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I have a Mum whose child started at the beginning of September and she settled her in the usual way of staying for a while and slowly leaving earlier and earlier over 2 weeks. Her daughter is very happy and has settled in really well. She's very sociable, never cried, enjoys lots of activities, sits well for stories etc etc.

The little girl is just over 2 and also has a childminder that she goes to on the 2 other days she is not with us. She has been at the childminder for about a year. Her Mum doesn't work so has her the other day in the week when she's not with us or the childminder.

Her Mum came in this week and said that her daughter wasn't eating properly or sleeping well and that it was because she hadn't settled in with us. Over the past 6 weeks we have seen no signs of distress, anxiouness, worry, no tears or anything. Not even asked for her Mum. She leaves the setting very happy and tells her Mum she has had a good day!

Her Mum insists she isn't happy deep down and has decided she needs to stay with her for the whole session for as many weeks as she feels necessary.

I explained our settling in policy and how we have done it over the past 20 years with 100% success but she would not listen to anything we said! She stayed for the session and demanded a member of staff was a 1-1 to her daughter the whole time. If she was left to play alone or with friends she came up to us and said 'you need to be with my child'. The girl barely paid any attention to her Mum whilst she was there!

It's very difficult for us as you'll understand as we can't 1-1 a child as of ratios and i'm having to pay extra staff this week to cover the sessions she will be in because of it!

Does anyone have any advice as she will not adhere to our policy or our professional opinion. The girl was settled and now it's starting all over again for the reasons of her not eating and sleeping which we understand but can not see the connection to her behaviour (very happy) with us!?

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My first thought was to wonder what has happened for the mum during the period between her daughter settling with you and now? Perhaps she is suffering separation anxiety herself and just needs reassurance that her daughter is happy with you. Whatever has happened to cause her sudden loss of confidence, knowing that your settling process has always worked for other families won't be any reassurance to her - she will just know that she is very unhappy and anxious about her daughter. Perhaps you need to dig a bit deep and find out what is at the root of this unhappiness - especially as you say there is no evidence of this in the setting. It may be that there are issues within the family that are completely unconnected with her daughter's attendance at your setting, but would account for the child's eating and sleeping problems.


Ultimately if the parent feels your policies and procedures are not suited to her child's needs and you are unable to accommodate her by providing a 1:1 supporter (which as you say is not in the child's best interests), then she may decide to withdraw her daughter. Sad, but this is what parental choice is all about.


Good luck - let us know how you get on.



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Ooooooo Parents coundn't eat a whole one!!!!!

What do they really expect???? had a similar one this morning I ended up getting a very diplomatic staff member to take over as it was making me cross, this mum expects the same staff member every day to take her child (Who is really Settled) but she attends on days the staff member doesn't work and only does cover. At the moment the staff member is not working due to family issues and thats not good enough!!! xD


Stick to your policy and procedures if you are doing the right thing they always have the choice to go elsewhere ( I know that doesn't help but sometimes its for the best)


Good luck :o

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Hi lawchaz

We have a little boy who started with us in September and his mum is still staying with him. Our settling in policy states that we "make clear to families from the outset that they will be supported in our pre-school for as long as it takes to settle their child." We stress that they must do what they feel is best for their child. As there is anxiety on both parts and we feel that mum needs as much support as the child we are letting her stay this half term and then after the holiday suggesting she leaves him for 10 minutes, 20 minutes etc. I know this is probably a different situation to yours as you seem to have just the mum who is anxious and the child has been settled. But we feel that we are there to support the families as well as the children and sometimes this may not always be clear cut. Have a chat with mum-there may be an underlying problem that is nothing to do with her daughter but something that is happening with herself.

You may never find out what is happening but at least you will have tried. And I know you will have explained eveything to her about ratios but you need to stress this to her so that she understands that you have to spend time with all of the children.

Good luck.


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I think you really need to try and open a dialogue with ths mum.


Why is the child in pre-school? Is it because mum is under some sort of pressure to send the child but is not quite comfortable with the idea? Obviously there is an issue which is causing her concern and if she feels uncomfortable with the child being in pre-school it probably makes perfect sense to her that the two issues are linked. We all feel that we know our own children best and no amount of telling her that the child is happy with you is going to convince her. She clearly needs to see it for herself.


I know the child is not showing any outward signs of distress with you but have you done everything in your power to double check that you are right in your judgement? Some observations of her behaviour with and without mum could be a good way to make sure you have a complete picture and reassure mum. Just because a policy is 20 years old doesn't automatically mean it is right.


I would be inclined to find a way to work alongside this mum to address her worries even if it means allowing her to be there for a while.


Clearly you cannot give her child one to one for the whole session and she will have to decide whether that is acceptable to her. If not perhaps she should come back when her daughter is a little older. Maybe your role is to help her see this.


Have you had any contact with the childminder? She may have worked with this family for a good while and know them well. Maybe she could shed some light on the situation for you or recommend some strategies.

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Great advice so far :o .

Can you organise the creation of a spectacular settling in book for this child? Including more than the usual number of photos you might include for other children, words of songs she joins in with at your setting, pictures, observations of "X played with Y today, and they made a den together, bringing in dolls and teddies to share their picnic" etc etc. ....just to show Mum that her child really is having a good time. I don't know what your policy is regarding videos, but you might be able to video sections of her morning, for further proof.

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