Settling in to playgroup

As regular readers will know, Monkey started playgroup in January. Other than a few blips he has settled in so well and we are hugely proud of him.This is a little boy who has always been quite clingy, he had very bad separation anxiety and alwyas wanted his Mummy there. At soft play or at the playpark I have long been the mum with a child clinging to her legs unless I am clambering up the slide with him. I have wondered in the past if it is my fault because I am a SAHM and wondered if a nursery setting would have been better for him, or worse!

My fears and worries have subsided over the past year as he has grown up a bit and become more and more independant. I was still very nervous of him starting playgroup and he was originally due to start in November when he turned 2 1/2. Becuase this coincided very much with LM being born we decided to defer it a couple of months and start after Christmas. As the date neared, although a little apprehensive, I was quietly confident as he seemed to grow up a lot in the few short months since his baby sister was born and get that little bit more independant, I guess he had to really!

For Christmas we got him a lovely book to help him get excited about starting playgroup and in the week or so before he started we read it over and over again. He loved it and was definitely excited to go. The book was great too as it explained about Mummy going away, and then coming back again.

The big day dawned and it went pretty well. He pulled a sad face as I left but didn’t scream or cling, Apparently he was very unhappy throughout the session and he did cry when we picked him up but that was to be expected and we were so proud of him. The second day was much like the first and although he wasn’t too bad when I left him, they did say he had again been quite upset throughout and he cried when I collected him. On the walk home he was quite positive and saying he loved playgroup so I was comforted by that and was just praying things would improve.

running to playgroup with daddy on his first day

running to playgroup with daddy on his first day

Dropping him off for the 3rd session was the real low point. He cried a little before we left home but then cheered up and practically ran all the way there, very excited. He then cried when they opened the doors even though he had been saying he was excited to go in. He then cried for ages and clung to me, dragged me inside to where they read stories and didn’t want me to leave. I found that so hard but had to be strong and smile and promise I would pick him up. I smiled and left him in the care of the playgroup despite every instinct telling me it was wrong. I came home and struggled. I took to facebook for some reassurance, to hear from other Mummies that this was a low point and that it would get better. (Huge thanks to the lovely ladies who supported me through this.) I know that him going to playgroup is really good for him but I just worried that he wasn’t ready for it.

I was anxious the whole time he was there and concerned that it was getting worse rather than better. To my relief though, when I went to pick him up, one of the staff immediately said he had been better that day. He had been getting involved in activities and had not been upset. Phew! I nearly cried right then as it had felt worse at the drop off and I was concerned he would have been upset throughout again. To know he wasn’t was wonderful! He balled his head off when he came out and I really had to choke back the tears and not show him how upset I was, especially as my tears were more of relief than anything else!

On the way home that day he was telling me what he had done that day and he said “I cry a bit… don’t like cry” which nearly broke my heart and I told him it is ok to cry sometimes but that there was no need to cry at playgroup because playgroup is fun and Mummy will always come back and get him afterwards. He seemed pretty content with that.

On the 4th session he was again a little unhappy leaving home then excitedly running all the way there. He was so excited that unfortunately he tripped and cut his lip open halfway there! Not good timing! I had no tissues or wipes or anything ( as it is literally a 5 minute walk) so had to use my gloves and his scarf to mop up the blood pouring from his poor lip. I carried him the rest of the way and thankfully some other mummies had wipes to clean us up as we were both covered in blood at this point. I was really concerned about how upset he was but as soon as they opened the door he bounded right in. I explained to the staff about it but he seemed fine so I left him to it. The best thing was that that afternoon there was no tears at all when I picked him up, hooray!

And, well that was it. Since then he has not cried when I have dropped him off, or when I picked him up, and the news from the staff is that he is getting more and more confident. He goes outside to play and he loves joining in with the singing at the end. He is just loving it! He keeps saying “Is it playgroup tomorrow?” and “I do singing at playgroup” and he picks up toys and says “we have this at playgroup.” He is so proud of all the things he has made at playgroup and wants to show anyone and everyone all of his creations.

A few of Monkey's creations at playgroup!

A few of Monkey’s creations at playgroup!

It is such a relief to know he enjoys it so much and he is growing up more and more as the weeks go by so it was definitely the right thing to do!

Ethans Escapades
Mini Creations

Not My Year Off

24 thoughts on “Settling in to playgroup

  1. Aww bless him. He sounded very similar to my madam when she started nursery. Not always too bad when we left her, tears on and off in the days and soooo upset when we picked her up! Took a week and all was fine. I’m so glad Monkey has settled down for you and in the long run will make him so confident! #maternitymondays

  2. Lots of lovely artwork there, I am glad that he has settled so well and in a short space of time too. It really is hard on us parents isn’t it, leaving them somewhere and counting down until we can go and get them, they do usually settle eventually but it doesn’t help the feelings going on inside us Mummies! There will be lots of lovely easter artwork coming home soon! #maternitymondays

  3. Well done to you all for persevering. It’s so hard when they’re upset. Potato started in January too and is about the same age as Monkey. I’m lucky that he’s loved it from day 1 and has been so excited. He does 2 mornings a week and every day he asks if it’s time for school yet!! They grown up so quickly!! xx

    • Oh that is so good bless him ! I know they grow so quickly don’t they? Crazy to think we will be choosing schools in a years time! x

  4. Such a relief now you’ve done the hard bit. It’s so lovely when they start not only not crying, but looking forward to playgroup! Hope he continues to enjoy it and you can relax a bit. Poor thing getting a cut lip on the way in! Sounds like a little trooper though. x

  5. Oh Buba was the same and I often thought it was because I was a SAHM too but MM has never had that problem she would soon wave us all off on her adventure. maybe it’s a boy thing? Either way he is doing better and better and thriving and you are doing an amazing job. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  6. That’s really impressive for him to settle and grow in confidence so quickly. My daughter struggled with playgroup for nearly a year, despite the fact that she’d been doing two full days at nursery a week from 6 months!
    Thanks very much for sharing with Loud ‘n’ Proud.

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  8. So glad to hear he has settled well and this is such a useful post for me as my daughter starts pre-school next week (gulp!). Will be looking for that book you mentioned. Great post thank you! x

  9. Lucas says – We are so proud of you Monkey for settling into playgroup. We know it’s not always easy but you seem to be getting there. This artwork is AWESOME and we’re so pleased your Mum has shown it to us. Keep up the awesome work and sending you XL MEGA High-5’s :0
    Thanks for linking to #minicreations

  10. I’m so glad things have calmed down now and he is enjoying it. We don’t get crying with Ethan but he does act like he doesn’t want to go in. I find quickly leaving helps both of us. We star school in eight weeks, I’m starting to worry how he will react x

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  12. What a wonderful positive post. Monkey has done so well, you rightly should be very proud. I think we feel it more than they do, they are very quickly distracted with activities and before they know it its home time. It does get easier. xx

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