Am I wrong to yank my toddler from PT daycare? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
sloanv's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Colorado
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi there,

My 27 month old ds was a happy little guy, til this fall. When the 5 yr old girl at his sitter went to first grade, we decided to try a daycare 2 days/wk so that ds could have other kids to play with. He had been going to this sitter about 3 times per week for about 5 hours at a time.

Several other changes seemed to coincide with this, including potty training, shift from family bed to his own bed (tho mum spent lots of time there), my working more (3 days/wk in October), and being apart for a night when I couldn't make it home in a blizzard. Also - the other kids in ds's class (2 adults with 9 kids) were all younger, mostly in age and definitely developmentally, so it was kind of boring compared to playing with a fun 5 year old like last year.

DS started to say that he didn't want to go to "kika's house" (what he called the daycare) more and more frequently, got more upset about actually going there to the point of screaming and crying, and became grumpier all the time. After several agonizing days when the drop-off felt like torture for both of us, I decided to listen to him, and to stop taking him there.

He is fine and happy when with me, or even better, with DH. But ds is terrified of being left somewhere (maybe for fear of having long, boring (?) days apart from me again). We visited one school that seemed much more appealing and fun to me but maybe too old for him, and he was very clingy and asking to leave.

So I have decided to stay home more right now, and try the old sitter again - even though her dd is at school til 3 pm. Maybe I will start with 2-3 hours and see how it goes. I fear his rejecting it again, and the feeling of hopelessness and of being stuck. I know if I *had* to work fulltime, there would be no choice about it, but I just need to work part time, so it feels complicated.

The feedback I keep getting from people, though, is that this is age-appropriate separation anxiety and manipulation by my two-year old. Web sites counselling parents on this issue say that this is just separation anxiety that needs to be worked through by sticking to it.

Doesn't anybody think that it is right to listen to the child?

I'm baffled at the general attitude. I am sure that ds picked up on my unhappiness at his distress and working it, but I feel like he was letting us know in no uncertain terms (i.e. words!) that he was unhappy and wanted things to change. It may have had more to do with wanting to stay more connected to me and disliking my working that much than with disliking the care he was getting (I think it was both), but they are real concerns by a little guy, right? It seemed like he was unhappy.

My plan is to try taking ds to his old sitter - even without her daughter being there - and I know ds is going to resist. We had a negative reaction from him this week visiting a cool preschool/daycare that I thought would be great. It makes me think that he still needs more individualized care and attention. I am afraid of getting the same reaction from ds. But I do need at least a few mornings a week to maintain my job.

Any comments on the issue, or ideas?

Thanks!

Val
sloanv is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 01:24 AM
 
oceanbaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 11,167
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it is absolutely right to listen to a child. My ds is only 18 months old, so I can't say for sure, but I would agree that this is age appropriate separation anxiety, but not manipulation. Maybe something happened in the daycare that scared him, maybe it's just his age (more likely), or maybe he just doesn't want to go anymore for some reason that he doesn't even understand. If you have the flexibility, I say listen to him. I don't think that kids at that age need to be around other kids necessarily. Ds enjoys other kids, but certainly doesn't seem to miss them when he's just with adults for a long time.

It sounds like the best solution is the old sitter for as little hours as possible. That way at least he is in a familiar environment. Maybe he needs to be sleeping with you again for a little while?

I think it is great that you are listening to him and working to find a solution that works for both of you. I am not a big fan of the "kids as manipulators" theory. Not that I think it is impossible for a kid to be manipulative, but at this age I would rather err on the side of caution, and listen to them. It sounds like your instincts are telling you that there is a real reason that he doesn't want to be away from you or dh, whether or not you'll ever know what that is, so I think it is appropriate to respect that.
oceanbaby is offline  
#3 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 01:57 AM
 
brookelynnp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 137
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It sounds to me like you are listening to your intuition as well as the signs your ds is giving you. Maybe you can go with him to several different daycares and see which one you both feel most comferatable with and then start to leave him little by little. It sounds really tough. So far I have only left my ds also 27 mo. with daycare for about an hour at a time to do yoga and he is okay with it. I have heard of others picking their children up from daycare and then spending complete focused time on just them for an hour or more and this seems to help with the anxiety. good luck.
brookelynnp is offline  
#4 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 02:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
sloanv's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Colorado
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I just logged back on to write a postscript saying that we just resumed family bed a few nights ago (which feels good), and that potty training has stabilized at doing #2 in the potty but using diapers otherwise. I'm also trying to spend more time playing with and doing things with ds just to reassure him that he can trust me to be there. And it's proving to be rewarding for me too!

Thanks you two for your quick feedback and warm support. It is a nice reminder that maybe he doesn't need to be around other kids yet. The situation last year was great and my old sitter will probably move away in a few months, so maybe looking for another sitter with one or two kids is in the cards.

It is also nice to hear that others are not big on the 'kids as manipulators" theory....and I like the idea of spending focused time with ds right after picking him up. Thanks.

It feels great to get positive feedback and thoughts on what to do. thanks. I would appreciate anyone else's thoughts too.

Val
sloanv is offline  
#5 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 07:30 AM
 
nikirj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Washington
Posts: 4,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think that not listening to your child would have been the wrong thing to do.

Children are not 'manipulative' any more than adults are. We want our way and unless we see a reason not to get it, we expect to get our way. Why do we expect our children to accept whatever we force upon them? Why are they seen as manipulative when they are simply trying to change their situation (something which, at this age, inevitably involves you)? I just don't get the whole children-as-manipulators thing. Of COURSE they want what they want! Of COURSE they will try to get it! Jeez people, that is part of being a living, breathing individual.

Anyhow...

I think that you are 100% right not to put your child back in that same daycare. It has been traumatic enough as it was, it would be really tough on him to go back to it. I am certain he would do MUCH better at his familiar, old sitter's place. If you want to try out the whole daycare thing again, obviously at a different daycare, you can probably do it in the future without risking him really crashing-and-burning like he did this time. But it is totally 100% right to back off when he isn't taking to the change well. It is a wonderful thing to listen to your kids; it releives them (and you) of all kinds of "issues" that are so common to mainstream school-aged children.

Best of luck to you!

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

nikirj is offline  
#6 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 01:41 PM
 
LiamnEmma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 2,103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think you've already gotten great advice, and I came (back) to just attest to pulling children out when your intuition tells you to do so. My ds has been in four situations since he began, one for only three days when I first took him back to daycare. We *have* had periods of sadness here and there in the various spots. For example, when he was an infant, his regular provider had to be gone for about a week and he cried when he first arrived every morning because he wanted her. Or, both children are pulled out every summer for about two months while I'm on vacation (and any other day off work I have), and we sometimes have sadness and crying for a few days when they return. But it's always short-lived and short in duration at the time of the crying except for the place they were just pulled out of in September. DS was fine there, very happy, but DD was crying incessantly, something she hadn't done previously (new room with new staff). Initially I chalked it up to new environment and a summer at home with mom and dad, but after a few days it was clear that they were also neglecting her, and staff members outside of that room came to tell me that she was being ignored by her "teachers". So we hired one of the staff members to be our nanny and pulled them both out. Anyhoo, if you feel that urge, run run run out of there with ds tightly in hand! Trust your intincts. I'm not someone who thinks crying is about manipulation in most cases, I think it's usually about distress. And you can tell which one it is because you're the mom.
LiamnEmma is offline  
#7 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 03:14 PM
 
indiegirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The land of Nod
Posts: 2,952
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think if you have the flexibility to listen to him, then go for it. It would really suck if you had no choice in the matter (ie you had to work full-time).

Violet was in a daycare situation that she hated and she kept biting the other kids and being cool toward her provider. Once we pulled her, the behavior stopped and she was much happier. She is back in daycare after a five-month break and doing very well. I wish I could stay home but alas....

Anyway, its always best to go with your gut if you can.
indiegirl is offline  
#8 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 05:34 PM
 
mammastar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree with what's been said so far! Just a couple of points:

- Now that your old sitter would just be looking after one child (yours), if you want to ensure he has other kids to play with, could you ask if she would be able to take him to a playgroup, drop-in kindergym, etc? Maybe not everytime he's there, since it is just parttime, but it could help him learn to socialize with more than one kid at a time while away from you.

- You mentioned that your old sitter will be moving in a few months. Maybe your ds will be totally cool with whatever care you arrange at that time, and timing and/or choice of care this time was just 'off.' But in the meantime, I would definitely continue to look for places for after, taking advantage of the lead time. I wouldn't keep taking him with you to visit them for a while, in case he gets anxious each time that you're going to leave him in a new place. But if you figure out where you'd like him to be, once it's closer to when the sitter will be moving, then I would take him to visit the new daycare. Perhaps see if his old sitter can come with you guys, or she could go with him on their own sometime to the daycare that will 'replace' her? Also, before he has to go there for the full # of hours he will need to be in care, I would try a week or two of him being there for gradually increasing amounts of time. For example, his old sitter or yourself spends an hour or two there with him, then next time he spends an hour on his own, then 2 hours, etc. That way, when his old sitter does move away, the transition won't be so shocking.

Good luck, and congratulations for listening to your little guy!
mammastar is offline  
#9 of 13 Old 12-01-2002, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
sloanv's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Colorado
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can't tell you how much your feedback and stories are helping me. Sometimes I think I am crazy, as almost everyone around me - barring a couple of friends - think differently. Sometimes I think I am from a different planet!

The encouragement (especially from a group that I respect) is very welcome to my whole being, and your stories help confirm my experience - that it can help a child to change the situation. And finally, your suggestions have gotten me thinking and feeling hopeful that I can find alternatives! For example, mamastar, I'm thinking of asking my sitter to take my son to a gymnastics class and to the swimming pool. My husband will balk at the extra money, but that is a different issue.

As you suggest, looking around in the meantime is a good idea. And perhaps another sitter with a child might be in order until ds is a little older and more interested in a different setting. Indiegirl, I was interested to hear that your Violet was ready after a 5 month break. Thanks Liamnemma for your story about times when sadness meant normal transition and times when it meant distress. It sounds like you are listening well to your little ones. Nikirj,oceanbaby, and broolynnp, thanks so much for your encouragement.

You all have truly helped me, thank you!
sloanv is offline  
#10 of 13 Old 12-02-2002, 11:26 AM
 
Robinmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
sloanv,

You are so lucky that your life is so flexible. I think it is wonderful that you have been able to respond to your son in the way that you have.

I just want to agree with all the mommies who posted about children as manipulators. It seems strange to suggest that the appropriate response to an activity that is stressing your child (separating) is to continue that activity. You know, there is another possible response to separation anxiety. To separate less.

I just wish it was more of an option in my own life. Sigh.

Respectfully,

Robin
Robinmama is offline  
#11 of 13 Old 12-03-2002, 01:44 PM
 
NaturalMamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Your DS is still a baby in so many ways. Love and need is not manipulation. *You* are the expert on your son. I think you know the answers to your questions. Follow your heart.
NaturalMamma is offline  
#12 of 13 Old 12-03-2002, 01:58 PM
 
Irishmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with heartmama
Posts: 45,457
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Is it possible for you to plan his hours at the old sitter to overlap when her dd comes home from school, so at least he sees her part of the time?
Irishmommy is offline  
#13 of 13 Old 12-03-2002, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
sloanv's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Colorado
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
More good thoughts and ideas from you.

You're right, naturalmama, he is still a baby in many ways...i've been thinking about that since you wrote that. It is only a few months ago that he was breast-feeding! And he still loves loves loves hugging and cuddling.

Thanks for the suggestion about overlapping time at the sitter with his friend, Irishmommy. It is also something I hadn't really considered seriously, but you're right, it would be fun for him. Good idea to consider.

Incidentally, everyone, I have to tell you that my little guy is definitely relaxing and happier. He has stopped saying "mummy, I don't want to go to kika's house" every day whenver we make a move to get dressed or to go out.

Robinmama, thanks for the encouragement. Have you been in the situation of having a child be unhappy in child care but not being able to slow down?

hugs

val
sloanv is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off