What If My Child Hates Nursery?

Many parents rely on nursery care for their children, but sadly not all children love being in nursery. If you’re finding that it’s something your child hates, then here are some tips and advice on dealing with nursery issues.

It’s a worst case scenario for parents – you’ve waited ages for your child to be able to start nursery, then they hate it. Whilst some nursery niggles are only to be expected when your child adjusts to settling in, for other children the effects can be more long-lasting and they don’t seem to get better after the first week.

Dealing With Guilt

Closely followed by the realisation that your child hates nursery is likely to be an enormous feeling of guilt. Guilt that you’re making your child go somewhere that they don’t like, guilt that they have to go and guilt for leaving them in someone else’s care rather than your own.

The guilt you feel is only natural, but worrying about it and making yourself feel worse isn’t going to help the situation. In an ideal world, you may prefer not to have to put your child in nursery at all, but individual circumstances often prevail and make nursery a necessary move.

As difficult as it may be, you’re trying to do your best for your child, so try not to beat yourself up and make yourself feel guilty about the situation.

Is There Anything You Can Do To Make It Better?

Move the guilt to one side and focus on looking at whether there’s anything you can do to make the situation better.

Don’t make any hasty decisions just yet, like removing your child from nursery. Working closely with the nursery and the nursery staff can help identify any factors that may be particularly affecting your child. For example, it may be that your child is fine when they first get to nursery, but get teary when you leave (as many children do). If you’re hanging around for a bit before leaving, then swapping your behaviour to leaving immediately – however hard that may initially be for you – can make a major difference.

Or it could be that your child wants more opportunities to do certain play activities, but is being dominated by another child. Working with nursery staff can help identify any such factors and help work out ways in which their time at nursery could be improved.

Sometimes things can be improved if you cut down the number of hours your child is at nursery, or shorten the time per session, where possible, so they still get time at home with you.

If Problems Still Persist

If you’ve tried all you can to try and make the nursery experience work out, but problems are still persisting, then you may need to start looking at other options.

It’s possible that your child just doesn’t feel comfortable with the nursery staff, that the format of the day doesn’t work for them or that they’re just not ready to be left with other people yet. Realistically, they will need to feel happier about being left by the time they reach school age – and sometimes nursery can help them adapt more easily to going to school – but if it’s not right for them just yet, it may be mean to push it.

Alternative options aren’t available to everyone, but stopping nursery – if only for a trial period – may help settle your child and ease their distress, and reduce your guilt about their unhappiness too.