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Clingy DS, better to wait or throw him in at the deep end?

(7 Posts)
SoBroken Mon 04-Jul-11 09:13:54

My DS is coming up to three, so the preschool issue is here!

The problem is, he's had a very unsettled year. We've had to move house twice and I'm expecting DS2 at the beginning of September. I had HG and have spent a lot of the year so far being very very ill and not very interactive.

Before this, we lived in the country and he had very little contact with other kids for a year. He's been going to a toddler group with me twice a week since January, and his interaction skills have improved a lot, but while he's not shy (he'll chat to anyone), he's still very clingy, won't go across the room on his own, and even at home he won't play alone in his own room and screams if he discovers I've left the room without him.

At the moment, I just can't imagine him being happy at preschool on his own, let alone school in a year's time.

But I'm getting a lot of advice to just "throw him in at the deep end" and he'll be fine. I see the wisdom in this, but it just doesn't feel right at the moment.

Of course, I have left it so late there's no guarantee I'll get a place in my new town either! I'd rather he didn't start in Sept as we'll have the new baby to contend with and I can't imagine I'll be too keen on walking about massively pregnant/with stitches for a few weeks.

Anyone else had this problem?

Tarenath Mon 04-Jul-11 12:23:48

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of throwing them in at the deep end. I believe that it can cause anxiety and separation issues in some children. Not to say it happens with all children. Some are perfectly fine with jumping into full time preschool.

However, if I had a child like yours I would like to start small with maybe 1 or 2 days a week and work up from there, and also be prepared to stay through the whole session if he's not comfortable with you leaving. Maybe popping out for a walk for 10 mins at a time and building up until he's comfortable with you leaving him for the whole session. Also be prepared to take him out again if it looks like things aren't working. Preschool isn't compulsory and he may do better by staying at home and encouraging his independence on his own terms if that makes sense.

I did have similar concerns to you with my own ds. At 3 years old I couldn't imagine him settling in at preschool, letalone being happy at school. We decided not to send him to preschool as we were pretty much decided on home educating anyway. He's now 4.4 and his peers will be starting reception in september and he's a completely different child. He's never been to preschool but he's just grown so much socially, emotionally and in confidence. Had we decided to send him to school instead of home educating I would have no concerns now about his ability to fit in and cope with that environment.

I hope what I've written makes some sort of sense!

aliceliddell Mon 04-Jul-11 12:39:12

Agree with Tarenath. Dd was v anxious aged 4+, not cured until 8-9 when she started a great school that allowed me to go with her for a few months, gradually reducing. The (brilliant) Head explained dd was being offered a way out of her unbearable anxiety, could leave the classroom/school at any time to go somewhere she felt safe. The method showed massive improvement in weeks after years of school refusal. Especially after your new baby (congrats, btw!) he might feel usurped and replaced and rejected since he's already clingy. Good luck.

ponyprincess Mon 04-Jul-11 15:32:04

I don't think the behaviour your describe is necessarily overly clingy for a child of that age. I imagine there are many children less than 3 years old who don't like to play alone in their rooms.

To see it another way, you might find it handy to have him settled at a nursery before DS2 arrives so he won't feel like he is being sent away to nursery because of DS2's arrival and so you have a bit of one-on-one with DS2.

Probably most important is to do what feels right for you--if you are feeling unsure about it, DS will pick up on it and feel anxious too.

naturalbaby Wed 06-Jul-11 14:12:41

my boy isn't as shy but we had a taster session at nursery last week and he got hysterical! we've had a bad year too but only moved house once, i had dc3 a few months ago but luckily he's been brilliant with his younger brothers.

i've been going to the same toddler groups every week so he's got familiar with them and is getting more confident, and there is a nursery attached so he sees the nursery kids playing next door. there's also another one where the toddler group is one day and the pre-school is the other days of the week so they don't see the older kids but are in the same building - i'm thinking of sending my 2yr old there. maybe you could find a nursery where they have a playgroup in the same building?

the way i do things is to talk a lot about it to him and i'm looking for some books about starting nursery to help him - i've got a couple of other threads running with ideas and suggestions on.

Al1son Mon 11-Jul-11 22:29:20

First consider why you want him to go to pre-school. I've worked in Early Years settings for 11 years and I feel strongly that apart from a few months to get ready for school children don't benefit massively from being sent to pre-school/nursery etc.

So do you want him to go so you get time with the baby or to give you a rest (which would be perfectly reasonable) or do you think he ought to go because other people send their children?

If you really feel that you need him to go you could give it a try but if he doesn't settle stop again for a few months. Don't let anyone tell you that stopping will mean he doesn't settle when he starts again in the future - that's rubbish.

The best advice anyone can give you is to go with your instincts and do what feels right for you and your children.

PaperBank Tue 12-Jul-11 12:28:08

I wouldn't take the "in at the deep end" advice. Do what feels right for your own situation. Gradually building things up may be most suitable.

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