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Should I give up with nursery? Are some children just never going to enjoy it?

10 replies

nicebutjim · 22/11/2011 12:27

1yo dd started nursery coming up to 6 weeks ago (but with a 1 week holiday in the middle). When at home, she's a happy baby. Will play on her own and doesn't cry much, but she's sensitive and likes to be close to me. We started nursery gradually, doing an hour or two a day for the first 3 weeks and she cried the whole time more or less. She started to get attached to her key carer there, though, and we thought things were improving. She had one week where she'd cry when dropped off, but would stop quickly and play, eat and sleep the rest of the time. Then for the past 2 weeks her carer has been off with an injury and the staff have changed around a bit, she's had a cold and has been generally grumbly and we seem to have gone back to the beginning. When I pick her up, staff tell me she's been ok, has played some of the time and cried on and off the rest. We have different ideas about what ok is, though. I expect I may be overprotective, and they on the other hand may be a little desensitized. The last two days I have gone in to pick her up, dd has been crying in a moaning sort of way (not tears rolling down cheeks, screaming kind of crying, more of a complaining kind of cry). When I ask staff, they tell me she's been fine. When I point out gently that she seems to be crying, they say "yes well she does that, she just wants to be picked up". Oh, I should add that when I pick her up and we say goodbye to staff, she'll smile at them. Is that a good sign?

I don't know. I trust the staff and think they are doing the best they can. But I think there are cultural differences (I'm not in UK) which mean we have different attitudes regarding babies and separation at that age, and how it should be dealt with. Dd is the only baby ever crying when I'm there. The others just seem to play happily. The nursery itself is lovely and practically, it ticks all the boxes. In fact we are extremely lucky to have a place there and I have no idea how I'll sort out childcare if we take dd out. I don't have many other options financially (it's heavily subsidised). But I don't want these practical considerations to cloud my judgement. If I have to find another solution, I'll just have to manage somehow. But I have no idea if I've lost all sense of perspective on this.
What do you think?

OP posts:
Tigresswoods · 22/11/2011 12:29


nicebutjim · 22/11/2011 13:33

I can't afford one currently. The system is different here, daycare in nursery is heavily subsidised.

Like I said, if I have to look for an alternative, that's just what I'll have to do. But I'm interested in getting people's views on what I've written about the nursery.

OP posts:
AAAvegetable · 22/11/2011 13:41

My DD1 never settled in nursery. We started her at 10 months and had a very similar experience to yours. We carried on for 2 months and although things got a bit better when she got more used to the individual carers, on teh whole whe was never very happy there. THen we took her our for a month long family holiday and when we took her back she screamed soildly for three days. It was horrible and I could not being myself to try a fourth day so we hired a nanny.

DD1 was a child who would be very happy and confident if in a room with a trusted adult. She was not clingy to that adult but needed to know they were there. This is wny hursery did not suit her, she needed a specific care figure, not an array of carers walking in and out. I truly do not think she would ever have been properly happy in nursery.

As soon as we got her a nanny she was happy. A childminder would have been OK too. She just needed a trusted adult who was consistently present.

DD1 is 5 years old now and only in teh last year has she been happy to be with an array of adults.

nicebutjim · 22/11/2011 13:53

Thanks AAA, you've basically described dd and pinpointed exactly what it is that isn't working out. Did you speak to the nursery about it? Did they agree with your assessment?

OP posts:
Scarfmaker · 24/11/2011 22:41

Hi nicebutjim,

1 year olds can be tricky at settling-in anywhere. I would say that one or two hours per day would not have been enough to settle your daughter in properly (in my experience as a childminder). I usually do a morning or afternoon settling-in time over a few weeks. Then again each nursery/childminder has their own way of doing things.

Also the one week holiday gap in between wouldn't have helped and also that she had a cold which can bring her mood down.

As for the moaning sort of cry when you pick her up. Could she just be tired? Have you checked with the nursery that she is getting enough sleep? At one year old I usually get my mindees to have an hours sleep say between 8.30am-10am and another two hours say between 12.30-3pm for them to be chirpy at dinner time.

As for smiling at the staff when YOU pick her up, I would say that's quite normal as she is just pleased to see you. A good sign is that the other children seem happy there.

I would give it longer to make up your mind.

nicebutjim · 25/11/2011 12:08

thanks scarfmaker. We upped the hours gradually. I also did a session or two where I stayed and gave her lunch there. If i could have I think it would have helped to do more though, like you say. She could be tired. She has one nap at about 12, it's usually about an hour. She'll occasionally have a morning nap too, but I think that's more difficult for the staff to manage so they'll only take her to lie down if she's really cranky. However, when I pick her up, she doesn't fall asleep in the buggy on the way home, which I would have expected if she was really tired.
I'm going to give it a few more weeks, but am also looking at a way of cutting down the hours there.
What's the longest it's taken one of your mindees of similar age to settle with you?

OP posts:
brettgirl2 · 25/11/2011 13:48

I dont think your daughter has been there long enough to settle. I think they all cry a bit at first (my daughter loves nursery but cried for a few weeks). The tears on collection are common - its because they are pleased to see you but dont have the communicative ability to tell you. That said I have a friend whose daughter still cries at drop off after 18 months so some do never properly settle.

Dozer · 16/12/2011 17:34

My DD1 was unhappy at nursery at that age, settled a bit after a couple of months but was never actually happy there. At the time I didn't feel I had many other options and was so stressed with other things just didn't want to deal with it, so kept her in til she was 2.5 and had another baby.

A couple of years on I really regret not moving her much sooner. Could've done better by her.

Nursery is not for all DC. IME it is better to face facts and deal with the hassle / expense of finding better care than have nagging doubts.

EBDteacher · 16/12/2011 20:47

My DS is just as AAA describes her DD1. People comment on what a happy, confident child he is but I know he is only like that when he has a trusted adult in his line of sight.

I have just lost my wonderful CM as she has decided to retire and have had to choose between a lucky vacancy at a fantastic nursery next door to where I work or slogging to find another great childminder. The nursery has every practical advantage- 30 seconds away, perfect hours, will never be 'off sick' or 'on holiday'. However, I can't bring myself to go with the nursery- I want DS to know exactly who is there to meet his needs and for it to be the same person every day. I agree with Dozer, better to take the plunge and find a different arrangement than worry about your little one. They only get one babyhood.

smearedinfood · 23/12/2011 22:17

My DS was a happy confident chap. I thought he would take to nursery. Started him at 13 months. I'd sorted out the nursery but DH had to settle him in while he looked for work. In the first few weeks there was a day when DH had to back in as DS was so upset his nose was bleeding. We did have have moments of self doubt ... But... He is 17 months and when DH tells him he is going to nursery, DS goes to the door and gets agitated if his dad doesn't get a move on. I think guilt is part in parcel of being a parent...but it's still early days.

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