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Settling In


bubblejack
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We have a child who has been attending with mum since Easter. Mum wants to stay because the child isn't toilet trained and also the child didn't settle elsewhere. The child wants his own way all of the time and runs crying to mum each time an issue arises. Today he insisted in running out to the lobby area. Mum makes no attempt to correct him at all so we have to tell him firmly no. His mum was horrified and said that was why he refused to attend the first setting. Apparantly he doesn't like getting told off!!.After many more different incidents one of my assistants retrieved him from the toilet area he cowered in the corner and said" Don't beat me up"She quite rightly relayed this comment to his mum who said "just as well I'm here or I might have believed him". Mum admitted she cannot cope with him.

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Obviously, I can only comment on what you say, bubble, but it does sound like a sticky one! And one we're probably all familiar with!

Personally, I'd try to get a quiet time to review the situation...perhaps how we go forwards etc. I would suggest that the toileting isn't a problem and that she really needed to leave him, at least for a short time, and build up slowly.

Of course, you know this, but I wondered if you wanted to put feelers out in case there were some amazing other ideas? If there are, I'm interested too, because this one can be a real pain!

 

Sue :D

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Hi

 

Certainly is a difficult one and sort of difficult to comment on without knowing the child or mum (if you know what I mean!)

 

I agree the toileting is not a problem but sorry maybe Mum is part of it :o

 

I may have misinterpreted your message but it sounds as though the poor chap is getting mixed messages whilst at the setting, Mum saying (by lack of intervention) that he can do what he likes and you and your staff quite rightly disagreeing with this. Running to Mum every time an issue arises makes things very difficult and though it may sound hard I feel Mum needs to understand how you work and support you more? ?

 

 

Of course all children vary when it comes to settling in but Easter was a good while ago and I would be a little concerned about Mum staying for the whole of every session for quite so long.

 

I wish I had a magic wand but can only really agree with the suggestion that it is perhaps time to discuss with Mum how you can work together and move forward. Even if she went outside for 5 mins it would be a start and as already said build it up gradually.

 

I wonder what Mums vision is, how does she think he will ever settle? We did have a mum who stayed with her child until 11:30 (morning finishes at 12) and then sat in the car for the last half hour. We worked over a few weeks and it became very evident that part of the problem was that whilst Mum wanted the child to experience pre-school she also did not really want to leave her child. Her comments such as 'I am going to be brave today and try to go at 11:15' illustrated how tough she was finding the whole process. It was a case of supporting Mum as much if not more, than the child. The child now comes and Mum stays for 10 mins and I think that will be the case for some time and indeed she may never be one of the mums who 'drops and goes'

 

Sorry probably not very helpful xD and please don't think any of my comments are criticism because that is not intended! :D

 

Good luck and let us know how it goes

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Oh wow, thats a difficult one. We had a mom like this a few years ago, didnt trust staff to do anything for her daughter,we couldnt do a fire drill without informing mom first! In the end she took her child out saying something had scared her. I've seen the deputy at the school raise her eyes to heaven with this same woman, so sometimes there is little you can do. I also stood with a different mom once while she actually stamped her feet when I told her her daughter was fine and settled, 'I want her to cry' was the response. God love 'em. :oxD

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With all the usual caveats about not knowing the whole situation, this is what I think:

 

I'd agree with Geraldine here: often Mum needs more support to separate than the child. There may be underlying reasons why she is having difficulties, but it seems clear from what you say (and obviously we don't know how she's feeling about things) that she is having real problems coping at the moment.

 

I would evaluate the situation and decide which issue to tackle first. The child's behaviour is causing concern, and he needs to know what the boundaries are in pre-school. Mum has to understand and 'sign up' to the behaviour management strategies you use in pre-school, and needs to see that you are prepared to work in partnership with her to help her child behave appropriately and follow the 'rules' of the setting.

 

Also, at some point Mum has to leave the child and allow him to settle and view pre-school as 'his' place where he comes to have fun without her. Again you need to agree a strategy to achieve this, and this will depend on the needs of the child and mum. It may be that she won't be able to go 'cold turkey' and leave him straight away, but you could set realistic, achievable targets so she can reduce the time she spends settling him at each session until she's able to leave him just like all the other children.

 

Oh, and I would be keeping a record of comments he makes like the one about being beaten up. There may be deeper problems affecting this family, and your observations may help to reveal a pattern or give some insights into what is going on - if anything!

 

It is important to keep an open mind about what may or not be happening in this family, and it sounds as if your team will need lots of ongoing support in order to help this family. I wish you luck in tackling this very difficult situation and hope you'll keep us posted.

 

Maz

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Thanks for your helpful comments. I know she is having problems with him at home.I have been discussing the problem with my deputy and she saw him "in action" in the shopping precinct. I think I will have to add a clause to my settling in policy stating that parents must re-inforce our behaviour management strategies. I can understand now why some groups in my area do not allow parents to stay after their first visit.

On a more positive note I gave her lots of ideas to think about at home with him and suggested that the health visitor may have other ideas.

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Sounds to me like you've been very supportive Bubblejack. I hope you'll be able to help Mum come to terms with the situation, and that this little chap will soon be happily settled in your group.

 

The problem with having a policy that parents can't stay after the first visit is that this doesn't really meet the needs of individual children and parents. I feel it is better to allow children to be settled in ways appropriate to their stage of development than to have an arbitrary 'cut off' point which may cause extra stress to child and family.

 

I guess groups are very different in their approaches, just as families are different in the way they like to settle their children. Some mums like to sneak off secretly, some make a huge fuss of saying goodbye, and some just like us to peel their child off them, knowing that they'll be fine as soon as mum goes through the front door and out of sight!

 

Keep us posted, won't you?

 

Maz

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I prefer parents to stay if their child is upset because I don't want an upset screaming child.I advise parents to help their child settle by sitting at the activities with them at the start and then over the weeks gradually sit at the side so the child can see them but not rely on them but us. Unfortunately this parent is not only totally oblivious to her son's unacceptable behaviour but implies that he will no longer want to attend if we correct him because this was the problem at his first setting. Thanks for your comments and I will point out that her negative attitude is confusing him. Actually the mum appears to be approachable and grateful for any advice but she seems unable to say no to him. She told me that she watches many childcare programs on the television and knows what she needs to do but just can't do it because the child has had a lot of upheaval over the past year. I guess the situation will sort itself, at least having his mum staying she will hopefully see his behaviour improve by us giving lots of praise to him for good behaviour. She will then be able to use these strategies herself.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Sounds to me like you've been very supportive Bubblejack.  I hope you'll be able to help Mum come to terms with the situation, and that this little chap will soon be happily settled in your group.

 

The problem with having a policy that parents can't stay after the first visit is that this doesn't really meet the needs of individual children and parents.  I feel it is better to allow children to be settled in ways appropriate to their stage of development than to have an arbitrary 'cut off' point which may cause extra stress to child and family.

 

I guess groups are very different in their approaches, just as families are different in the way they like to settle their children.  Some mums like to sneak off secretly, some make a huge fuss of saying goodbye, and some just like us to peel their child off them, knowing that they'll be fine as soon as mum goes through the front door and out of sight!

 

Keep us posted, won't you?

 

Maz

 

I am Trudy reading throughthe posting about settling in pattern.  The second paragraph of Maz's bothered me a bit i noticed tht I quote:

 

"The problem with having a policy that parents can't stay after the first visit is that this doesn't really meet the needs of individual children and parents.  I feel it is better to allow children to be settled in ways appropriate to their stage of development than to have an arbitrary 'cut off' point which may cause extra stress to child and family"

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Maz you are correct that is the best policy for settling in. My son was vry attached to me and i thought i would have problems for him settling in but the school nursery told me to stay with him tht gave my son confidence. Because on the second day the teacher told me go for shopping my son cried but I told him i will be back very soon i left but within half an hour I came back to collect him he was ok and was glad to see me i did that the whole week and he soon got used to my absence he is now 14 and goes to school on his own :D

 

I work for an after school setting and i always encourage parents to stay as long as they want i also encourage them to join in it is a great way of settling children into a setting.

 

Regards

 

Trudy :D:)

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As with so many things, there are no hard and fast rules. We welcome parents to stay as long as there's a need, but the difficulties sometimes start in distinguishing the parent's need from the child's. My view is that we want the child to leave a session in a happy frame of mind - the parents too, for that matter! I'll try any approach to aachieve that.

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His Mum wasn't well last week so his auntie brought him. He was a lot better but they didn't stay for all of the session. Today there was a message from his mum saying that he will not be coming back and thanking me for all my help and advice Hmmmmm.?????

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Dear Bubblejack

Yes a dilemma which now seems to have gone away - not too sure if it is in the child's interest though. However, one thing I learnt from reading all this is that I will now be revewiing my settling in policy to add that where possible it is in the best interests of the child if the parents stay they must try and reinforce the groups routines/behaviour policy - or something along those lines - I'll think of something later explaining why this is important for the child. So thanks for that.

Nikki

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What a shame. Wonder what she will do now. Unfortunately some parents don't want to have to face hard truths about their children and their behaviour but moving the child is not going to make the problem go away. However, it seems like it's no longer your problem. :o

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