My awesome little man is growing to be a cheeky monkey full of life and energy. A little happy go lucky chap, social, confident, buzzing with excitement and naughtiness. But the nightmare began after I enrolled him in preschool.
Sending my son to preschool did not quite work out as planned. Many said it would be good for him, he would master a routine and build social skills, whilst thriving in a healthy environment with loads of fun and care. A perfect dream for a mother…. ALAS! On the contrary….not for me.
Really, I can’t be any more blunt than a hammer hitting this ideal dream ….. He simply hated preschool with a passion! It became a living nightmare. I guess, all children react differently to these situations. As for my son, the experience was so horrid that I could barely recognise him. He was a different child.
To start off with, dropping him off was a heart-wrenching experience, it is painful watching them cry their lungs out as though they have been abandoned with a stranger. I cannot begin to imagine what he is thinking during this period. It was tramatic for both my son and I. Not to mention the guilt I felt for putting him through this every day. I assumed that in the start it is always like this, every mother goes through this, children adjust and soon enough they learn to be on their own. Arjun would cry himself to sleep for the most part of the session or sit alone in fear, until I pick him up and he will cry again in frustration.
To be brutally honest, I don’t think the process of leaving your child with a complete stranger is psychologically healthy for a toddler during the years he is building bonds and defining his secure attachments. The whole experience was an eye-opener for me. Other mothers would definitely have a different opinion and I respect that. In no way am I placing judgement on the mothers who send their children to nursery, knowing well enough that at some point in time, I will have to do the same too.
Anyhow, after this frustrating episode and seeing the results – before and after, with heightened instincts, I concluded that sending our little ones to preschol/nursery at a young age can do more harm than we think. I understand that it is a privilege to be in a position to make this decision because not many have the choice. But I have decided to make adjustments to accommodate my change of mind. I have had to change my aspirations and my working hours to make this happen.
These tender years are important in his development. I believe it is best for him to stay at home and get the one to one attention from me. (I cannot believe I am saying this because it is bl***y hard work having him around 24/7) However, In an odd way, I feel slightly relived because for the past weeks he was attending, I was not happy with the short-term results.
At 22 months, the attachment he has with me is delicate. The process of leaving him with a complete stranger and walking away caused some psychological anxiety and insecurity which kept building during the week. He became withdrawn and somewhat sad. It made it harder for me to leave him alone in the home too, usually, he would be fine if, for instance, I was in the kitchen and he was in the playroom. But sadly that stopped too. His frustrations turned to aggression, he became more clingy and he cried more. Amidst this frustration, he stopped eating.
He also fell ill. This is common but what I found most surprisingly disappointing was the hygiene. Now, why do nurseries smell so much? please don’t get me wrong, I put him one that was rated quite highly but I was not impressed by a few I had visited including the one he attended. In addition, personal hygiene of some children was questionable, for example, if a little one’s nose is running with snot, they carers do not clean them in fear of catching germs. This is awfully disgusting as they end up cleaning their noses with their hands and go on to touch toys and other children.
Overall, my experience has not been a very good one. The nurturing he can get from me cannot match the care he will get from the nursery. It cannot replace the one to one time my son benefits from being at home. Not to mention the cost of enrollment is excruciatingly expensive. The money I can wisely spend on my son or save in his piggy bank. He is happy when he is home, he is comfortable and he learns in a healthy environment he feels safe in. He eats healthy and his confidence is back at its high. I don’t want to compromise moulding his outlook in life because of a few hours I need for myself. sigh sigh….Please do not put your child in preschool early. Avoid it if you can.