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can anyone help me decide what to do - toddler not settling at playgroup

(7 Posts)
cuppateaandtoast Thu 20-Nov-14 12:57:45

Ds2 is 2.7yo. I got a place for him at a very popular playgroup that has big waiting list. It is the playgroup that feeds into the local school nursery. Which is one of the reasons its so popular.
The first couple of weeks he settled fine and kissed me goodbye no problem. He is very friendly. Also told me how much he liked it there. But something happened one day and he suddenly got really clingy and wont let me leave. I dont think anything major happened to put him off. But something little has unsettled him. The impression i get is that he got a lot of attention from the playgroup workers when settling in. But now they have stepped back and are trying to get him to play more independantly. I have stayed a couple of times (cos he gets hysterical). And I can see him trying to make friends with other children and getting upset when they ignore him. He is the youngest child there.
I think it maybe seems a bit lonely there for him. If i leave the room for a while by the time i get back in he is very upset. I have never seen him so clingy. He is normally very outgoing.
Do you think in these situations it is worth persisting? Or better to justtake him out and let him go to school nursery when 3.5?

VertdeTerre Thu 20-Nov-14 19:51:43

What's he like on the way there? Does he leave the house quite happily if you tell him where you're going? I think this can be a good indicator of how a child feels. DS (2.8) has started at preschool this term and while there's been some tears at drop off, he's skipped down there before that. I've taken that to show that in principle he likes the idea of it, it's just the moment of separation he doesn't like. This is borne out by the staff who assure me that he settles fine after I've gone.
Also, what happens if you do a bright and breezy farewell then leave straightaway? Sometimes I think that staying can be confusing for them and doesn't really help with the adjustment IYSWIM.

I think in your situation I'd be looking at the general direction of travel - if the playgroup has a plan in place and he's getting better, or not getting worse, I'd be tempted to try it until Xmas at least. If they don't seem to have a plan and it's getting worse, I'd be tempted to take him out and try again in a few months with a different nursery, or wait until he's older.

VertdeTerre Thu 20-Nov-14 20:00:41

Also, I don't think it's unusual for children to like the first couple of weeks, then become more clingy when the novelty wears off and they realise it's a permanent thing. So another reason why it might be a good idea to leave it a few more weeks to see if it's a phase he can move through.

cuppateaandtoast Thu 20-Nov-14 20:06:06

Thanks. Your line of thinking is much what i was thinking.
He initially loved it so much he asked to go on days he wasnt going. But recently he has been crying before we leave house and saying he doesnt want to go and asking where i go when he is there.

I have been staying to try and help him settle while i am there but that isnt working i dont think. He asks to go home a lot even withe me there. So i will have to try leaving him just for short periods of time i think and see how it goes. I hsve just started to wonder if he isnt ready and still a bit too young.

cuppateaandtoast Thu 20-Nov-14 20:08:02

I should also say that he doesnt atop crying 5 mins after i go. I think if anythi g it appears to escalate. Or they can distract him for a while but then he remwmbers and gets upset all over again.

cuppateaandtoast Thu 20-Nov-14 20:16:37

And yes i think part of it is the novelty has wore off for him now. The toys are not newand exciting and more.

VertdeTerre Thu 20-Nov-14 22:34:17

Oh sad. Short periods of time with a quick drop off might be a plan. I think with DS we started with 1hr then built up by 15mins at the next session if he'd been ok. Another thing I found helpful was dropping him off a little after the start of the session, not so he's late for any organised activities, but just so he's 5 mins behind everyone else in hanging up his coat etc. Like your DS he's one of the youngest and the worst day we had was when we arrived bang on time, it was just too hectic and overwhelming for him.

I've also stopped talking about preschool apart from immediately before and after. I thought I was doing the right thing by talking about it, but actually I think it just reminds him and his little mind starts churning.

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