Tag: advice

Our Play-school Saga or What to do when your little one refuses to go to nursery

Little T started going to play-group when she was two.  She went every Wednesday, it was mostly my husband who took her when he could, which gave me a free morning off.  That’s where she met F, her best-friend.

There’s little F and little T at the play-group, they were both two years old when the above photo was taken.  Then when they turned three, most of the kids in that play-group (including little F) started going three times a week to play school.  We held back a bit and just wanted her to stay with us.  I for one felt she was too  young.

But when she turned three last year, we though it was time.  We prepared her by talking about it and letting her choose her own lunch-box.  She seemed really excited about it too.

There she is on her “first day” at play-school.  Things went well for a couple of weeks.  At one point, she would even wave me away.  So I thought – Okay, that’s done then.  It wasn’t so bad was it?  I spoke too soon.

Then it happened.  She had a bad day and wouldn’t stop crying.  The play-school phoned us and we had to pick her up.  I knew she was tired, because she didn’t have a good night’s sleep and should’ve just let her stay at home.  Since that day, she would absolutely refuse to go and wouldn’t let me leave her behind.

So we stopped going.  I know some parents might not approve of my decision.  Some may think I should’ve just let her be and cry it off and she’ll eventually stop crying.  I know I could’ve done that.  But the thing is, I know my daughter.  Had I done that, it would’ve totally put her off play-school.  I didn’t want it to be traumatic for her.  I didn’t want her to think that play-school was a place where she cried her head off.  I wanted her to think of play-school as a fun place where she played with her best-friend and made friends with other kids.

So we bided our time.  I knew my husband didn’t agree with me, but he also knew his daughter.  He knew that little T is stubborn and will make up her own mind.  So months came by and Christmas came and went and she stayed home with us.  She wasn’t really bored though, she still went to her rugby class and then she also started her swimming lessons.

In the meantime, we waited for her and let her decide whether she wanted to go to play-school or not. We however, talked about it A LOT.  We didn’t nag her though.  We just talked about how fun play-school is, about making friends and doing lots of fun stuff.

Until one day, she decided she wanted to go but had her condition:  She wanted me to stay with her “forever.”  My husband and I have actually been talking about my “volunteering” at her play-school.  It also happens that F’s dad is the chairman of the committee of the nursery and he mentioned that the staff welcomes  volunteers from parents or anyone for that matter.

So that’s what I did.  I went with little T to play-school for about a month.  Wiped snotty noses, played with the kids, read to them, helped them put their helmets on.  She was a bit clingy the first day, but as the days went on, she didn’t even want to go home.

I was talking to the supervisor one day and we were discussing the way forward with little T.  It was a Friday and I was thinking maybe it would be good to start leaving her behind for a couple of hours next week and see how it goes from there. I remember it was just after lunch and it was almost time for us to leave.  So I told her we were going in awhile and she didn’t want to go.  I told the supervisor about this, and she said, why not try it now?  Tell her you’ll be back for her later.  So I grabbed the chance and asked T if she’d like me to come back later to pick her up instead?  To my surprise, without any hesitation she said “Okay, mummy!  Bye, see you later!”  I left as fast as I could!  But called them up when I got home, just to see if she was okay.  She was very much okay.

And now she absolutely loves play-school!  She nags me in the morning and even wants to go at 7am!  We have to constantly remind her that it isn’t open yet.  She goes every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If she had her way, she’d go everyday!

Before this, we were even worried about her starting reception school.  All her friends are ready to go by September.  Here in the UK, parents have a choice whether to send their kids to “proper” school when they turn four years old or five.  We thought at the rate little T was going, she’d go when she was five.  Actually if my husband had his way, he doesn’t want her to go so soon.  He said, once they start school – they’re gone!  But as always, we will let little T decide whether she wants to go or not.  I have a feeling though that she will decide to go this year.

I have mixed feeling with that.  I’m happy and excited that she wants to have fun, be with friends and learn new things at the same time, I’m a bit sad that she’s not constantly with us and I terribly miss her.  Most days it feels like I’ve actually lost an arm and I’m not so sure what to do with myself.  But like little T, I’m also learning how to fill my hours without her!  In fact, I’ve just finished a book. It used to take me months to finish one, now it only takes me a few days!  Whoopie-blood-doo-dah!

On hindsight, I don’t think I’d do things differently.  So if someone would ask me advice on what to do if their little one also refuses to go to play-school or nursery, I’d say:

1.  Don’t force them.

2.  Talk things over with them, but don’t nag or scold them about not wanting to go.  Remember, they should associate play-school with fun and not tears!

3.  Talk to the play-school staff and see if you could volunteer, just till your little one gains their confidence  back.  And they will, however, don’t be impatient and expect them to love play-school after a few days of going.  It takes time.

The good thing about volunteering too, is that you’ll also get to know the staff better and the children too.  I love it whenever I take little T to school and the kids would greet me with lovely little smiles and when I pick her up, they show me whatever art work they’ve been working on.

4.  Lastly, trust your child and yourself.  You know your child more than anyone else. Don’t compare them with other kids.  Children are different, just because your neighbour’s kids seem to have it easy, won’t mean that it will be the same for your child.  People mean well when they give advice, but at the end of the day, only you know what’s best for them.

Perhaps, one important thing to remember is that our little ones won’t stay little.  Soon they’ll be flying through the door and might not even want to be with us.  They’ll want to be with their friends.  They’ll want to learn new things and explore the world … without us!  So don’t be in a hurry and too worried that they don’t want to go just yet.

Have you experienced something like this with your little one?

How did you deal with it?  Please share.

This post is linked-up with PODcast’s #WhatsTheStory

Addendum:

I know that things may be different and difficult for single mums and working parents as well, where they don’t have much choice about leaving their kids behind.  Already there is much guilt/stigma about leaving children at such a young age, even when they’re upset and absolutely refuse to be left behind.  It’s difficult isn’t it?  I can only imagine the stress these families are going-through or have been through.  Like I mentioned though, whatever situation we are in, at the end of the day we should be governed by our own instincts as parents and not the opinions of others.

Also linked with:

3 Children and It

October Chat with a Mom: Melissa of Motherhood is An Art

Melissa the lovely mother behind the blog Motherhood is an Art is one of my favourite bloggers.  I love the way she writes her posts and tells a story and she is indeed, a very good story-teller.  She does not only write about motherhood, but she also writes about family history.

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

My name is Melissa. I am a stay at home mom in Wisconsin (United States). I have an 8 year old daughter, 6 year old son and 3 year old son.

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It’s so hard to get a good picture with this many kids!

What was your child’s birth stories like?

My daughter came 3 weeks early when my water broke in the middle of the night (I woke up and thought I peed the bed), my middle son was induced a week early because I was so uncomfortable and my youngest was determined breech a week before my due date so they had to manually turn him around by maneuvering him through my stomach. I ended up being induced with him a week after my scheduled due date. All of the births went well with only a slight problem with my youngest. Due to his extremely large head I was having a very hard time delivering him so they attached a vacuum to his head to pull him out. As they were pulling there was a loud pop and blood sprayed everywhere. Everyone had a shocked look on their face so of course I thought they tore my baby’s head off. Thankfully the vacuum had just slipped off.

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

I am by nature a planner and somewhat of a control freak. When it comes to raising children most plans go out the window and there is not much you can control. You have to be ready to go with the flow!

How do manage your “me-time”?

Ummmm….I don’t! It was much easier to do with one child but now with 3 kids my “me time” is pretty much non-existent (unless you count all the time I spend in the kitchen cooking and cleaning by myself)!!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little ones?

I have so many favourites but two of them revolve around tooth brushes. My middle son went through a phase where he ate ketchup on everything. One day he even asked if he could start brushing his teeth with ketchup instead of toothpaste.

I once bought some extra tooth brushes to have on hand. My daughter asked why I did that and I told her in case someone was to get sick or drop their toothbrush in the toilet. She nodded her head and said, “Yeah, that’s happened to me before. I dropped my toothbrush in the toilet. Don’t worry though, I rinsed it off.”

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Bency brushing his teeth and Iris using her toothbrush after it probably just fell in the toilet!

What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love about?

I love creating art with my kids and watching them blossom!

If there is anything about Motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

It never stops! It doesn’t give you a break! You have to be on the alert at all times because you never know what these kids are going to throw your way!

What’s a typical day like for you and your Little Ones?

I try to wake up before everyone else so I can have a few cups of coffee, browse the internet or watch the news. Next the chaos sets in with getting everyone ready for the day. Once the older kids are off to school I start my cleaning while the youngest plays toys. By mid-morning we are off to run errands or go to story hour at the library. After lunch we read books and watch some television. When the older kids get home from school the chaos starts up again and we are in constant motion with homework, dinner, baths and bedtime. By the end of all that I am usually exhausted and flop down on the couch!

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

Every time I have ever complained to my Mom about a certain phase one of the children is going through she always says, “These may seem like major frustrations (picky eaters, refusal to potty train, etc.) but trust me the frustrations only get more major as they age.”

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Cesar, Bency and Iris.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming a mother, what would it be?

Always go with your gut instinct. You know those children better than anyone else in the world. You know exactly what is best for them so don’t be afraid to speak up.

How do you manage your time between work/blogging and your little ones?

Once again….I don’t! I did really well for a year by blogging in the early morning and then having the rest of the day to get stuff done around the house and spend time with the kids. Lately I just haven’t had enough energy to keep up with it all. Hopefully, I’ll find my groove again soon!

Thank you so much Melissa!

Do connect with her on Facebook too.

•Edit:  Sadly, Melissa does not blog anymore.  Hopefully, she’ll take up blogging again in the future.