My toddler started creche this year and it hasn’t gone well

I write this post with a heavy heart. A heavy mommy heart. My toddler started creche this year and it hasn’t gone well. He is new to school/daycare but I still expected this to go alot better than it did.

Cole is two years old. He is smart, active and a very alert little boy. He is shy around people he doesn’t know. Except for tantrums though. If push comes to shove, he will throw that tantrum around any stranger. I’m sure most toddler moms can relate though.

He was home all day during the the week, so he was always delighted when he seeing other little people his size. There is a big age gap between him and his brother, so while he enjoys the company, its not exactly the same as socializing with someone his own size and that he can relate to.

He also lacks stimulation to some extent because of being at home all day. He isn’t necessarily being stimulated to the degree that he needs right now in this season of his life. So we decided that we’ll send him to a daycare/creche.

My toddler started creche this year and it hasn’t gone well

I was so excited for him to start spending some time with other little people his age. I looked forward to seeing the joy and satisfaction on his face. But it didn’t go as expected. My toddler started creche this year and it hasn’t gone well.

On day 1 the drop off was fine. He unfortunately didn’t get to see me leave and I think that may have also played a big role in his unhappiness. He started crying as soon as he realized we had left. The crying continued until he was fetched at 14h30.

The next day I made sure he saw me leave and that I was happy to leave him in that environment. I feel it is important for him to believe that I trust the people I am leaving him with. But alas, he cried and cried some more.

He’s being alot at home too and overall seems rather anxious. It’s understandable though. He is all of a sudden being left in this environment of strangers without any clue of when and IF he would see us again. Lets not forget about learning how to adapt to following a routine.

When I thought about it from that perspective, it helped me cope a little with my difficult, anxious toddler. The exhaustion still remains with me though. We are not getting any good sleep as our nights are filled with many many wake-ups. And the anxiety of it all tires me tremendously. I mean how can I, as a mom, be happy knowing that my baby isn’t happy?

Time makes everything better

Cole is having a tough time adjusting. There are moments where he is back to his happy cheerful self but its those times where he’s not that bothers me.

I believe he will adjust with time though. Infact, as much as I expected him to just fall into it all and adapt, I knew there is the small chance that it won’t go well. Because all children are different. No one person adapts to any given situation in the same way that the next person does. So why should I expect my toddler to adapt as quickly as the next?

So after much deliberation, we decided to shorten his day and increase the time by an hour each new week. Its been two weeks since he started creche. I’ve been communicating with the school quite often and they’ve been giving me the same feedback everytime. He is either teary or hasn’t settled and will not mingle with the rest of the kids.

We just need time. We need to do is wait it out. In time he will be happy. But these past two weeks have been the longest two weeks of my life. I know that I shouldn’t let it get me down because he will eventually adjust, but alas, here I am, typing this out with a heavy heart.

I am a mom afterall

It’s called being a mom. I am sad when my kids are sad. I am worried when my kids are anxious. When they are afraid, I am too. But in front of all of these emotions, I wear my face of bravery so that they know it will all be ok and so they can safely make it over their hurdle.

I need to remind myself too, that it’s going to be ok. So I’ll wait it out and give him time to settle. I’ll wear my face of bravery on the outside and on the inside. I’ll come back to this post a few weeks down the line and feel completely silly and embarrassed for feeling the way I’m feeling now. Or I might just laugh it off.

Are there any moms out there who been through this and made it out strong?

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Tata for now,


7 thoughts on “My toddler started creche this year and it hasn’t gone well”

  • Tracey my heart goes out to you. It’s hard. As a teacher of two year olds on the other side I will say it is best at the beginning to start with a shorter day. Some kids go through the whole day without crying and others don’t. At the moment (and we started on Wednesday) I have one 18 month who cries solidly from 7 30 till 10am and another who only cries at the beginning. Another who we delayed school for who is back with a few tears in the beginning and then he is fine. Another 18 month who doesn’t cry at all. So all kids are different. You can’t expect them to socialise this soon. Give him time. He will come right. Just drop and go quickly ( and tell them goodbye). Good luck. Thinking of you.

    • Heather I’m so glad you read this post because your experience in this and what you’ve said here is just what I needed to hear. Thanks for the encouragement xx

  • I have been through this with my eldest. She cried for a month at day care. She started at 3 years old and had been with me at home. I just say patience and courage. It helped me. Andit does get better in time. Jusy getting past the thoughts of knowing they are unhappy and teary are the biggest challenges. Stay strong mom and know you all are doing the best you can.

  • I know just how you feel.My daughter used to cry every morning I left her at creche.She was an only child at home,and had stayed with my mother everyday until she was 6 and really needed to start creche.The adjustment for her was clearly drastic.She cried for a good 5 months if I’m not mistaken.The cries changed from screaming crying,to silence crying and then it just stopped.Be patient dear,it will get better (honestly!)
    Wishing you all the best and a heart of a warrior through this challenging phase because as a mother sometimes you feel that maybe you should just take them home andake them start the following year because “hopefully” it will be a bit easier on them.Don’t get discouraged he will come around eventually.

  • This seems to be a universal problem, and not surprisingly, because as you say, how unnatural it would be if our kids were ok with being left with total strangers. Some kids surely deal with it more easily than others, but as for my son, who is cheerful and confident, it was too much to bear after just three days in play school. I have to mention that I am very lucky to have the opportunity to take him to work with me, but I wasn’t prepared to put him through something that he wasn’t ready for. I realize that it’s not possible for everyone, and it breaks my heart to see kids crying weeks down the line, and their parents left with little choice but to accept it. One thing concerns me a lot, and that is the apparent acceptance in most schools and among parents, that it’s ok to leave their hysterical child in the arms of a stranger. Why is it not possible for there to be a getting-to-know-period, coupled with shorter days to begin with, so that the kids can get to know their care takers in the security of their parents arms? Sure, it takes time and effort, and can be a logistical challenge, but it is the building block for your child’s start into school life.
    With my daughter I was lucky enough to get a few weeks of a soft landing, and they didn’t mind me staying-which I thought was a great sign for their value system. This way, it felt good for everyone involved, and when the day came where I just dropped her off, she zoomed away with a smile on her face. I am convinced, it would have been traumatizing any other way for her. I would like to compare it to the sleep training of schools. Just takes a few days, and then they stop crying, because they give up hope that their mom is coming back right away. When requesting time, one shouldn’t be labeled a parent who has trouble letting go, or creating bad habits. It’s rubbish!
    Our world is not designed to take your time with things, because we all are so busy. Systems are often in place to help us, rather than geared towards the needs of our little ones. Why can’t there be a little more compassion without being judged for it?
    My son is three now, and I regularly ask him, if he would like to join his sister in play school, but he is not keen. So he socializes with everyone he meets along the way. His sisters friends, the guy who makes my coffee, people on the street, or whoever crosses his path. He is having a jol, he is playing:-) I wish for you, that the shorter days help, and that he starts to enjoy going. Letting him see you leave is so important, because it is honest. Don’t knock yourself though for being perfectly in tune with your gut feel and the connection you share with your kid!

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