ever want me to leave.
So I'm with ommmward ! but giving it a go as DD actually copes brilliantly when has to (I recently left her with friends she didn't know for 7 hours and she only cried for 30 seconds) and I hope will benefit.
The teachers appear to be immensely caring and great in every way but even so some children just cry all session wanting home and now and again I must admit it makes me a bit unsure of what I'm doing there with DD!
ommmward After they'd been a couple of times the nursery workers wouldn't be strangers though anymore. Would you leave them crying with the nursery worker once they knew them?
Also even though you might leave your child happy and waving goodbye, it's not to say they won't cry after you've left and you wouldn't know anything about it.
I'm an AP type of parent - just fell into it too as it felt right for me.
DD1 has been in playschool nursery since Sept when she was 2 1/2. A few months beforehand I started telling her about 'school' and how you go there when you are a 'big' girl and went on with fab stories about the painting/cutting up/singing etc that went on there. She knew all about her coat and bag going on a special hook especially for her.
There are a few older children in our street that dd1 plays with regularly and who she adores. She would see them all going to school and I would tell her that she would be going soon too! I think they even played 'going to school' with her on her request! I also stressed the point that Mummy's went allowed to go in but that I would be waiting outside for her. You get the picture... anyway this story was discussed nearly every day for a about 3 months beforehand.
No problems on the first day at all - ran in, put her coat and bag on the hook by herself and kissed me goodbye and said 'you have to go now Mummy'.
So no tears - except mine all the way home...
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