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Old 01-13-2012, 07:29 PM   #1
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Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

We did buy a gym membership, we LOVE it there. It's such a big, clean, friendly envioronment. The daycare is big, well stocked with tons of toys and even an indoor playground, and it has been well staffed when we've visited. We dropped 17 mo old DS off today for the 1st time. They give you a pager for when they cry for more than 20 minutes, or it can be a shorter time (whatever limit you impose).

The workers are very nice, not just a bunch of teenagers. It's a great facility.

DS has never been in daycare. He's been to things like gymboree with us since he was 7 mo old, in playgroups, etc. He's usually very social and outgoing. But he's never been without us in these settings. Grandma does watch him about once a week when I work PT for a few hrs if DH happens to be working (he works nights, so this doesn't happen much).

We took him in, and he ran through the door and went off to play. I thought, well, that was easy enough! He'll be so distracted he won't even miss us. Apparently, shortly after we left, he noticed we were gone.

The workers consoled him and since it wasn't busy (several workers, only a handful of kids) one sat in a rocker and just rocked him. I saw him before he saw us when we came in, and though he looked sad and confused, he was not crying. He BURST into hysterial tears when he saw us and came flying into my arms from hers. I felt so bad!

My question is this - I know there will be a transition period. What do I do next time? Go early so I can go in and play with him for a few? Leave again quickly while he's distracted (again)? Tell him goodbye and make sure he sees us leaving (this seems like a REALLY bad idea for obvious reasons).

We took him to the indoor pool right after and he had a blast. I'm hoping this will help (good memories) but worried that as soon as we enter daycare again in a couple days, he'll remember that's where we "abandoned" him.

Help! I really want this to work. DH and I both need to be working out.


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Old 01-13-2012, 07:58 PM   #2
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Re: Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

i would start talking to him about it the day of,i know hes still young but even if you just say "we are going to go back to that really fun place with all those cool toys to play with later on" and "mommy is going to go get some exersize and you get to go play in the playroom!what toy will you play with?the trucks or the swing?"That was he will maybe start to understand its a fun place and its ok to play there.On you way in,remind him he gets to play with lots of new toys and make new friends.Then when you get there i would sit down and play for a few mins,maybe see if i worker could join you guys,then id give him a kiss and sneak away.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:05 PM   #3
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Re: Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

Depends on your baby. My dd would have freaked out if I left without telling her I would be back. My ds1 I would have had to stay play a little bit and when he was distracted sneak away.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:13 PM   #4
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I would tell him that you are going to be back soon and let him see you leave. This way he doesn't worry that you are just going to disappear. Then maybe only stay gone 5 to 10 minutes before you come back. Once he gets use to it you can leave him for longer periods of time.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:30 PM   #5
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Re: Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

Just my opinion, but I don't like the sneak away maneuver (whether it's a public setting or a babysitter at your own house). I think it's important for the child to see you leave and be told that you WILL be back to get them. I think sneaking off sets you up for dissapperance anxiety in the child. I would recommend the same as pp. Walk in, quick kiss/hug, "I love you and I'll be back to get you soon. Have fun.", turn and walk away without looking back. The more drawn out and sad you are about it the more the child will pick up on it.
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
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Re: Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

It depends on the kid, but generally, I would say to take him in, get him engaged in something, then say a *quick* and happy goodbye and walk out quickly. That way he knows you are leaving, but you aren't lingering around (which will just draw it out). I do think for most kids, it is better to let them know you are leaving, even though it is harder at the send off. It will help keep him from getting clingy in other situations where he thinks you might just "disappear".
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:43 AM   #7
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Re: Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

Depends on the kid. Both of my boys took awhile to get used to the gym kiddie center. DS2 took about a year or so longer than DS1 did, and I thought he took long. DH and I ended up clearing out an extra guestroom and filling it wall to wall with our own club quality equipment. I would even stop by during the day at the gym and not workout. I used to sit in the kid room with him just to visit, play and get him used to being there. Then he got used to a certain worker, and then I could only go during her hours Then it was trying out different locations with different kid rooms. They eventually got over and would ask if we could go to the gym
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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Re: Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

Never sneak away from your child...that is scary and confusing for them and makes it worse, trust me. I tell all my daycare parents to walk their child in (so the worker does not have to physically remove them from your arms), stay upbeat, give a quick goodbye and then leave. No looking back, no apologizing to your son (as if you were doing something wrong), no checking in and then leaving again, no staying in to play. Just make it very ordinary and he will feed off your vibe.
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:46 PM   #9
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Re: Well 17 mo old DS was so-so on the gym daycare

I've been through this twice with toddlers!First time DS2 was in the gym daycare he cried himself to sleep on the sweet ladies shoulder. He was really tired, short nap that day(visited new niece) so fell asleep in 5 mins! They come get you if they cry for 15mins....

Second drop off, he cried for 5 mins and that was the end of all the crying. He loved daycare after that. In fairness his older brother was with him too, so that kinda helps. Think he was under age 2 at the time.

Last winter I tried to put my then 1.5yr old in the daycare and he did great the first time. Second time he cried and I took him out. Third time he cried and I kinda gave up as it was just for when ODS did basketball.

This year at 2.5 I put him in again last week! Praying he wouldn't cry. He just started a preschool program last week, cried for 5 mins then loved it. So with the daycare he didn't even cry, just walked in and went to the toys.

All the years I've done toddler programs, they say NOT to say the words goodbye, but quickly and upbeat say, Mama will be back in a bit or whatever you like to say similar.

I would do what pp said and go for 10 mins and come back and see how that goes. He might just get used to the idea that you are coming back that way.
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