Coping with tears at nursery drop off

Coping with tears at nursery drop off

If there is one thing that I’ve learnt over the last eight months, it’s that in terms of every day parenting of a pre-schooler, there aren’t many things that are worse than when you drop them off at nursery only to be traumatised by their huge desire to not want to be left, followed by an influx of tears and pleas of “Mummy don’t go!” The result? Feeling like the shittiest parent that ever walked the earth.

Ethan started nursery in January. He was later than a lot of kids his age, but we have been quite lucky in terms of having grandparents to help with our childcare and last year when my Mum was so poorly, it wasn’t the right time for him to be starting somewhere so new and daunting when things were so unusual at home for him. As soon as he got his government funded hours we were happy to send him for a couple of mornings a week while I worked. He had got to an age where he needed to mix more and develop his social skills and so far he’s been amazing!

As expected at the beginning it took a bit of getting used to and I was prepared for the quivering bottom lip and the teary goodbyes and of course, they happened, but they soon settled down and he began to really enjoy it. It’s worked wonders for him too. He has come on leaps and bounds in those eight months and we were beyond proud at our last parents evening when we were told how brilliant he’s doing.

Then the Summer holiday’s started. Ethan goes to his usual sessions in the Summer as he has enough hours to spread across the year. The case isn’t the same for all of the other children and so he’s found himself amongst some new children. Some older, some younger and its most definitely not as busy. Somehow and for some reason this has seriously upset him.

For the last two weeks I have had such a bad time during nursery drop off. Tears before getting out of the car. ‘Big cuddles’ that he won’t release me from. Outstretched arms reaching for me as I walk out of the door and me sat in the car trying to pull myself together only to burst into tears with the sadness and guilt of leaving behind my upset little boy. There it is again. The shittiest Mum in the world feeling.

Of course after ten minutes he is usually fine. (Save for the first day this happened when I had to go and pick him up. That has never happened before). Once he’s been there a little while he settles down and enjoys himself. But we don’t see that bit do we? For the rest of our day all we can visualise is the bright red face with the streaming eyes and the snotty nose and the sound of “Mummy don’t go!” on repeat. For the rest of our day we live in a pit of guilt.

Ethan’s nursery is fantastic and thankfully so are all the staff. They are brilliantly understanding and are always a great help when it comes to the ‘big goodbye’. They always let me know he’s okay aswell which is reassuring when you’re in the middle of a guilt trip trauma. His key worker is wonderful with him and he loves her to pieces. I’m so glad they have such a good relationship otherwise this phase would be so much worse.

Needless to say, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are fast becoming my least favourite times of the week. I wake up anxious and I know that in turn, that probably makes him anxious, but I’m not a robot and I can’t switch off my emotions. It’s something we will just have to get through together.

I know the phase will likely be over as fast as it began and I take comfort in that fact. But until that day, I’ll be the one sat outside nursery in my car trying to pull myself together to go about my day. But at the same time safe in the knowledge that there’s another Mum out there doing exactly the same thing.



Dear Bear and Beany
Post Comment Love
A Mum Track Mind
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
My Random Musings
Best of Worst



  1. 13th August 2016 / 9:35 am

    Yes , I had this with my son, literally peeling his fingers off me. I often left in tears , even though I knew he was fine . Now my daughter has started doing the same , tho I know with her she is just messing – she stands infront of the mirror and looks at herself crying and stops the minute someone offers her a toy or breakfast. We are always more affected by it than they are ! #fortheloveofblog

    • Jaki
      13th August 2016 / 2:07 pm

      That is a great way of looking at it. I’ll try remembering that on Tuesday morning πŸ™‚

  2. 13th August 2016 / 9:22 pm

    I have this with my daughter. She’s off over summer so I’m expecting it to be even worse when she goes back next month πŸ™ x #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 7:03 pm

      Oh no. I really hope things aren’t as bad as you’re expecting. I’m already dreading tomorrow morning! Thanks for reading. X

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 7:56 pm

      Oh I really hope that things aren’t as bad as you are expecting next month! Fingers crossed for you. Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

  3. 14th August 2016 / 8:33 pm

    I used to watch my little sister screaming for my mum as she got out of the car to go to work, clinging onto her shirt and begging her not to leave. My poor mum was devastated and she’d keep turning around only to see my sister pounding at the window, inconsolable. As soon as we drove out of sight of my mum’s work, my sister would turn around, miraculously fresh faced, and say “what shall we do today?”.

    Hope your nursery drop offs become much less emotional and this phase is over soon. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 7:05 pm

      Oh my goodness. Really?! It never ceases to amaze me how children can be! In a way I hope my little one is like this, at least then I’d know he’s just doing it to get a response. Waiting to see how the morning goes! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 7:58 pm

      Wow really?! Kids never cease to amaze me. Here’s hoping that’s exactly what my little one is doing! Keeping everything crossed for tomorrow – the dreaded Tuesday morning! Thank you for reading and leaving a comment πŸ™‚

  4. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    15th August 2016 / 7:57 pm

    Oh gosh, this brought it all back! In a way, I’m grateful that my son started at nursery before he could talk, as I think hearing the words themselves is so so hard. After finally settling in really well, we still have wobbles every time he moves up to a new room, although I know he stops immediately when I leave. You pinpointed it when you said that that’s the face you picture the whole time you’re gone, but I think the fact is that they’re probably having a ball! Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 8:02 pm

      Oh I’m sure he does have a ball – I wish I did!! πŸ™‚ Needless to say I’m dreading tomorrow morning, but keeping everything crossed for a better time of it. We will get there πŸ™‚ Thanks for hosting a great link up, I’ll be back this week πŸ™‚

  5. 15th August 2016 / 8:28 pm

    Aww we had this with my eldest for a long time, it’s so upsetting isn’t it? I felt like the cruellest parent ever peeling her off me and walking away. I’m worried that we will have it in September when she starts school, I feel sick at the thought! #fartglitter

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 9:36 pm

      It really is the worst feeling ever. I’m dreading tomorrow morning, these things are sent to try us, we will smile about it all one day I’m sure. I hope you get on okay when she starts school next month. Thank you for commenting on this post πŸ™‚

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Oh you are lucky! I rarely get to pick mine up – I’ve a rare opportunity in a couple of weeks and I’m really looking forward to it! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading.

  6. 15th August 2016 / 10:29 pm

    It must be the toughest thing to do – and I hope he settles down again soon. Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo πŸ™‚

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 11:01 pm

      It is hard. Hoping for a better time of it in the morning!! Thanks for hosting.

  7. 16th August 2016 / 12:29 am

    Agree with you whole-heartedly. One of the worst Momguilts in my book! But if you know he’s happy the rest of the day, take solace in that fact. This too shall pass. Hugs.

    • Jaki
      16th August 2016 / 11:11 am

      I can’t wait until it does pass! They don’t warn you about all of these things do they?! Thanks for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  8. 16th August 2016 / 11:06 am

    This sounds horrible and I don’t look forward to going through it when our little boy goes to nursery – probably when I go back to work in November – dreading it!!

    • Jaki
      16th August 2016 / 11:12 am

      Oh I don’t want to frighten you! I’m sure he will be fine. Initially he took no time at all to settle, we’ve just met a little bump in the road that I hope won’t last too long. Good luck for when your time comes! Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

  9. 16th August 2016 / 9:41 pm

    Aw lovely. I’m going to be in the car right next to you doing the exact same thing very soon. My eldest loves nursery and has really taken to it, but a change in my hours at work now means that The Boy will soon be going one day a week (aka Mr Clingy Pants). This is not going to go down well. He currently cries if I try and leave him to go to the toilet. I have no idea how it’s going to play out but I’m convinced that in the long run it will be good for them to learn some independence and to socialise. Hang in there Mummy – You’re doing an amazing job x Thanks for linking with #fartglitter x

    • Jaki
      16th August 2016 / 10:08 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. It’s certainly looking like it’s a work in progress. We’re working with him to make him more comfortable. I just hope it goes well as he’s there an extra morning from September!
      I really hope the whole day goes ok for you and your little man. It’s such a hard time. I’m sure he will love it when he gets used to it.

  10. 16th August 2016 / 9:45 pm

    I went through this with my little girl. She cried to start with then stopped and since her days have been cut down from 3 to 1 she cries more again! Likewise I know she’s fine after 5 minutes. But it’s still such a crappy feeling. Let me know if you find a solution!! You’re definitely not alone!

    • Jaki
      16th August 2016 / 10:11 pm

      They are funny little things aren’t they? Perhaps she has got used to being at home again. It is such a difficult time, but at least we know we are not alone. I’ll be sure to report back if I stumble across a miracle! Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. It’s always appreciated.

  11. 16th August 2016 / 10:21 pm

    My heart goes out to you this must be so tough and I honestly don’t know how you do it every week. I was incredibly lucky that my daughter never cried at drop off, she is a little girl that takes everything in her stride. However my youngest daughter is not the same and I think I am going to be having tears when she starts. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove Laura x

    • Jaki
      17th August 2016 / 3:00 pm

      It’s a case of being really strong! Not great if I’m having a particularly hormonal day!! These things are sent to try it. I hope your little one is okay when the time comes. Bless them it’s a shame really. Thanks for reading and commenting. Much appreciated.

  12. Sharon Rivers
    17th August 2016 / 3:33 pm

    Aw hun, bless you. It is the worst feeling!! My son used to cry when I left him but then he would also cry when I returned lol, made me think ‘do you want me or not!?’ haha. Kids are little masters of manipulation though, sounds like your little one loves it really πŸ˜€ and I guess you could look at it positively, it shows that he loves you and wants you around xxx #anythinggoes

    • Jaki
      17th August 2016 / 3:39 pm

      That is a really lovely way to look at it. And he really is a Mummy’s boy!! Thanks for your comment and also the follow on Twitter πŸ™‚

  13. 18th August 2016 / 7:18 am

    mine is going in January. Hopefully, he will be too small to understand (?) and when he is older, he will be so used of it, it won’t be a problem…? Just hoping here!!!! I am dreading it…#SharingtheBlogLove

    • Jaki
      18th August 2016 / 10:10 pm

      Oh I really hope so!! Fingers crossed for you and fingers crossed for me that this all stops soon. Thanks for stopping by (and for the love on Instagram!) x

  14. 18th August 2016 / 11:59 am

    My boy had the same reaction to nursery, despite being very happy with a childminder. He was so upset after trying it 5 times (he only went Mondays) we ended up removing him from the nursery, which then got a ‘bad’ at ofsted so maybe it was meant to be. Not looking forward to him going to school! #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Jaki
      18th August 2016 / 11:18 pm

      Oh I’m sorry to hear that. It’s so hard to know what to do for the best isn’t it? If only they would or could tell us. Fingers crossed it’s not so bad when he starts school. Thanks for commenting.

  15. Claire
    18th August 2016 / 4:13 pm

    Jaki Thank you so much for this post. I have been really struggling the last few weeks with a return to the ‘mummy don’t go’ side of nursery drop-offs. I thought he was into another clingy ‘Mum mum only mum’ phase but never considered the holidays and change of classmates could have played a part, now it makes more sense! Hopefully it will settle once term tim resumes πŸ™‚ #sharingthebloglove

    • Jaki
      18th August 2016 / 11:20 pm

      Well if I’ve only helped you then it was worth posting!! πŸ™‚ I’m also relieved it’s not just my little one that is experiencing this time of uncertainty. Poor little things have so many things going on in their heads, it must be so hard. Let’s hope things get better for us over the next couple of weeks. Let’s keep each other updated πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading and leaving me a comment.

  16. 19th August 2016 / 9:51 pm

    My babies were always ok at drop off unless they were unwell. I couldn’t take time off every time they had a cold so always had double the guilt on those days. It is so hard sometimes and I am just about to go back to work again. Not looking forward to it at all. #sharingthebloglove

    • Jaki
      19th August 2016 / 11:06 pm

      Ah I really hope it goes okay for you. It’s a horrid time but at the same time I’m trying to look at it that it’s wonderful that he loves and needs me so much. He won’t act this way forever! Thank you for stopping by from the Showcase post πŸ™‚

  17. 20th August 2016 / 1:26 pm

    So difficult, but the kids are usually fine after a few minutes, once they see their friends and start playing. I’m lucky in that I have to leave for work when my daughter is still fast asleep, but I worry about what will happen in a year’s time when she starts kindergarten. #AnythingGoes

    • Jaki
      20th August 2016 / 11:33 pm

      I know you are completely right. I’ve only had one day in eight months where I’ve had to go and get him because he was too upset to stay. So that’s not bad going. Hopefully it is just a short phase that will soon be over. I hope it goes okay for your little girl next year. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  18. 21st August 2016 / 12:47 am

    Aww it must be awful having to leave him when he’s upset, but in a way you’re doing him a favour. Imagine how much worse it would be if you took him home every time he cried, and then when he started school you couldn’t.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes πŸ™‚

    • Jaki
      23rd August 2016 / 7:18 pm

      I know you are right and I think (I hope) it’s getting better as each week goes by. Still wake up on a Tuesday and Thursday with a knot in my stomach though!! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  19. 23rd August 2016 / 9:22 pm

    Oh honey it’s so tough isn’t it. I have had a few nursery drop offs like that, I tend to make a hasty exit and try not to hang around too much even though it is hard. Thanks for linking up lovely and keep smiling #bestandworst

    • Jaki
      24th August 2016 / 5:12 pm

      I think that’s the secret. As harsh as it feels to just hand over and walk away sometimes it’s the only way! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  20. Rachel Turner
    11th April 2017 / 4:22 pm

    The nursery drop off is the worst feeling ever. Luckily I have only had to do it a handful of times as I go to work first phew! But when I have I have left in tears even though I know minutes later they are happy as anything. #triumphanttales

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.