I wanted to go back to work when Seb was 2, so I found a nursery setting ahead of finding a job, but he hated it. He started with settling in sessions twice a week, but he wouldn’t settle, he cried on and off the whole time he was there and it affected him at home.
He became clingy, anxious, his appetite and sleep were deeply affected. Six weeks after he started, I was so distressed with how unhappy Seb was, I had no choice but to put my plans to return to work on hold. It took a further six weeks for Seb to return back to the normal, happy child he is.
Three or four months later I decided to try a different approach and found a PACEY childminder. Seb was more receptive to the home-based setting and despite the childminder saying that he had the worst case of separation anxiety she had ever seen, he did adapt and start enjoying his time away from me.
It still took the childminder almost three months to get him to settle fully and the childminder used several different methods to support him. Mainly she taught him how to calm himself when he became anxious by taking deep breaths and sitting down quietly. I also used to make plans for later in the day, that way when he became upset they could talk about what he and mummy would be doing once I came to get him. It was a rather long and painful process all round!
He has since started a pre-school and I was incredibly anxious about having to start settling in all over again, but I worked closely with my childminder and it was a gradual process. He is now extremely happy at pre-school, in fact it is safe to say he loves it!