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Problems settling in at Nursery = very stressed mum!

11 replies

JaiD · 30/06/2010 00:20


My 1 year old dd has just started nursery, she had a settling in period last week and she had her second proper day today. I'm returning to work in 2 weeks Mon-Wed and she will be going in Monday half day and then full days on Tues and Wed. My concern is that she is very clingy to me when I drop her in the mornings and, although I know that this is to be expected, I'm worried this will be a continuing trend as it is SO unlike her to be clingy. I phoned the nursery this afternoon to see how she was getting on and they said she'd been tearful more or less the whole morning and had slept for only half an hour as opposed to the two hours she would normally sleep at home. I was hoping they'd say that she stopped crying shortly after I left her but unfortunately not! When I went to pick her up they said that her crying had been more of an angry cry rather than an upset sobbing, almost as if, "How dare my mummy leave me here?!" I'm worried she won't ever settle and I have to return to work in two weeks and won't be available if things aren't going too well. The staff at the nursery have been really good and I'm sure they've seen this all before but I'm worried that they will tell me that she's disturbing or upsetting the other children by her crying and that'll just break my heart. I know it's early days but I just have this knot in my stomach at the prospect of doing this all again tomorrow and I guess I just need some reassurance that all will be okay? I eagerly await the day she goes running into the room without so much as a backward glance to me so I know that she is happy!

OP posts:
andagain · 30/06/2010 11:23

It really will be ok. I know that it may not seem like that to you but it will.

I am pretty sure most people had this when their kids start nursery.

My daughter certainly did when she started. My husband takes her to nursery on his bike so the tears would start once she is on the bycicle with her little helmet on, she would wave to me good bye with tears streaming down her face. It was just horrible to watch.

And then when they got to the nursery she would cry saying she didn't want DH to go and DH found it very distressing.

She goes two days per week and this went on for I think good 6 weeks and then one day it just stopped and she is absolutely loving it now.

I think it was very important that the staff in the nursery are very loving and cuddly and she got lots of cuddles and attention from them when she was dropped off.

And I don't want to sound patronising, you of course know this, but you know it is fine for them to feel upset sometimes, it is all part of growing up and learing how to deal with separation of one way or another. And getting cross with you for leaving her is ok too. I mean it is crap for you but in the long run it is part of growing up.

It is the beginnig of one looooooong guilt trip for you as a parent.

Honestly, if you are happy with the nursery and you know that they are doing what they can to make the transition easier, it really will be fine.

I am sure you will be able to post in a few weeks when she toddles in there with a big grin on her face!

lovelymama · 30/06/2010 11:30

Oh it is heartbreaking when you hear that your child has been upset at nursery. It makes me feel guilty for leaving DS there but he has such a good time 99% of the time.

Your DD has only been at nursery for a short time so it's very early days. She might just be a bit confused with what's going on but will get used to it eventually. The nap thing is 100% normal - DS never sleeps as long at nursery as he does at home and I think this is because when he comes in to a light sleep, he hears other noises and that wakes him up. He's used to it now and sleeps for a decent amount of time there.

Give it time and things will improve. If she's upset for a few weeks it's not going to scar her for life, especially if the staff are attentive and you give her lots of cuddles/love at home. One thing I would say is when you drop her off, give her a kiss and cuddle and then get out of there - if you show her that you are upset or hang around too long, it kind of makes things worse for them as they don't know where they stand.

We went through this process with DS a year ago and now when he wakes up on a morning, he says in a happy voice 'going to nursery now?'.

JaiD · 30/06/2010 14:04

Thanks so much for the feedback, yes, I am being very strong and enthusiastic whilst with her and trying to get her excited about it all. I was in there during nap time and the kids are like clockwork, they all had their lunch at 11.30-12.15 and then went over to the mats and fell asleep one by one! It was amazing. Unfortunately, my LO fell asleep in the arms of one of the staff earlier in the morning so didn't nap with the rest of the kids so I've asked them to try and keep her awake so she falls into the same nap time as everyone else. In my heart, I do feel she'll come through it but it's just stressful going through it!

OP posts:
Tootingbec · 30/06/2010 14:31


I have just been through what you are going through. My DD of 14 months has been going to nursery for 2 full days a week since the end of April and I would leave her crying her eyes out and the staff would say she had been upset in the morning etc etc.

Just to reassure you, at some point they do turn a corner. Over the past few weeks it has got easier and easier to leave her because she is starting to settle. This week she barely even registered that I was leaving the room when I dropped her off and the staff say she is really enjoying herself now.

So, please take heart that it might take a few weeks but it will get better. Also, the nursery staff are used to upset children so they won't tell you off if she crys for the first few weeks!

JaiD · 30/06/2010 19:09

Thanks so much, even though I kind of knew that she's not the only child going through this and I'm not the only parent going through this, it's so reassuring to hear positive stories. My hubby doesn't seem to understand how difficult this is for me and for her and I sometimes think there's no point in trying to explain! Tootingbec, do you live in Tooting Bec? I am in Tooting Broadway!

OP posts:
Christina01 · 21/04/2011 12:05

I am going through this same thing with my son. I am so upset. He had his second settling in this week and cried the whole time through. They too said he sounds more angry than truly upset but it still breaks my heart. the nursery has a webcam so i watch from the reception upstairs and i can see him kicking his little legs and crying and crying and i just dont know what to do. he will be one year old in a week. have i started too early?

TheVisitor · 21/04/2011 12:08

It can take up to 6 weeks, sometimes more, for a baby to settle in nursery. It will happen and she'll be fine.

princesbold · 10/05/2011 17:47

Settling in periods should not be set by your nursery, it takes as long as it takes and a good nursery operator will not charge for this period, it can take six weeks or more, and sometimes you may find you will have to consider an alternative as some children will just never be happy, happiness is the most important thing for your child.

MrsNursery · 14/05/2011 00:58

I assure you things will get better! as a mum of four boys who used/uses nurseries and a Previous Nursery Manager I can HONESTLY comment from both sides, children are so resilient and if you are happy you have made the right choice then stick with it, the nursery staff are well equipped to deal with new children and should support you all the way, at first your daughter probably won't sleep the same as at home, this is normal, it's a completely different environment and slightly noisier than at home, she will of course be upset and the nursery should have asked you her likes/dislikes so thay can distract her when she becomes unsettled, maybe a toy from home she can find comfort in or a certain song you sing that her key person can sing so its familiar, It will get better and it's great that you have given a few weeks to get her settled before your RTW, before you know it she will be enjoying nursery, each child is different but there are children attending nursery each day who went through the same and are now settled, reassure yourself by looking at the other children in her room and if they happy and content maybe have a little chat with their parent and ask "how long did they take to settle in" I guarantee they would have been as anxious as you, you are not alone.
I have created a free website all about childcare, I hope it helps:)

Wabbit · 22/05/2011 12:40

Am I right in thinking that 'settling in' is time in the nursery with a parent or carer present?

Are nurseries OK with parents joining in for up to 6 weeks?

Wabbit · 22/05/2011 19:01


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