Children Unsettled at Nursery?

Little Owls can Help

This blog is really valuable and interesting reading for any parents that has experienced their own child suddenly becoming unsettled at nursery.

Settling in, again.?

‘Mummy I don’t want to go to nursery’, the tears streamed down Elijah’s face as he refused to get dressed.
He was borderline hysterical.
I glanced at the clock and thought we are going to be late again at this rate.
It was becoming a frequent occurrence, and I was becoming more worried about Elijah’s sudden reluctance to go into nursery, something he has loved since he was 9 months old.
The worst-case scenarios running through my head, perhaps he had fallen out with a friend?
Drop Off Tears
He shut down, he wouldn’t talk, and now drop offs were becoming difficult, and I found it incredibly hard.
Elijah began to cling to my leg in tears at the drop off and I went away worrying about him all day.
I began to call up and check in on his during the morning.
A couple of weeks later things were not improving and it was getting worse and I decided to speak to his keyworkers when I went to pick him up.


My fears were confirmed and they too had noticed a change in behaviour, he was getting upset easily and becoming distant from friends.
From the minute, I spoke to them about my concerns they listened to me, they didn’t rush me and they instantly put me at ease.
They let me talk, they never judged and although I was upset and thinking all of the worst possible cases they understood and went out of their way to help.
They spoke to me about a number of reasons such as some of Elijah’s friends leaving for school, some staff changes and the change of schedule due to the weather perhaps aiding Elijah feeling unsettled again.

The Plan

Before I left, they had even begun to formulate a plan to encourage Elijah settling back in with a good drop off.
They came up with a fantastic idea of a special chart with Elijah would be in charge of stamping when he came in, and throughout the day all with his favourite characters (which the keyworkers knew!) they got down and spoke on Elijah’s level about making a chart for him which would be ready for him when he next came in.
If Elijah was happy at drop off, throughout the morning, the afternoon then he got a stamp. He also got a stamp if he was upset and told a grown up the reason why.


We spoke about this a lot at home over the weekend and come Monday Morning, a chart was ready for him when he went in. His keyworkers had made such an effort and put this all together for him and were really focused on settling Elijah back into nursery again.
Me and Elijah also started drawing a small heart on our wrists, something I had seen online so if we missed one another we would look at the hearts throughout the day.


We worked together with the stamps equating to a treat, and the girls using Tapestry or a quick phone call to update me mid-morning how he was doing.
To see the pride on Elijah’s face when he brought his first chart home complete with stamps was a step in the right direction.
After a couple of weeks Elijah began to settle in again so well he didn’t even need the chart and so far, we have had no tears, and Elijah goes in and sits down for group time.

Thank you

It can be hard when suddenly your child becomes upset and refuses to tell you why. When suddenly they don’t want to do something, they have been doing for so long. It can begin to upset the dynamic of the day.
If it wasn’t for the dedication of the staff, the effort they went to making charts, encouraging Elijah and being so understanding to how it was affecting the family I don’t think Elijah would have settled back in again so well.
It also helped us start a conversation about Elijah expressing his emotions.
It was also the fact nothing was too much trouble, updating Tapestry for me, not minding if I called up to check in and giving me a in depth handover.
Once again Little Owls have supported us as a family in a way I cannot thank them enough for.

Vicki Cockerill is a NICU/ CHD Mum of two boys, a freelance blogger and social media adviser, Co-Founder of #knackeredandNorwich social club, NICU campaigner and maternal mental health advocate