My toddler hates daycare *(Update) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 08-31-2007, 01:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a fulltime student and started school a week ago. I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and my daughter goes to the school's daycare center from 8:30-3:30. She's 23 months old and this is her first daycare experience, and her first experience with napping without me, although for the last year I've been a fulltime student and she's been watched by a nanny, and then a SAHM.
The first day, last Thursday, she was happy when I left. I went to check on her at naptime and she had had a rough time going to sleep- cried herself to sleep(with the daycare provider there though). She was happy to see me when I came to get her later. Her second day, Tuesday, she started to cry when I left, she cried to sleep, and when I arrived to get her she just had a look on her face like she was about to burst into tears. Today, it was pretty much the same thing. She started screaming hysterically when I left, cried herself to sleep again, and when I arrived all the kids were sitting at the table eating a snack, and she was alone by the back door looking like she was about to cry. She didn't brighten up or anything when she saw me.
Everyone keeps telling me that she just needs to get used to daycare and that it's all completely normal, but this just doesn't seem right at all. She's generally very, very easygoing, adaptable, and happy, and her being this unhappy is not like her at all.
I don't really have any options for childcare right now, so my only courses of action right now are to 1) drop out of school, 2) drop the class I have during her naptime so I could go to nurse her to sleep and see if that improves her happiness there, or 3) ask for her to be transferred to another class/teacher. Her teacher is nice but seems a bit strict.
Anyway...I'm just having a really hard time with this and looking for some guidance from someone who's BTDT...

*Update #7
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#2 of 14 Old 08-31-2007, 08:48 AM
 
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Leaving your baby is so hard!

First of all, as painful as it is, I'd say that it's worse to go in while she's there (for nursing, whatever), than it would be if you dropped her off and then picked her up and didn't see her at all in between. Also, I'm not trying to discount your daughter's experience at all, but I do know that when I (not DH, mind you) drop my DD off at daycare, she is often crying when I leave, and she gets a snuggle from her DCP and they tell me that she calms down very quickly after I'm gone. She also went through a phase where she'd be playing when I came in, and then the minute she saw me, she'd burst into tears--she went through this phase at about 21 months or so.

What concerns me about your story is how she's off by herself when the other kids are sitting at the table. If this was happening at my DD's daycare, I'm pretty sure that one of the DCP's would be gathering her up for snuggle on her lap if she didn't want to join the table with the other kids. A couple of questions:

* Is she in a mixed-age classroom? What are the ages?
* What's the teacher/child ratio?

Daycare is an adjustment, and if you started last week, your DD has only been there a couple of times. Before dropping your class, though, IMO, you should see where you can get by talking to the teacher about your concerns and then, if she's unresponsive, switching to another class.

Good luck, mama!

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#3 of 14 Old 08-31-2007, 11:47 AM
 
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I would give it a month. I know that seems like a really long time, but it took my DD at least three weeks to get thoroughly adjusted.

I know it's hard, but just keep making sure your DCP is responding to her needs. I found that with a few weeks of hugs and a lot of individual attention DD was able to calm down and get into a nice groove.

Also, I agree with the PP. My DD would cry and fuss whenever I came to pick her up, even if she had previously been happy before I arrived. Same with another friend. I think that is pretty normal.

Now when I pick her up she is happy and playful and stays that way. I think they just go through phases.

s

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#4 of 14 Old 08-31-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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is there a window that you can look through when they aren't expecting you to be there so you can see what's going on?

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#5 of 14 Old 08-31-2007, 12:51 PM
 
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How concerned is the provider about her adjustment? Is she blowing it off or acting like it's normal? If so, I would be concerned. But if she's actively trying to help ease the adjustment, then there's hope. Like a pp said, give it a month. My dd had a tough adjustment to full-time daycare, but her provider was VERY concerned about trying to do anything and everything that either of us thought of to help her through it. And that's the only thing that kept me going. Now I can happily report that my dd came through those first 3 weeks with flying colors, and just loves her provider and all the other kids. She laughs, she sings, she eats, she naps, she plays. Don't get me wrong, she still pouts or even cries a little bit when I drop her off sometimes. But when she has a hard time with that one day, the next day we'll show up and her provider is ready with the bubbles or some other favorite toy or music to immediately lure her in.
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#6 of 14 Old 08-31-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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Several thoughts:

1. Bring up the fact that she was sitting alone, by the door, looking sad when you arrived. Ask the teachers what they're doing to help her feel better.

2. Give it a month. I know that seems like a long time - but it's hard. I would also see if it's better if you don't go in at naptime. She's used to being nursed to sleep and it takes time to adjust. But she's 23 months. She's not an infant. If the dcp is sitting there with her and comforting her, she'll learn that she can get through difficult times, with some help.

3. I know it sounds backwards - but anyway to get a MWF schedule instead? Bring her 3 days a week? T/Th is a REALLY hard schedule on a little one. They're home for 4 days (F-S-S-M), there for a day, home for a day, there for a day, gone for 5 days. MWF has fewer breaks and so the kids adjust faster. You don't have the readjustment every single Tuesday!

4. Arrive EARLIER than you need to , before the 'rush' of kids. (At our daycare center, everyone seems to arrive at 9am - getting there at 8:45 is a very different environment). If you're there before a lot of kids, the teaches will have more time with her one-on-one, and you won't be so harried to get out. Hand her off to a teacher.

It took our son 4+ weeks to adjust to daycare. He was 28 months when he started. He was sad. He cried a lot. The teachers comforted him. They helped him write letters to me telling me how he felt.

Also if she's just crying when you leave daycare, and not when you leave the house, then I'd worry less. Transitions are hard. Crying when you leave the house means she's REALLY having a hard time.

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#7 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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* Is she in a mixed-age classroom? What are the ages?

The children in the room are between 15 months and 24 months

* What's the teacher/child ratio?

There are 6-8 children, one teacher, and one aide

3. I know it sounds backwards - but anyway to get a MWF schedule instead?

Unfortunately, no.


Well...today was her 4th day(she only goes T/Th) and it's not going well. I usually just spend a few minutes with her when I drop her off, but today I spent about an hour and a half with her first, to see if that helped any. She mostly just wanted to nurse and look around. When I left, she became hysterical as usual(her teacher consoled her), and I went to the bathroom and then went back to spy on her. She was no longer crying, but was alone in the corner of the yard. I watched her for about 20 minutes, and she cried for a minute a couple times, and just stood there alone the whole time.
When I went to get her in the afternoon, the other kids were eating their snack at the table and she was alone off to the side, looking like she was about to cry, as usual. I went over to hug her and nurse her, and the teacher came over to talk. She said that my daughter had had a rough day--implied that she was basically unhappy all day. She then said that there were a few problems she needed to talk about. First, she said, she noticed that I was nursing her a lot in the morning, and she thinks that this is related to the fact that my daughter has a habit of wanting to get up during meals to do something and then go back to the table. She thinks that I'm confusing her by nursing her on and off and causing her to not be able to sit still for her lunch. And next, she wants me to cover up while I'm nursing her there, in the presence of males, as there was a dad there and she "wasn't sure how he felt." I mentioned that she doesn't really put up with being covered up, and the teacher said then I can find somewhere to go to nurse. She also mentioned that staying so long this morning didn't help, and each time I have asked how long my daughter cried when going to sleep, she has dodged around the question.
After we left the room, I went to speak with the director about changing rooms because my daughter is so miserable. She basically said that I should wait a month to see how it goes, and that it wasn't an option to transfer to another room. She asked if my daughter had seen me when I was spying(I assured her that she hadn't), and she mentioned that my daughter's teacher had griped to her, "Is she still out there?"(about me). She then asked if I had thought of weaning, and again asserted that most children this age are no longer nursing, and suggested that nursing her may be preventing her from being able to form an attachment to her teacher and the other kids.
So, with all of this antagonism toward me, I feel totally uncomfortable with this place and I'm going to try to figure out another childcare situation. The only other childcare option at this point is a friend/former roommate of ours who has a daughter the same age, who I think would be willing to watch my daughter. She's pretty AP and my daughter loves her, but the only things that bother me are her discipline methods...she's not very mindful of how she disciplines, and yells, gets impatient, and threatens timeouts sometimes. She also, understandably, favors her daughter a bit more than I'm comfortable with. But I feel like anything would really be better than what we've got now, and I know her well enought to discuss the discipline stuff with her.
Anyway...I was wanting to wait it out, but this daycare center just does not feel right.
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#8 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 08:31 AM
 
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No, that daycare doesn't feel right at all. I hope you are able to get out of there. Perhaps you could use your friend temporarily and place an ad for a babysitter that is more AP?

My advice is to talk to EVERYONE about what you are looking for--sometimes solutions come from the most random places/people.

Good luck and hugs to you as I am sure this is so hard for you, as well as DD.
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#9 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 08:43 AM
 
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First off, hugs to you becasue I know firsthand how difficult it is...Secondly, my dd reacted badly to day care at first if I stayed too long - her teacher told me that if a parent either drops off the kiddo too quickly "OkKierahaveanicetimemama'sgottago'bye" and runs out the door or stays too long the child senses the hsitation and is more apt to be upset. Your dc will probably be uncomfortable no matter what type of setting she is in to be honest - it simply takes time. I am not advising you to leave your dc in a place you do not want to; just letting yo uknow. nd I agree with the pp suggestion to ask EVERYONE about day care. I had an awful time finding one and I asked everyone from the checkout people at my local grocery store to my Mom's students - that is who found my current day care - my Mom's student. As far as weaning and bf - I nursed my toddler at day care too but I did use a nursing room that they had for the infants. And fwiw I do not often cover up or "hide" when I am nursing but since they asked me to I did it since there are all sorts of students who came in and out...HTh and sorry it is rambly. I hope you find a solution soon, Mama. Oh! And I had my dd#1 in day care two days at first and I actually added a few hours on a third day since they told me that three days really did make a difference to the child - I was skeptical but it worked and I got a chance to get some studying done with the xtra time she was there...
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#10 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 03:05 PM
 
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3. I know it sounds backwards - but anyway to get a MWF schedule instead? Bring her 3 days a week? T/Th is a REALLY hard schedule on a little one. They're home for 4 days (F-S-S-M), there for a day, home for a day, there for a day, gone for 5 days. MWF has fewer breaks and so the kids adjust faster. You don't have the readjustment every single Tuesday!

I've found this to be true!! My ds had a tough time initially in daycare because he started out 2-3 days a week while I worked very part time. It was tough because each week it was like starting new all over again.

Maybe you could take her in part time mornings for the other three days you don't have class, just for a couple of weeks to get her settled?

Ds is back in daycare after having dh home (he's a teacher) for the summer. This week he's in daycare for 1/2 days every day (working up to a full day on Friday), even though eventually he'll be there 3 days a week.

Good luck! It is tough to see them so upset.

Oh I just saw your recent post--It doesn't sound like they are being very supportive to you or your ds. I would look for another situation.
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#11 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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s What a tough situation! I don't like that the teacher seems to be blaming you for your child's adjustment. Even when my daughter had a hard time at first (age 14 months), the teachers were completely understanding about my wanting to stay and observe and call to check in frequently. Also, it's totally normal for a 23 month old to want to get up and move around while eating. I mean, they can gently teach them to wait, but it sounds like this teacher is pretty inflexible. So I would go with your friend, at least until you can find a center that you like better. I would also get on the waiting lists at other places reputed to be good--that way, if a slot opens up, you can assess whether you'd like to place her there, and you'll just feel that you have more options down the line.
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#12 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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That daycare doesn't sound good at all. I wouldn't feel comfortable staying with a dcp that was so inflexible and antagonistic, either.

I would try out your friend and keep looking. There are great dcp's out there & this doesn't sound like it's one of them.
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#13 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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Where in CA are you? Is this your college's Child Developement Lab, or just a daycare? They don't seen to know child developement very well is why I'm asking.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#14 of 14 Old 09-05-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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s It sounds to me like all your Mama instincts are saying "This isn't right!" TRUST YOURSELF. Your posts show that your Dd is under a lot of stress in that situation and that the teacher isn't dealing well with your Dd (i.e. with kindness and understanding). Please do NOT wean or restrict nursing right now since it sounds like she needs all the comfort she can get. The other adults need to adjust, not your Dd. I'm not trying to make you feel bad, honestly, I just want to back-up your instinct that something is wrong here.

Honestly, if I were in your position, I would either find a different DCP (use your friend as a temporary solution perhaps), or take a semester+ leave. I can't tell from your post how crucial it is for you to stick it out. I might also look for someone/a student to watch Dd just during class time nearby on campus to reduce the time you're away.
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