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Should he stay or should he go?


lashes2508
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This term we have 8 new children , 2,3 and 4 yr olds . Last week we had the few expected tears and separation anxieties , parents stayed for a short time to help their children settle and staff have been supporting children and parents , all this we always do of course.

One little boy ( turned 2 Christmas Eve) arrived on first day , mum informed us that he had been awake since 3 am , took time to settle , very limited language and temper tantrums as well as little interest in any activities . Mum seemed reluctant to stay and support him and on subsequent days he became very distress ed and screamed for most of the session. We decided as a team that mum should be called to collect and I spoke with her regarding delaying his start to possibly half term and to bring him to toddler group would help with his transisition to preschool . She agreed and said dad had thought him too young. I explained with empathy that he was not gaining anything from the session and also asked when the opportunity allowed if mum was struggling . Her older child attended 3 yrs ago and a very different child but I explained all children are different . Mum herself worked in early years until recently.

Today she text a member of staff stating that her and dad had discussed it and felt he should come and see us Thursday!

 

Firstly not happy she failed to go through correct procedure , asked the staff member to reply by asking her to speak to me by calling preschool phone.

Secondly , feel and in agreement with team that we made the right decision

Thirdly discussed with 2 members of committee in confidence ( mentioned no names) regarding not wanting to renage on my/ our decision , they agreed and said as parents they would have taken the advice

We made the decision in the best interests of the child obviously there are knock on effects for other children and staff and obviously concerned for mum but just left me doubting myself a little.

 

Personally love a challenge but just feel that this time it is not beneficial to all especially the little man .

Any opinions , advice please .

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I think you made the right decision to delay his start. In September we had a couple of children who were really quite distressed and it was obvious that they weren't ready. One came to drop in sessions, started child in January and the child is fine, the other child moved to a different setting and apparently are very happy there!! You have to do what you think is right and if a child doesn't have a positive experience they'll really struggle to settle. Stick to your guns and do what you feel is best for the child!

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I hear what you are saying, we have been there too, several times. I would suggest that, on Thursday, you assume that they are coming to discuss transition scenarios. Take them straight through to the office or your quiet area when they arrive. Thank them for coming and say how pleased you are that they have come to talk about what's best for little Jimmy. Say that nobody benefits if he is distressed, that he is not going to be able to form bonds with staff unless he can relax enough to do so. Make a few suggestions - someone stays with him for very short sessions, half an hour or so, extending to an hour until he makes some connections with staff. More frequent short sessions are better than spaced apart ones. If there's something that triggers distress, such as taking outdoor shoes/coat off, don't do it until he is ready. You know all this stuff. In this situation, stress that it's Jimmy's needs that must come first, as separation anxiety can stay with him. (I still have it, even at my advanced age, because I was put into a situation by my parents when I was a child. I have problems believing that people I'm with aren't just going to leave me)

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I do agree but then at the same time what if the parents were working and couldn't delay the start? What would happen then? The majority of our parents are working and don't have the option of delayed starts or even shorter sessions at times. Also what message does it give to the child -I cry, I get picked up and don't have to go again for a few weeks - I've won. I know that's a very simplistic view and obviously I don't know the situation at all like you do but that would be playing on my mind. It's just about as everyone's said before, working out what is best for the child, parent and you together. In an ideal world parents are on board and do all the settling in as you would hope they would want to but increasingly in reality we are finding it more a case of drop and run :-( I'm not trying to say you haven't done the right thing at all - if the child can be with the parent they should - he's only little and a distressed child isn't going to be good for anyone! You know what is best as you know them I am just saying what I personally think given the way it is nowadays with parents rushing back to work and not sorting childcare enough in advance to allow for proper settling in!

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Personally I would have done the same. Reassurance for parents, but having a system that enables you to adapt for each unique child like late start times, earlier pick ups or in this case possible delay are all ideas that could be explored.

Have your meeting with the parents on Thursday if they arrive would be my way forward.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

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Susan - yes the text said that's what they wanted to do and woodlands I get exactly where your coming from and all that is considered with every child , the parent is not working at present .

I will have discussion on Thursday and if the parent chooses another setting I would understand , we don't ever give up easy but the interested and well being of the child is paramount in each decision we make.

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I think there is really good advice above and just wanted to add that my first question might be about why the mother feels it is so important for the the child to attend now. It is possible that something about the home dynamics or the child's needs that mean it is in his best interests to attend, despite his problems settling.

Maybe you need to know a little more about this family in order to make a judgement about what is in their child's best interests, especially if your opinion differs from that of his parents.

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We want your child to feel happy and safe with us. To make sure that this is the case, the staff will work with you to decide on how to help your child to settle into the setting. Younger children may take longer to settle in as will children who have no previous experience of parting from parents/carers -we have an expectation that these children will only attend for part of sessions – we are happy to make an exception where parents are confident that their child will be happy to stay for a full session – in this case we can review if needed. Parents/carers are very welcome to stay with their child if this is felt to be necessary.

lashes - don't know if they above is of any use to you at all.......

Currently I have one little boy who got off to a very 'poor' start in October - after discussions with mum, dad and his SALT he now attends for part sessions only - my take on this is very simplistic:

'I will not be part of making any child unhappy'

Good luck with it all tomorrow - if I have time (!) I will send you some positive vibes! :1b

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One of my mum's has one of my staff members number as they were friends before they both started. Out policies do state that parents and staff do not have each other on social media with the exception if they were friends before. I have one that I have known for 30 years but I do not write anything about pre-school on there (this is in our policies).

BUT the mum who has my staff members number would never text he with something like this, she would phone the landline and speak to me.

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In our village, if that were not permitted, there would be very few children in the pre-school.

 

I understand friends of friends, everyone one knowing everyone BUT there is an issue here, it's not very professional, it leaves staff vulnerable.

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Suer - the reason was because that staff member is also our admin and was trying to contact over holidays the parent as email was not responding, that's why I told her to reply with please contact preschool directly. But your right it is against our policies and I expect parents to have more sense!

They are aware of policy!

Upsy daisy - we are I. A village , I have some parents who were friends before but I state clearly and they never talk' ask or question preschool matters by private text , if they do I just respond with please call preschool phone.

 

Update - spoke to parent yesterday and came to a compromise ( she was determined to keep going) I explained the reasons again and she will attend with her son for one hour each session as a gradual transisition for him and her and then we will review it. So after an hour she and son will leave.

Upsy Daisy , the reason was because that staff member is also our admin and was trying to contact over holidays the parent as email was not responding, that's why I told her to reply with please contact preschool directly.

 

Update - spoke to parent yesterday and came to a compromise ( she was determined to keep going) I explained the reasons again and she will attend with her son for one hour each session as a gradual transisition for him and her and then we will review it. So after an hour she and son will leave.

Edited by lashes2508
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Ah let's hope this might support his transition to settle . It's very distressing for everybody if they are very upset and anxious.

Our policy is to ring parents if we feel children are very distressed too.

Having a familiar object from home in their bag can help if required.

Our new friends do a slightly shorter session for up to a half-term (it's normally within 3/4 weeks) gradually introducing the changes in routines etc.

This works extremely well for us and more importantly for those children.

Fx

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Our new friends do a slightly shorter session for up to a half-term (it's normally within 3/4 weeks) gradually introducing the changes in routines etc.

This works extremely well for us and more importantly for those children.

Fx

Do parents still pay full price for the session? Or do you reduce the hours paid because they are leaving early?

It's something I have felt we need with having a VERY young cohort these days.

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I understand friends of friends, everyone one knowing everyone BUT there is an issue here, it's not very professional, it leaves staff vulnerable.

I guess in a culture where everyone sees each other in different roles at different times, you learn to manage your interactions and keep within the boundaries that maintain professionalism on both sides.

 

If someone contacted a staff member inappropriately, like in this situation, they would just be asked to approach the manager through the proper channels and no-one would think any more about it.

 

The important thing is that staff know how to respond when it happens and they also know to record it so their manager knows they have responded appropriately.

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Update - the parent phoned me today to say dad and her had a long chat and decided to accept our advice and wait until half term ! Thanks again for all your invaluable advice , comments etc

That's great news - hopefully they will allow him to settle gradually at that time - perhaps staying with him and/or just a very short amount of time to begin with......

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Yes we still charge.

Parents have the opportunity to come in for approximately four times before the child joins proper to get them used to the environment, meet the staff etc.

We also have many activities throughout the year that all children are invited too irrespective of their sessions so we do not adjust fees.

Nobody has ever objected and many like the fact that the child is at the forefront of why we do it this way.

It is all explained within our induction pack and at our home visit.

Hope this helps.

 

Lashes2508

Glad the parents listened to your advice and have made a decision that best suits their child.

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Ours have the first two weeks charged at a lower rate, after that it is the parents choice if they wish to still collect early. However we do look at individual cases if they genuinely are not settling well.

 

They are invited to stay and play sessions before the official start date though, and we use this time sorting paperwork etc.

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  • 6 months later...

Just reading through my posts , this child never came back , mum enrolled him in nursery in next village , he has only just started to settle . Dad mentioned to my colleague at pub ' are you still working at preschool ? Because you banned him from there ! , my deputy was speechless ! Especially as she was amongst others and in her non work time !

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