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How to help DS with recent separation anxiety (Bubble?) - loooooong, sorry)

9 replies

Chandra · 02/08/2005 00:09

During the last three-four weeks DS (2.5) has become increasingly reluctant to stay in nursery even though he never had problems before. Now he clings to me, holds one of my legs and refuses to let me go, they take him from my arms (or legs) and hold him for a while but many days I still hear him crying while I'm leaving, and today when I asked about the problem they told me that it's taking him between 10min to 1 hour to settle in, eventhough he has been going to this nursery most of the week since he was a small baby and always seemed fine.

In one hand, I understand the problem may have been caused by some disruptions in the routine at home. DH was travelling a lot during July, my mother was visiting and DS skipped some days at nursery. On the other hand... well, he has started telling off everyone with the words "you are sooo, sooo naughty" which he uses along a very strong gesture with hands and face. So, lately everyone and everything that gets across him as "misbehaving" it's either a naughty mum, a naughty bus, a naughty laundry basket, a naughty door, etc. He has also become very agresive, he has started to kick me and hit me, and if he hits himself against something he not only hits back but tries to bite the object in question (a bit OTT but he has bitten back the slide, doors and the laundry basket )

I spoke to the nursery about the use of the naughty word and they told me that it was their policy not to use labels with the children and suggested he brang the words from home but then... we don't speak English at home!!! and his contact with other children out of the nursery is practically unexistent. They also told me that it was my fault by taking him in just after he wakes up from his afternoon nap, but then they also told me before that DS was very unsettled because I was taking him from the nursery just after lunch (and I have changed him to afternoons since then and on their recommendation).

The nursery has been great in many aspects and considering he has been fine there for almost two years I feel reluctant of finding another one. But is there something that I may worry about or something that I can do to help him feel happier about staying, I know it may be just a phase but then, there are good ways to go throug the phases, aren't they? Any practical suggestions?

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bobbybob · 02/08/2005 07:59

My ds has been saying "don't do that" with a strong wagging finger. He can only have picked it up at nursery I thought...

Turned out it was from "the wheels on the bus", "the mothers on the bus say "don't do that"".

he picked up "naughty" from Thomas the Tank Engine.

He hit things that annoyed him because my dad did it to amuse him.

So much as I wanted to blame the nursery I can't.

Fran1 · 02/08/2005 08:13

Hi Chandra, has he just moved into a new room now he is over 2? If so, could he picking up these habits from the new older children he is now mixing with?

I use the word naughty at home, i tell dd what she has done is naughty (not her). But she has started occasionally calling me naughty as a result.

I definitely think consistency helps them to settle, so now that the summer is over and he won't be having days off he may settle back down there.

If he's in a new room i think it could be the answer to most of your concerns, and he just needs time to adjust and settle.


Chandra · 02/08/2005 13:19

Thanks for answering, I may understand the naughty word being picked from Thomas but I don't believe Thomas is on TV at least not at a time he can watch it, and as far as I know they don't have a video/cd player at the nursery, but even if they did the trains don't have hands, so where did he piked up the gesture ? (which normally starts by placing a pointing finger between his half clossed eyes, then he looks as if he can't stand you for a minute longer and finally explode with the words and waving the finger at you. I found it a bit sophisticated for a two year old..)

We don't use adjectives at home but even if we were accidentally using them they would be in Spanish or Catalan, so I don't understand...

He has been in that room almost a year and from what I gather the group is almost the same give or take a couple of children. So, I don't have a clue [thinking emoticon]

Any suggestions to help him settle?

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Chandra · 02/08/2005 14:27


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Blackduck · 02/08/2005 15:00

Have they been reading 'K is for Kissing a cool Kangeroo'? Cos 'N is for Naughty and NO Don't do that' - my ds thinks its hilarious...

Chandra · 02/08/2005 15:58

No idea BlackDuck but thanks.

How can I help him settle and avoid all that crying when we enter the nursery?

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bubble99 · 02/08/2005 20:51

Very young children tend to play alongside each other, rather than together. Most two year olds will play interactively on a one-to-one with an adult or older sibling/family member, pretending games like making mummy a cup of tea for example. As they get beyond two their play gradually begins to become more peer orientated. This is when the fireworks can fly! Young children are instinctively self-centred and often find their first steps into social play; sharing, taking turns etc. quite difficult.

Your son has been happy at his nursery as a baby and, unless you have any concerns about staff members, I would hazard a guess that his new, clingy behaviour may be a response to his new social abilities. He may well have seen other children biting or hitting and is copying what he has seen.

I suspect he is learning, as we all had to at his age, that he's not the centre of the universe! A tough lesson to learn and I'm sure he clings to you because he knows that he is the centre of your universe.

Usual advice applies. Talk to his keyworker or room-leader if you still have concerns. It may also be worth asking if they have any 'biters' in his room at the moment. They won't tell you, and you don't need to know names, but there is no reason for them not to tell you if they have a chomper in their midst!

bubble99 · 02/08/2005 21:07

And practically... Caring but firm drop-offs, get him to show you any displays featuring his artwork and any favourite toys. Ask in advance that a staff-member can be on hand, then a big cuddle and kiss and turn around and keep walking. If you've occupied him by looking at toys/pictures etc together he won't be clinging on to your legs at this point and as long as the staff-member quickly steps in to distract him with a favourite activity, you should be OK. At our nursery some teary kids have a cuddle from a favourite staff member as they wave goodbye from the window. This seems to work as they feel safe and secure and understand that mummy will be back later on. The sight of mummy walking away may seem cruel but it shows that mummy has gone and is not in a cupboard somewhere!

Chandra · 03/08/2005 00:17

Thanks Bubble, that has been very enlightening. I believe he definitvely had an issue about sharing and we have being working on that, he is more willing to share now though I know that sometimes he just has to have what the other child has on its hands... Though, having said that we have got more than 10 incidents reports in the last 2 months, most of them are when another child has biten, pinched or scratched him and just one when he has scratched another child. DH complained about the frequency of accidents and the only thing we got is that next time he got scratched no report was handed, although they provided one (that was innacurate) a day after I asked why there has been no report (specially as he got scratchmarks on both sides of the face and one of them is still there after 2 weeks). Havings said that... I know who the biting/scratching child is... DS's best friend! AAAAAAARRRRGGHHHHHHH!!!! children!!!

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