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Advice please - due back in work 2 wks, DS taster session at nursery a disaster.

29 replies

choolie · 09/01/2008 16:31

Sorry this is long, but please read if you have the time, I could do with some advice.

DS is 11m. I'm due back in work in a couple of weeks and had booked 4 half day taster sessions at the nursery in preparation for him going there, so that I could stay for the first session, (which I'd been told by the manager to do) stay for part of the second and then leave him for the full 2 half days in the hope this would settle him in gently, before his 2 full days a week once I'm back at work.

when I arrived for the first session, it was a bit disorganised, the manager popped her head round the door, said she'd see me later. One of the girls sat on the floor with me for a few minutes so I could read through the notes I'd made on DS's routine, likes, dislikes etc. during this time, other babies were toddling up to her, DS wanted my attention etc. Then I was made to feel it would be better if I left DS there for an hour and that I should go without saying goodbye. I felt quite intimidated, like I must be an over anxious parent (which, yes I am over stuff like leaving my baby with strangers) had to run back in to make sure they had my mobile number as nobody had checked it, then sat in the car crying feeling like I'd just deserted him. 5min later they rang to say could I come back, he was quite upset and I could hear him hysterical in the background and I had to go back and pick him up - at which point I expressed how unhappy I was too. I've never seen DS so distressed.

What is a normal induction to a nursery? I was expecting to be able to see DS settled and happily playing before leaving him there - which I'd been assured on booking him in was the norm, I'd been told parents stay for the first session and in fact that they encourage parents to drop in as often as they wished. Nobody seemed to want to check what information I'd been given (after the initial info to make the decision to send him there I'd been told there would be time to discuss everything in detail during the taster sessions).

Am I expecting too much that I thought I'd have time to go through DS's forms (which I'd spent 3 hours over to make sure I told them everything I could about my PFB!), that there would be a proper induction for ME, so that I'd know what he'd be doing on his days there and how they'd settle him, when they'd call me etc. - I know you get this info when looking into them, but once I'd made the decision and booked him in, I then thought I'd get more detailed info.

I couldn't face going back the next day, so agreed I would speak to the manager that eve, I rang her thinking I'd try again thurs & fri and was told fri only would be better. So I've left it that I'll call her to confirm whether i go fri or not. I can't face making the call, but don't know what else to do - I don't see how I can make a rational decision on another place at such short notice - as well as the fact that I'd planned the timings so we could get 4 short sessions in before starting full-time.

Be grateful for any thoughts on any aspect of what I've said, sorry again it's so long!

OP posts:
Coby · 09/01/2008 16:54

When I chose a nursery for my DD1 I turned up unannounced at the nursery I liked the look of. Had a chat with the manager and a quick look around the facilities and saw the children playing. From that I just got a good feeling about the place - esp compared to the other local offerings. When I phoned them to say I wanted DD to attend I was posted out some forms which I duly filled in and returned. I was then sent a good handbook about what they required you to do as a parent (provide spare clothes nappies etc).

On DDs first day (6 months old) (she had NEVER) been left with anyone - let alone people she didn't know. I took her in, said my quick goodbye, drove home, cried eyes out and phoned the nursery after she had been there an hour (they said I could). I was told she was settling in well. I;ve never looked back. She cries when I leave her sometimes but very rarely. DD2 now attends too and she is much more prone to cying when left at first. It's a pretty common thing IME most get over it after a few mins, some take longer.

My nursery do not recommend you hang on for too long when you drop them off, they say the children settle better when you leave fairly promptly and I think they are right. They certainly would not recommend yuo just 'pop in' whenever - that seems a bit strange to me - how would that fit in with activities (they often go for walks of to play in the gym) and surely the child will be constantly reminded that they are not with you if one minute you are there, the next you're gone withgout taking them with you.

I'm not sure why they asked you to come back after 5 minutes - maybe they saw you upset in the car outside? 5 minutes is not a very long time to give themselves to settle a child - especially the first time they are left.

You could find another place at such short notice if there are nurseries with spaces available. I chose my nursery in 5 mins flat, it just clicked with me and I felt they had the same parenting values as I did. My DD has been there for 3 years now and loves it - so does DD2


choolie · 09/01/2008 17:19

No, they said to just pop in in the time leading up to our decision, not once he was there.

I'd driven off by the time they rang and had parked up elsewhere, they rang me to come back as DS was hysterical.

We did get a good feel about the place when we first went there, but after this session i don't feel they're in tune with my values at all. - eg watched a baby's nappy being changed, the baby cried throughout and the girl didn't even speak to her, never mind trying to reassure the baby, you'd swear she was ironing a shirt or something.

I just felt like they'd got so used to doing what they're doing day in day out, the babies were just a job to them, rather than individuals. Maybe I''m just expecting too much?

OP posts:
tangent · 09/01/2008 17:23

Do you have to go back to work?

tangent · 09/01/2008 17:31

sorry, not a helpful comment. ignore me.

yogimum · 09/01/2008 17:35

i looked at two nurseries, one with an outstanding ofsted report and fantastic facilities organic food etc. When I looked around the baby room the staff looked bored stiff and not very interested in the babies. I cried when I got outside thinking how could I ever leave him. We decided to look at the second one anyway and it was the girl in the babyroom which sold it to me. She loved her job and it showed. I think you have to be comfortable or you will constantly be worrying when he is there. A recommendation from other mums is a good way to go so ask around.

choolie · 09/01/2008 17:36

yes unfortunately, desperately don't want to, but we were late getting on housing ladder, so DH salary short by about £400 pm to meet the basics (which gives me a budget of £10pw, so not being flash and certainly no holidays in there for a few years!) we're just wondering if I should pack job in and get eve bar work instead. Luckily day job is well paid enough I can just cut down to 2days pw and be bit more comfortable than just basics, but DS more important to me now!

OP posts:
choolie · 09/01/2008 17:37

sorry couple x posts, was replying to tangent 1st post in my last message.

think I will spend tomorrow zooming around other nurseries that still have space!

thanks for replying all. much appreciated.

OP posts:
choolie · 09/01/2008 17:37

sorry couple x posts, was replying to tangent 1st post in my last message.

think I will spend tomorrow zooming around other nurseries that still have space!

thanks for replying all. much appreciated.

OP posts:
yogimum · 09/01/2008 17:38

maybe if you say what area you are in someone on here might have a good idea on a suitable nursery for you lo.

yogimum · 09/01/2008 17:39

Unfortunately sometimes the best nurseries have waiting lists.

tangent · 09/01/2008 17:41

I was in similar situation a while ago. I went back to work when DS1 was 9 months. The nursery was nice, no major problems with it, but after 9 months of DS crying as i left him, and me crying in the car everymorning on the way to work, and millions of other reasons, I gave up work and am now poor, but children happy.

moopymoo · 09/01/2008 17:43

would a childminder be a less stressful way into this for you both? my ds2 would absolutely not settle at nursery but was very happy with the lovely lady i found by advertisi in local paper. good luck.

choolie · 09/01/2008 17:58

thanks yes, will check out childminders, this was my first option as one lives across the road, but full up, which was such a shame as would have been so easy to get him settled over a longer time frame.

OP posts:
Coby · 09/01/2008 20:59

hope you manage to get things sorted - it's not going to be much fun at work if you are constantly worried about your DS . Sorry for misunderstanding about 'popping back' was reading and typing fast as I supposed to be doing the dinner but somehow ended up on MN...again

MightyMoosh · 09/01/2008 22:32

As a former nursery nurse, I can say that being called back after 5 mins is not usual unless DC has fallen and broken a leg! 15 min is minimum if child is going hysterical, 30mins more appropriete if still upset. Try another nursery! this one sound badly organised and not a good vibe. It is difficult to work with children, you do have to want to do it!

I was often in charge of up to 25 under threes plus staff and I know it is sometimes difficult to keep on top of stuff, it is easier in a normal nursery with regular children.

Coby · 09/01/2008 22:44

MM - do you mean it is unusual?

MightyMoosh · 09/01/2008 23:02

eeek do I mean what is unusual? or do you mean moopymoo?

Coby · 09/01/2008 23:06

arghhhh...too many MMs , no I saw you said what is not unusual is being called back after 5 mins...I wondered if you meant that was a bit unusual...gosh does this make sense I thought it a bit weird to be called back after 5 mins I would have thought they hadn't given it long enough but then I'm no expert!

MightyMoosh · 09/01/2008 23:15

I meant- if you are called back after 5 mins its unusual! does that make sense? is not enough time to settle at all, and if we did that for every child would have NO shildren as most take 5 mins to settle!

Saying that, did my 1st ever drop-off of a child at nursery, my 2y charge cried and the staff say oh dont worry, he will settle. I say have worked in nurseries for 6 years, I know he will!

Coby · 09/01/2008 23:19

yes, thats what I thought..bit weird of the nursery to do that I thought...will shut up now (god knows I talk much crap when tired )

paddingtonbear1 · 09/01/2008 23:24

At the nursery we used for dd, the first settling in session (around half an hour), I stayed with her the whole time. She liked the girl in the babyroom though and went to her easily. The next time,I left her there for an hour, she did cry a bit but I wasn't called back. We liked the nursery as the staff seemed to genuinely care about the kids, and everything was pretty well organised (I did turn up at all sorts of times).
I'd probably try other places if poss.

1dilemma · 09/01/2008 23:36

Being called back after 5 mins would be pretty unusual I would have thought. However I remember being pretty underwhelmed by the handing over of details even for second dc. Reinforced by one of the workers saying to me 'we soon get them into our routine'
However I basically don't really want to leave my lo at nursery and really strongly at the beginning but still even 7 months in find myself thinking along the lines 'they don't look after her properly' or just wanting to get her out of there.
What I'm trying to say is it might not be all bad, and it's usual (IMHE) to not want to leave your child at nursery however the 5 mins thing is strange. At fist session parent stays there whole time.
(BTW nursery does look after them properly)

Heated · 09/01/2008 23:56

It doesn't sound very organised, nor did they do what they said they would. A good nursery knows how difficult & emotional it is for parents to leave their babies for the first time and do everything to ease that transition and convey that your lo is in the best hands.

That's what should happen.

I'm not saying this is a bad nursery but they have not made a good first impression. Your lo is also at that age where they feel the separation more acutely than a younger baby.

It depends whether you think this was a one off that can be quickly remedied with a frank chat or whether you think you'd be better off with a different nursery or even a CM.

izzywizzyletsgetbusy · 10/01/2008 20:28

Just wanted to say was a bit that the nursery said it would be better if you didn't say goodbye - I don't understand that. I always thought that you should tell children you are leaving and will be back later rather than vanishing when they are looking the other way - which can make them more clingy as they then daren't look the other way in case you do vanish iykwim!!

Sometimes dd/ds are settled and happily playing by the time I've hung up bags/coats/handed over everything to staff, but I still always go and interrupt them to give them a kiss bye bye!

Also think 5 mins is no time to settle a child. ds used to cry for a good 10-15 mins at first then be absolutely fine for rest of day.

I would definitely speak to them and investigate other options - you really need to have confidence in them to look after your child or will be constantly worrying!

ShhHesSleeping · 10/01/2008 21:26

It makes me so cross when people say don't say goodbye to your lo. It completely undermines their trust in the world - where once the world was safe and predictable, they now have a mummy who could disappear any time without warning.
Saying goodbye is hard - because they cry - but it's important that they understand what's happening and if they get upset and express their feelings about it, that's ok too, that's normal. And once you're gone, they'll start to notice they're in an interesting place with nice people being kind to them (hopefully) and they can begin to discover they can have fun there.

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