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How long to parents hang around for?

(19 Posts)
NoseyHelen Fri 18-Sep-09 10:29:29

DD (just 3yo) started pre-school 2 weeks ago, just 2 sessions a week. She is loving it. However she has started to ask why I don't stay like other mummies and today had a brief bottom-lip tremble which was quickly averted with a quick distraction.

It seems that a high number of mums (and some dads and grannies) are staying for the full sessions, making it seem more like a playgroup than a pre-school. I spoke to one mum today who I know from a playgroup. She was settling in for the morning and I pointed out that her son looked really happy playing with 2 other boys, to which she said, 'Yes he's fine now but in half an hour he'll look around to see me' and other mums nodded their heads. Surely, if your child is fine for 30 mins he/she is alright generally in that environment?

So, how long into the term do parents keep staying and can I have a word with the staff to ask how they are going to prevent my child feeling abandoned if they opt to let parents treat the session as a playgroup?

Added to this, there are various children shrieking and wailing and my daughter wants to know why so many other children are crying - what do I say to that?

redskyatnight Fri 18-Sep-09 10:37:46

Urgh. That sounds awful. So many parents staying for the whole session is not something I've really heard of.

I would expect the normal practice would be that parents would be encouraged to get their child involved in an activity and then to leave. Can't believe the pre-school staff really want so many parents hanging about. Is it possible that the pre-school are doing staggered starts and actually parents are only staying for their chid's first (or maybe 2nd) session?

DD is starting a new pre-school next week and I'm getting the impression they will be shoehorning all the parents out the door after about 15 minutes. Whilst no one wants to leave a distressed child, you're not actually helping your child to settle AT ALL if you're hovering all the time.

what you describe is not usual I would say.

NoseyHelen Fri 18-Sep-09 10:45:16

They are having staggered starts up to the end of this week - however the friend I spoke to today has stayed for 2 weeks and she's not the only one.

Could I have a word with the staff or will I come across as being a troublsome (sp?) parent just 2 weeks in to the term (I've got plenty more time to be seen as a troublesome parent)?

Elk Fri 18-Sep-09 11:13:07

My dd's have been to 2 different pre-schools and the staff in both couldn't get us out the door fast enough. A 'welcoming' activity is set up and the children take their coats/hats off, say goodbye and run off and play.

I have never stayed with either of mine, it is their adventure not mine. There a always a couple of children who cry/shriek the first few days/ weeks, if the parents say good bye and make a quick exit they tend to settle a lot faster (speaking from experience dd1 used to be peeled off me every morning).

I would explain to your dd that some children are upset at their mummy/daddy going but its alright as Mrs ** will be looking after them and they will soon get used to it.
In my dd's pre-school there was one little boy who cried for the whole year at drop off time and again at lunch time, the other children soon lost patience with him. He didn't cry at all in reception (same children,same school).

If it helps I would ask the staff how long the other parents will be staying (perhaps ask if they have been CRB checked if you are feeling particularly mischevous)

Runoutofideas Fri 18-Sep-09 11:15:49

My dd2 has just turned 2 in August and started pre-school this week. I have stayed for 2 whole sessions, following recommendation from the pre-school, as she is one of the youngest in that school year and has never been to nursery etc. They call it a "triangulation of trust" between the setting, the parents and the child and like to take a gradual approach to leaving the children to cause the least possible distress. Having said that, it is a small group and most of the children have been going for a while so are already settled. I was the only one to spend all morning there. Another stayed for the first 30 minutes, then came back 30 mins before the end, which is what I'm working up to next week. There was a little boy who cried all morning as his mum didn't believe in "faffing about". In my opinion he got far less out of the session than my dd who needs to learn what happens when, and who to go to for help before I am able to dump and run.

I would imagine that more people are staying now as it's the start of a new year, and it may settle down naturally without you having to say anything. I'm sure the other parents don't really want to be there all the time, it's just a means to an end....

redskyatnight Fri 18-Sep-09 11:46:39

I would definitely ask the staff whether it is usual policy to have parents stay for so long. I don't think you are being pushy! As you said, this is pre-school and not playgroup.

Is this a "traditional" pre-school i.e. all the children are aged 3-4? If there are younger children I can understand the parents/pre-school wanting them to hang around more. Otherwise it's just a bit weird TBH - a key point of pre-school is that it's something your child does where they find some independence from mum and dad. Really surprised the pre-school itself is not being more forecful tbh.

mamatilly Mon 28-Sep-09 11:46:32

i visited one playgroup where several mums seemed to be staying long-term, and i decided not to go there as it seemed unfair for the other children. a real shame as it was a really lovely group with yummy toys and nice staff, BUT the balance and dynamic just didnt seem right or fair.

so my DS is staying wheere he is, a perfectly fine group, where parents are not hurried out of the door but just naturally seem to leave in the first fifteen mins.

maybe you could phone and ask the play leader how long she anticipates so many mums staying as your little one is finding it most confusing... good luck x

Gigglymum Thu 01-Oct-09 12:31:17

I am of the opinion that preschool/nursery after the age of 3 is preparing a child for school, and I have 4 children, my eldest 2 I would drop off at the door of the classroom and leave promptly, as I felt they needed to get used to me not being there, they have since started primary school, and were both so confident on their first days and since. Whilst there are still children stood at the door screaming, which disrupts the rest of the class. I feel that parents that stick around do it for their own benefit and peice of mind rather than the benefit of their children. Some may not like that opinion but each to their own. I just think that it works better to leave them get on and interact without you for a few hours.

MovingOutOfBlighty Thu 01-Oct-09 12:33:20

How strange!
I used to shove my dd through the door and trip off to the shops with a cheery wave. Parents hanging around? Never heard of it. That is what toddler groups are for.

NoseyNooNoo Fri 02-Oct-09 23:55:10

Well over 2 weeks later there is just the one mum who won't leave. I actually know her from other groups so talk to her each time. I think she just can't 'let go'. Her son is upset because he is confused.
I am a bit miffed that yesterday she claimed that she had helped out because of a staff shortage and spent lots of time playing with my daughter. My daughter should be being cared for by an employee who has been thoroughly checked. Obviously I know this lady but it sets a precedent that any parent, who I don't know, can hang about and play with my daughter.

maggiethecat Thu 08-Oct-09 14:46:08

DD (almost 3) started pre-school last week. First day I said bye and she was fine except that I had a call 15 mins later to say she was distressed. I went back and stayed with her the whole morning as staff suggested. I did not think this was right but deferred, thinking that she needed a bit of time to get used to the setting. Staff are of view that she will wean herself off me eventually hmm. Problem is that she wants to stay with me in the corner where I sit and the whole approach of offering quiet reassurance does not seem to be working.
I am very surprised by this method as everywhere I've heard of encourages parents to go (I'm the only parent there now btw).

BerryPie Thu 08-Oct-09 16:34:37

I can't quite believe that so many parents think it's fine to basically dump their child in a strange place, surrounded by people they don't know, and expect them to be perfectly happy. I'm sure some children are fine with that, but there will be just as many who are NOT. At three, they're still very young! If they've already been to a childminder or a nursery, fine, but if all they know is being at home then I think it's quite unreasonable to just leave them there.

In many countries, especially in Scandinavia, parents HAVE to stay with their children for the first week to help them settle in gently.

I stayed with my DD for her first week of pre-school and the staff told me they wished all parents would do that, rather than just abandon their children and then complain when they found out they'd been crying.

When I did leave her, she cried, but I knew she was familiar with the place, the staff and the routines, so it wasn't anywhere near as overwhelming as it would have been on the first day. A few weeks later, she absolutely loves it and can't wait to go back the next morning.

Again, I'm sure some children cope just fine with being left from the beginning. But some don't - and it seems unfair to judge the parents who are doing what's best for them.

maggiethecat Fri 09-Oct-09 16:20:24

I'm not looking to dump my child in a strange environment and go dancing off. I do expect to help her to adjust to a new setting and become familiar with new people. I do not expect to stay with her for 'however long it takes to settle her' (the view posited by the staff) as I believe that if I do keep going in and staying the whole morning that is what she will expect to be the normal routine for her at preschool. Surely common sense should tell us that!!

redskyatnight Mon 12-Oct-09 11:06:31

Most pre-schools have some sort of "settling in" process. At the one my DD has recently started there were 2 visits of an hour (accompanied by parent), followed by a whole session (accompanied by parent). and then 2 of the staff came on a home visit. So it wasn't a case of dumping DD in a strange place with strange people (of course no one is going to do that!)

But after settling in visits I would expect parents to hang around for a minimum length of time - as PP says once they are used to you staying it must be hard to break the habit?

paranoidmother Mon 12-Oct-09 11:21:49

We had till the end of the first week to be allowed to walk the kids to the door of the classroom and now we just line them up in the play ground, wave good bye and off we all go.

There is one or two dc's that are a bit upset but only about once a week when they don't get to stand next to their friends in line.

Other than that we're not allowed in the classroom with the dc's.

paranoidmother Mon 12-Oct-09 11:26:00

sorry just realised I posted about DD (School) and not DS (Nursery)

We take DS in hang jacket up, sign him in and kiss goodbye and he sits with his friends and I leave. We all do this and the staff are lovely and know whether the child is playing up to parent or really upset. Most of them are playing the parent up (some parents use bribes to get the kids in and one only cries until he gets his favourite chocolate bar and then he's right as rain - he's also the largest child in class by a long stretch!!!!)

PerryPlatypus Mon 12-Oct-09 11:31:44

At ours the policy is that if children need some extra time to settle then parents can leave a little more gradually. They can stay but are encouraged to leave their child for a couple of minutes to start with and then build it up. The idea is that the child gets used to the idea that their parent will come back for them.

Most parents just say goodbye and leave. It's pretty rare for anyone to actually stay, even though the option is there.

fumanchu Tue 13-Oct-09 23:03:11

At the playgroup I used, children visited with their parents before the start of term but then parents are encouraged to leave fairly quickly. Most children settle very quickly - they are far more likely to get upset if parents hang about and prolong goodbyes - some parents seem to want their chidren to be upset, as if the parents need that to prove how much their children love them. Any good pre-school would always phone parents if the child was really distressed.

littleducks Tue 13-Oct-09 23:09:44

Cant you ask preschool if mum is crbed, if she has been there 14 sessions already then she is soon going to be over the limit at which she has to be crbed to be present

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