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preschool blues! Help...

(14 Posts)
Shoogs Thu 11-Sep-08 17:25:27

Hi, I've just joined this fantastic site. i found it after searching for help with PS problems. My little girl (nearly 3) started PS last week. I left her there for 1 hour the first 3 times and today for 2 hours. She was so upset and crying and clinging to me when I left her each time and when i go to pick her up she is still upset.
Apparantly she won't move from her position and won't have a drink or a snack. She screams and cries if she's asked to move to another activity with the other children.
The PS teachers seem to be kind and caring towards her and they aren't pushing her to do things she doesn't want to but nothing seems to be helping.
I just feel so awful for her and am not sure what to do. Please could anyone help me? Should I persevere and hope that she starts to relax soon?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
(also sorry am not up with lingo. What does ds/dd mean?)

BoysAreLikeDogs Thu 11-Sep-08 18:01:19

Shoogs - welcome to MN


There is an acronym list up at the top of the page, next to the bit entitled useful stuff the list shows you what the various letters used are - eg ds = dear son, dd = dear daughter.

Some children take longer than others to settle into Playgroup - does she have a comfort blanke/toy that she could take with her, as extra security.

She will settle, it's a matter of persevering, and appearing relaxed, plus the staff will have strategies to help your child to settle.


Shoogs Thu 11-Sep-08 21:05:22

Hi BoysAreLikeDogs.

Thanks for explaining the acronym info. Also appreciate your reassurance re settling in. I suppose I just need to be patient but it is so difficult!!

She does take a comfort toy in with her which does help a bit- it sort of breaks the ice with the staff.


Fruitymama Thu 11-Sep-08 22:31:43

Dear Shoogs

I used to work in nursery's and pre-schools before I had my ds, and how your daughter is reacting is very common. At the moment she is unsure if you are coming back but it is all part of her learning process, and once she is happy that you do come back she will settle. Some kids start of fine and then they get upset. Just make sure you are on time when you pick her up, that was one of the key things we used to say to parents.
She will be fine, keep reasurring her, another week or two and you will wonder what it was all about. My ds has also started pre-school this week, he is my 3rd but you still worry! That's what being a parent is all about. Wishing you all the best.:}

puffling Thu 11-Sep-08 22:38:14

I was just going to start this thread! DD has been 4 times now and it's been difficult. She hates me leaving her, won't go and get a snack and cries at the end when she knows I'm coming. The lady in charge has suggested that next week she comes in for the full 5 days instead of her normal 3 so that she gets used to going but that she finishes 45 mins earlier each time. She also suggested that I don't discuss pre-school with dd and don't talk about it as I get her ready to go. She said it's a lot for their little minds to process and to leave her to talk about it to me when she's ready. I so hope it'll work out. We get a lift there with her little friends mum. The friend has taken to it like a duck to water!

Fruitymama Thu 11-Sep-08 22:50:56

puffling it will all work out in the end. As with adults, children are all very different. at the pre-school I used to work at you would see all different kinds of reactions from children. I think the lady in charge is suggesting a good strategy for you daughter. Give it a go, it is really just getting your daughter used to a different routine, place etc. Believe you me it wont take long. Be brave! she will be ok. Your friends daughter will have 'off' days too.

rachelp73 Thu 11-Sep-08 23:15:38

Shoogs, I know what you're going through. My DS2 started 3 mornings a week last week. He is 2 and a half, and actually quite sociable and outgoing, and he knew the preschool teachers and nursery from taking DS1 every day last year(DS1 started school last week so it's been a v stressful time for me, although school going fine!). Things are not going as I'd hoped with DS2 - today he was crying all the way there in the car, all the way down the road and tried to stop me taking his coat off, I had to prise him off me to hand him over to the staff, and the pleading, distraught look on his face as I left him was horrible!

I hung around in the foyer and a few mins later he'd stopped crying so I went home. When I picked him up he was fine too (although anxious to go home!). Tonight he has been very distressed at bedtime and called for me for ages (for reassurance that I'm there i suppose)

I totally trust the nursery as I know it, and also know he is fine a little while after I leave, but leaving him there like that breaks my heart. I have a knot in my stomach the whole morning waiting to pick him up. I really feel for you. I am going to persevere as I think he will be fine in the end.

My DS1 went to the same place and he only took 5 sessions to settle but was a bit older, so maybe it's an age thing?

Just to say, though, DS1 had started going to a different preschool which was almost a totally free-play type of environment where the kids just wandered round choosing what to play with. It was all just laid out in one big room, and he just didn't ever seem happy in that type of environment. He was just a bit lost there I think. He is the type of boy who likes to more or less be told what he'll be doing next etc. After weeks of not settling properly there, I took him out, waited a few weeks, then enrolled him in the nursery that DS2 is going to now, where the sessions seem a bit more structured, they do different activities on different days, and it seemed to suit his personality much better. He settled in quite quickly there and really grew in confidence.

You don't say what type of preschool environment it is, but just thought I'd say, yes - give it some time, but it MIGHT be that a slightly different environment might suit her personality better if she tries and tries and just doesn't settle after weeks of upset. I think your instincts will tell you if it's going ok after a few weeks.

ps. the lovely nursery where both my boys have been is fanastic, but my friend's little girl was actually vomiting when she started there as she was getting so upset. She settled fine in the end and made good friends etc. But she has now been a bit wobbly starting big school. It really must just be in their personality.

I am there all the way, worrying with you, at her next session. You are not alone!

puffling Thu 11-Sep-08 23:46:33

Thanks Fruitymama. Rachel, dd's pre-school is like the one you desribed, a big space with activities she can wander between. She just seems to stick to safe things like jigsaws, no dressing up or painting, despite loving these at home. I feel she might prefer a smaller more structured environment, but I really don't want to have to move her.

jazzandh Fri 12-Sep-08 19:13:41

Do they sing a song at the end or anything, my DS pre-school always had the same song at the end of the session, and by telling him that I would come back after this, he got a handle on the timings I think. He wasn't on tenterhooks wondering when I would come back - so he relaxed and settled within a few sessions.

IF they don't perhaps you could suggest it - good for all the children...

DS sang - "if you're happy and you know it..."


puffling Fri 12-Sep-08 19:47:53

The song at the end is another problem. She knows it signifies the end, so she gets emotional, perhaps thinking I'm not coming for her?

rachelp73 Sat 13-Sep-08 12:46:28

Or knowing that you ARE coming for her? I think it's quite common to see tears again in some of the kids at picking up time. It's the relief at knowing that you are finally coming back for her.

How's it going? My DS2 managed a good morning yesterday. I had to distract him with singing all the way down the street, and give him a picture to hold and show the staff - it all distracted him from his worries at leaving me and he went in fine and was showing the picture to the staff. I shouted "See you later" and then left, and as far as I know he hardly cried the whole session, it was more just whingeing but no actual tears. He was joining in with the singing etc, so I hope we've turned a corner.

Have you tried taking her mind of her worries with giving her a task of carrying something? Also, when DS1 started nursery and was getting a bit upset at dropping off time, it really helped that I invited his grandpa along with us one morning to drop him off so that DS1 could "show" Grandpa his nursery. It really took his mind off things and helped a lot.

puffling Sat 13-Sep-08 21:48:06

Thanks for the ideas Rachel. Might try taking daddy one day.

onwardandupward Sun 14-Sep-08 12:31:49

If she's not enjoying it, you can just take her out and try again in 6 months... there's no legal requirement that she has to be there, and if it's upsetting her, then what's the point?

MrsMattie Sun 14-Sep-08 12:38:01

Hi Shoogs. I haven't read all the replies here, but just so you know - I have witnessed so many children like this at DS's nursery. One girl in particular stands out. She bawled her eyes out every day for about 3 weeks and her mum was so distressed she almost took her out of the nursery for good. But gradually, she did settle, and is now one of the happiest and most settled children there. She has also made some great friends. For some children it is a very big adjustment - only you can decide whether it's worth leaving nursery until later on in her little life, or whether to keep giving it a try. The vast majority of children do settle in eventually, though.

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