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settling in period....for parent !?


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we usually have the problem of parents 'dumping and running'......now we have the opposite end of the spectrum, we cant get mum to leave !!

 

we have discussed a settling in period with mum, she had agreed to stay for a little while, then leave. this week she came in and stayed for 1 hour, then waited in the lobby - which is fine, but she kept looking through the lobby window -and evey time she did this her little one saw her and cried for her, a member of staff got her a chair to sit on, and asked her to try to keep away from the window .

10 mins later ( whilst her child was happily playing -engaged in an activity with others, and hadnt cried for mum) she came back in, this resulted in her child going over to her, and playing with her ---no longer playing with any other children, mum was directing their play etc etc.

 

Snack time came.....mum kept saying " she doesnt normallly eat that, they wont eat that, they've never eaten that " etc, etc....resulting in the child not even attempting to try any of the snack ( fruit and crumpets ---hardly exotic !).

we then all got coats on to go outside - i asked her if she would like to stay inside for a little while so we could see how her child would be without her ( suggested she could wash up if she liked :D )...but no she wanted to come outside and she put her coat on.....then she put on her childs coat ( they were happily trying to put it on by themselves...as every child is encouraged to)

 

She hasnt brought her child in for the previous week -as they 'didnt want to come' , but before that, the child settled fine after about 10 mins -and we told her this -we also call to say they are fine etc.

 

Im thinking about sitting down with mum again and suggesting specific timelines - ie you stay for the first half hour...then leave, we call you you to let you know how your child is....you return half hour before hometime, then we reduce the length of time over the next few weeks. He only stays for a 3 hour sessions atm -but is booked for a full day.

 

this child is due to start school Sept 2013 , they are an only child and mum is a single parent...so i can see that mum is finding it hard to let go....

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I would be more inclined to sit down with the mum and ask her to write down with you a plan for a phased withdrawal which she feels comfortable with. You've acknowledged that she's finding this really hard so giving her control will probably make it easier for her.

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We had this a few years back and even by November mum still insisted her little boy 'needed' her (he didn't) we did all the things you mention above but when we started to get a little more persistent about her leaving him for longer (in the room next door, with coffee and magazines we bought especially for her!) she left and never came back, such a shame.

Sometimes parents just aren't ready to let go

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Hello

 

We have had a few parents like this in the past :/

 

Found the easiest way to deal with them is to ask them to stay, give them a task (we normally give cutting out ready for Christmas) and tell them they must not leave the table we sit them at. We also ask that they ask their child to leave them as they are busy.

 

Normally a couple of times cutting out gets boring and has given the parent enough of an insite to the setting.

 

They only do stay in the first place as they are unsure we will care for the child correctly, once they get used to how we work they feel more relaxed about leaving their child.

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this child is due to start school Sept 2013 , they are an only child and mum is a single parent...so i can see that mum is finding it hard to let go....

 

Just a thought but, does mum mix with the other mums, could she be lonely, being a single parent maybe she feels isolated and needs company!

Joanne

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Truth is she will not leave unless you get firm and outline how it is not helping the child. She will have to leave at some point! Come up with a strategy like she can stay for 15mins but must then leave (and properly leave not just lobby) and you will call her if she is needed (she needs to learn to trust you also) Perhaps arrange she can come back a bit earlier if she wants to. I would take photos and evidence how happy the child has been and all the activities they have done and show mum at the end of session to reassure her.

Could also suggest to mum that perhaps she could leave a coat or bag that child knows is mummys so they will have that link in the setting without having her actually with them.

We are hardline on this in our setting and all parents leave after a maximum of 15mins because we found it unsettles other children if some mums stay and others go - mixed messsages. If a child is clingy or upset then their keyworker will settle the child and that helps to form attachment and bond between keyworkers and their children. May sound a bit harsh but it is often the parents needing to be needed rather than the child having a seperation issue, sounds like your situation to a tee!

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i agree with hoolahoney, and am sure reception won't want her thinking she can do the same there too. we've had a few parents like this, and the longer it goes on the worse it can get. we have offered shortened sessions, with one child being left for 10 minutes only on his first day to reassure dad, then he was taken home. he had stayed for an hour at the start. then we very gradually built it up and he was full time by october half term and didn't ever become upset after this. we did reassure dad we would ring if he was really upset and that reassured him. and it is not on to think she can just come in and out when she wants, that's why we made dad take him home when he came back early. could you use health and safety as a reason? presuming she has not had a crb check?!!! good luck x

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Poor mom. I would and have let mom's stay for as long as they need to. I would let her stay but as suggested, give her jobs to do. Involve her in the day to day activities too, she needs to feel useful and needed now she can see her child not needing her.

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i agree with hoolahoney, and am sure reception won't want her thinking she can do the same there too.

 

I think there are now quite a few reception classes where parents are encouraged to stay while their child settles in.

 

I wouldn't feel comfortable treating a parent like a child and telling them what to do in this way. I try to build a partnership with parents where we work together to do what is best for the child. This requires that I acknowledge the parent's expertise in their child and that they are happy to leave the child. This doesn't mean I couldn't contribute my view which is built on experience of other children.

 

If someone is feeling anxious about a situation they need to feel that they have some control over the process. A parent will find it harder to learn to trust you if they feel that you can't wait to get them out of the door.

 

I don't think that having parents in the room during settling in sessions should cause problems for other children any more than a parent being a member of staff. Children's life experiences are limited and they tend to be accepting of situations which the adults around them accept.

 

I think what is needed here is a plan to move forward which is agreed between the adults and which helps this mum feel confident and comfortable that she is doing the right thing by her child. You need to ask the mum what would make her feel comfortable. She's more likely to listen to you and make an effort to put her own emotions to one side if she feels that you are listening to her.

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Some parents have a really tough time leaving their children and I too think it's important that this is treated sensitively. What will happen in a years time when a child leaves your setting and starts in Reception is irrelevant to how you treat the situation now. Please don't fall into the trap of thinking you are needing to 'prepare' them for what is to come in the future. Your job is to help children and parents develop now and in a way that is appropriate to their current situation. Also, don't try to second guess why it is they are having this difficulty - you can't begin to understand what may have led them along this path. Peoples emotions are very complicated and trying to take a tough line may well make things much worse.

 

One of the things I was quite insistent upon was that if a parent wanted to leave their child for a short period only it should be at the end of the session, so that the child started to pick up on the pattern of the end of the session (tidy up time, looking at books quietly by themselves, having a story and a couple of songs then home time for us). Those parents who found it difficult would be engaged in doing the washing up in the kitchen so that they were still around but not visible. Slowly over time they became more confident about perhaps leaving the building for a short time and eventually we could extend this so that eventually they were able to leave for the whole session. In some cases this took months and one mum spent an entire year coming each and every session. Slowly over time she started to allow herself to become engaged in other things and actually was a huge help to us. Our entire toy cupboard was cleaned and organised, a full inventory taken, all damaged toys either sorted for mending or thrown out, boxes labelled etc. All those little jobs that staff kept meaning to get done but never had the time for were done!

 

I can see that you worry that the parent is 'holding' the child back and this is a conversation you can have. Many parents for instance are so used to putting on their child's shoes and coats that they don't realise that it might be better to let the child try for themselves. These are often the sorts of things that parents need educating on and if done in a light hearted way I found parents soon began to look at these simple tasks in a different light.

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Perhaps go from a different angle? Could you sit down and ask how she's feeling, what's her well being like? What are her anxieties? Let her talk through how she feels and how you can move forward together. She could be feeling like she's being replaced or not needed anymore and that can be heart breaking and so difficult for some parents to get over. Giving her time to share and express her concerns may help to build up more trust and confidence and she may then listen to your advice x

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