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Settling (or not) at nursery

(7 Posts)
wordsandmusic Sat 19-Oct-13 14:44:43

Hi, just interested in how long it took your children to settle at nursery/pre-school, and at what point you would be concerned if they were still unhappy going in. I know it will vary greatly between children but it would be interesting to get a feel for what's "normal".

Dd is 3.5 and started a new nursery in September - she was really keen at first though obviously found it exhausting. As the weeks have passed, she seems to be finding it harder not easier. It seems to be making her stressed, she's worrying about it the night before, having nightmares (possibly not related), and desperately not wanting to go in.

It's a lovely, caring setting and the staff say she is fine, although she gets sad/looks lost a couple of times in the morning and asks for me.

My worry is that she's been trying to hold it all together as she's desperate to be a big girl, but that in fact she's struggling and only just starting to admit it. Her elder brother is on the autistic spectrum so I'm aware that she might have some problems in this area too. She doesn't seem to recognise the other children (this is an issue her brother has too) and isn't playing with them - just doing her own thing.

So... what would you do? I don't want to overreact but I don't think it's right for a three year old to be feeling stressed.

NightScentedStock Sat 19-Oct-13 21:41:51


I took my ds2 to 3 pre school sessions recently and stayed for all of them. He never really seemed comfortable there and disliked the structure. Despite it being a nice enough pre school it wasn't inspiring imo, and eg all the sit still and be silent before you can go out to play after drinks didn't sit well with me.
We decided not to sign up and the plan now is to home ed ds2 and alsp ds3 until 6 then reassess, and increase activities with other children instead of any formal pre school education.

DS1 never enjoyed pre school but I was a young mum then (10 yrs ago) and everyone pressured me into sending and keeping him there, so I did. TBF it was a fab nursery school too, but If I had my time again and knew what I know now I would take him out.

If your gut instinct is to take your dd out, I would do that. Just because everyone else seems to be going down the pre school path it doesn't mean it's not ok to deviate. Ignore people who suggest your child will be odd if they don't go to pre school etc.

I don't think that you are overreacting by the way and I think you are right to be seriously concerned.

"Free Range Education" is a good book to read if you want some reassurance that not going to pre school is not going to do your dd any harm.


NightScentedStock Sat 19-Oct-13 21:49:39

Just reread your op, and honestly, as your dd desperately doesn't want to go and is clearly really stressed by it, I'd take her out without hesitation. Poor thing

bundaberg Sat 19-Oct-13 21:53:04

honestly? i would take her out.

lots of kids take a while to settle, but worrying about it outside of nursery, having nightmares etc... that's not good.

i took ds1 out of his first nursery because he just wasn't enjoying it. he started a different one about 6 months later and really liked it there.

wordsandmusic Sat 19-Oct-13 22:37:05

Thank you so much for your replies and advice. I actually thought everyone would tell me to get over it and keep going. I'm glad you didn't.

I do think it's all too much for her right now but am easily swayed, especially by the nursery staff. Also, I think she wants to make it work and feels like she should be enjoying it so tries to convince herself. Today, for example, she told me she's looking forward to nursery on Monday. But I know she'll change her mind tomorrow night/Monday morning.

I sometimes find it hard to trust my instincts and I do worry that I might be a bit too quick to give up on things (having said that, we recently changed my son's school, which has been a really positive move, so maybe I should start trusting myself a bit more).

I think I'll see what happens next week and try to make a decision after that. Thanks again so much for taking the time to reply. Any other thoughts welcome.

looselegs Sat 19-Oct-13 22:55:32

Some children are just not happy in a group situation.
Before i had my son,I worked at a nursery.It was ranked as the best nursery in town and it was good.We had a little girl join us and she never settled-she cried constantly,wouldn't play, wouldn't broke my heart to see her so unhappy (especially as the manager told the mum that she was fine....)
It got to the point where Mum and child were crying at drop off time in the morning.One morning,I managed to get the mum on her own in the cloakroom-and I told her the truth;how her daughter cried constantly,wouldn't eat or play and just asked for mummy all the time.I told her that she couldn't go on like this, to take her daughter away and find her a childminder as i didn't think she could cope in a group situation.She took her home straight away and never came back.
A few weeks later I had a bunch of flowers delivered to me at the nursery.The card just said "You were right.Thank you". It killed my manager not knowing what they were for.....The mum had found a great childminder and her daughter was happy.
Go with your gut instinct-it's the best judge....

NightScentedStock Mon 21-Oct-13 09:14:43

Just wondering how it went this morning words?

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