Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Hates being left at pre-school.

(18 Posts)
DorisD Thu 02-Oct-14 20:40:02

This is my first post, so would welcome any advice.
DH and I have looked after our DGS since he was 9 months old, 4 days a week while DIL works. He is 3 now and has just started pre school. He is a lovely, lively lad, but he does not speak well yet. He is very close to his granddad. So much so that when we take him to his pre school he gets very upset when he is left. He sobs and cries and it is very upsetting. We stayed for a while the first couple of sessions, but on advice from the staff, now wave 'bye' and go, leaving him screaming. Heartbreaking!
He does not seem to be settling, and his poor communication is making it harder. Once he gets home he is fine...has lunch then plays normally.
I know it is probably just a matter of time . Have any other grandparents had same situation?

tanith Thu 02-Oct-14 21:00:56

Its distressing of course but you've done everything right by your DGS now you just have to stay strong and hope he settles as most children eventually do. If he still isn't settling then maybe talk to the staff who experience this behaviour regularly again and see what they suggest.

I hope he settles soon and will run in without a backward glance.

Kiora Thu 02-Oct-14 21:05:15

Oh yes and it broke my heart too. I just wanted to whip him up in my arms and take him back to nanna's safe cosy house. Needless to say I didn't because although I too looked after him from birth 3 - 4 days a week I knew he wasn't mine. It wasn't my decision. The fact that when he comes back home he's fine and the pre- school haven't said he's like that for the whole session I wouldn't worry to much. It's the separation it's painful for him and you . Once you left he may be fine. The other aspect is my grandson even at that age knew I was very soppy about him and hated him being upset so he played up to that I think. He's 13 now but I still remember his tears. He fortunately doesn't.( I was never that soppy about my own children why is that)

rosesarered Thu 02-Oct-14 21:05:36

Yes, we found the same when our DGS was the same age. However, he was later diagnosed with autism. Your DGS is finding it hard to adjust, and many young children do. He cannot speak well, and this is a problem. At 3 years old he should be able to, have you thought of having this checked? Regardless of that fact, young children are not all the same, some are cheerful and outgoing, and some are clingy and tearful.Our own daughter at that age hated nursery, and I managed to find one that was small, very organised, and she liked it, the first nursery was large and the children sort of ran riot [which scared her.]Our small son hated nursery, and we took him away after some painful episodes, and he was happy as Larry at home with us.Unless your DGS needs to be at nursery, if it doesn't work out, keep him at home with you.Welcome to the forum as well DorisD smile

littleflo Thu 02-Oct-14 21:40:56

I would ask two questions. Does he settle after a little while and does he mix with other children?.

I was a childminder for several years and some children kicked of big time when their parents left but quickly settled within 30 minutes.

My eldest son was incredibly shy and hated new situations. He is 44 now and still the same.

If he is distressed the whole time he is at school and if he does not interact with others, it could be worth getting him checked.

I would try to find out if he has a special friend at school and try to arrange for meetings with this child out of school. I believe this will give him confidence.

I would be very reassured by the fact that once he is back with you he shows no sign of distress. As grandparents being the main carers, is it possible that he has not had much experience of other children or large groups and is slightly overwhelmed by the experience.

I agree that if he does not settle after a few months you could take him away and try again when he is a little older.

Greenfinch Thu 02-Oct-14 21:44:00

I echo rosesarered. Our grandson had fewer than 50 words when he started and found communication very difficult. He had already been diagnosed with special needs (autism) so he was given a one-to-one helper with whom he soon formed a relationship but the early weeks were very difficult. His twin sister had no such problem and went happily from day one. My eldest son hated playschool so we didn't send him. My daughter felt it important for her son to attend to improve his social skills. Maybe your grandson would prefer to stay at home and there is nothing wrong with that. Our own DGS was much happier when he went to "big school "and didn't have the same sort of problems. It is truly heartbreaking when they cling to you sobbing though and you feel as if you are betraying them.Do see if you can get someone at the nursery to help with his communication problems.

Deedaa Thu 02-Oct-14 21:53:23

I would keep talking to the pre school staff and see how they think he is settling. When I was taking GS1 to pre school some of the children used to come in really upset but they all settled down quite quickly and enjoyed themselves. The only one who never really settled has since turned out to have some serious problems. I'm sure you would already have noticed if this was the case with your grandson.

And remember it really won't matter if you decide he's not quite ready and try again next term.

vampirequeen Fri 03-Oct-14 10:26:20

What happens when you leave? My youngest DD cried every day when I left her from FS1 to half way through Y2. I had an arrangement with the teachers. She would be peeled off me with the minimum amount of fuss and sit on the teacher's knee. I would smile, say 'see you at home time' and walk out without looking back. It was so hard at first. The school were lovely. I would go to the office and the secretary would go straight down to the nursery on some more that 2 mins since I'd left....and come back to say my DD was playing with whatever or whoever. DD just hated the goodbye bit. She still has this problem and she's 25 now.

vampirequeen Fri 03-Oct-14 10:28:06

Forgot to say. DGD runs into school perfectly happy. DD leaves with tears welling even though she knows she has no reason to feel that way.

DorisD Fri 03-Oct-14 19:59:14

Thank you everyone for your messages of support. We have spoken to the pre school staff, and they agree it will be a long haul to get him comfortable with being left.
His parents agree that if he really does get too distressed for too long then we will think of taking him out and trying again.
As for his speech, that again will be worked on. He has not had any official testing for autism, as he does not show any other symptoms apart from the delayed speech.
We will keep giving him the support he needs.
Didn't know how hard being a Gran would be confused
Don't remember being this emotional with my own sons wine
Again, thanks all!

Mishap Fri 03-Oct-14 20:32:53

He is just not ready - and why should be be? It is not a rule of nature that tiny children should enjoy such a setting. We have just been endlessly conditioned to think this is best for them.

Some children just do not like it and are not ready to be thrust out into these artificial settings till they are older.

I would never leave a child of mine screaming, and I think the pre-school is wrong to tell you to do this.

He needs to be at home in a cozy loving setting a bit longer. Forcing the issue will make it even harder for him when he is compulsorily obliged to go to school (also when he is very tiny these days).

This wee man needs time. He is trying to tell everyone his needs. How very difficult for you as you are executing a plan that is not your own. I truly feel for you.

My GC are all different in this regard. One hated pre-school and his Mum responded to it appropriately. Our 6th GC goes to us once a week, child minder once and a lovely outdoor nursery another day - she laps it all up and loves it. Adults need to respond to children as they are and make individual decisions dependent on their needs.

susieb755 Fri 03-Oct-14 21:50:35

I was a pre school worker, and we always told mums to leave their children when they were crying - they shut up as soon as mum goes and get on with it! Children are always more badly behaved around those they know best - if the child really didn't settle, the pre school would let you know
We used to recommend leaving something behind' accidentally' ( umbrella glove or so on) so in the unlikley event of tears re erupting we would say dont worry mum will be back, she left her gloves ( the child never seemed to twig that they were more important than gloves ! )
Pre school is a much gentler intro to separation than itwas in our day - marched off age 5 never having been parted before !

Nelliemoser Fri 03-Oct-14 22:38:35

They are all very different. and not having good communication is a big difficulty.

As vampirequeen has described my two yr old DGS sometimes clings to his mum like a little monkey in the mornings when she drops him off. At other times he just rushes off when he sees his friend.
I think it's often the actual saying goodbye bit that gets them upset.

To really judge how distressed any child in this situation is, you need to get an idea from staff about just how long it takes for them to stop crying and become interested in what else is going on.

My DGS sometimes has to be peeled away from nursery in the afternoon when he has been enjoying himself.

Mishap Sat 04-Oct-14 12:01:25

"- they shut up as soon as mum goes and get on with it."

Is that really what we want for our children? - or do we want them to be truly happy?

They are simply too young to be made to grin and bear it if it is not right for them. And as for using this as a means of conditioning them for when they have to go to primary school........this begs the question as to whether they should be forced to go to school so young.

We should perhaps be going back to basics and asking ourselves whether the system is right for little ones. I believe it is not.

rockgran Sat 04-Oct-14 15:46:48

I used to be a nursery teacher and can remember the anguish caused by the "parting" of mother and child. After settling the child to a task it is best keep the goodbye short and sweet. Don't linger and don’t always expect a formal goodbye. Sometimes the mums would hang on too long saying goodbye - as if they actually wanted their child to display some distress at the parting. I used to tell them to go, wait outside and then look through the window in about five minutes because the child usually settled the minute mum was out of the room. I always felt more sorry for the mum. However, I agree, Mishap, that for some children it is just too soon.

vampirequeen Sat 04-Oct-14 17:57:41

Does he settle once you're out of sight? If so it's just the parting that he doesn't like. If he doesn't settle or doesn't play then maybe you need to discuss it with care provider.

nightowl Sat 04-Oct-14 23:29:43

Mishap I agree with every word you have said. I had one son who hated school from his very first day at 3 and a half until he officially left at 16 - in truth he never attended after the age of 12 and very rarely before that. He was left screaming on a regular basis until we had the courage - and were finally' given permission' - to stop forcing it. He simply did not fit the school system and as you say, why should he? Children are individuals and the system simply does not allow for this.

Doris I truly hope your DGS will settle, and I know that my case was unusual. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I would never again leave a screaming child at nursery. I would never again give a child in my care that message that I have no regard for his distress or fear. I do accept that this would not be my decision to make in the case of a grandchild but I would be having that discussion with the parents and making my views very clear.

Tegan Sat 04-Oct-14 23:38:04

My son was a late speaker. The speech therapist decided he should go to nursery [not something that many children did in those days] so I took him to a nursery for a few weeks. He didn't exactly cry when I left him, but he obviously didn't like it much and his speech didn't improve either, so he stopped going. I asked him years later why he didn't like it and he said it was because they made him eat cabbage at dinner time sad. He went through a phase of hating play school as well until one week some girls from the local comprehensive came to help out. He took a shine to one of them and never looked back after that. The trouble is, at that sort of age they know they're unhappy but they can't explain why they feel that way.