Was a lad (easy). Now a dad to Daisy & Seth (less easy).

Nursery; Is It Worse For Me?


They all gave me a look. A look which said “whatever you do, don’t give him a hug”.

But I couldn’t resist…

Before I get ahead of myself, I should explain. Seth has just started nursery which I knew, from speaking to other parents, would be an experience ranging from ‘absolutely fine’ to ‘totally horrific and emotionally draining’ depending on whether I had spoken to a dad or a mum.

Well, four nursery drop-offs in and it’s certainly been a mixed bag.

Last Monday was his first day and we’d attempted to prepare him the weekend before by repeating over and over (and over) again that he was going to ‘big boy school’ the following day. My wife purchased a Spiderman lunchbox which he was delighted with. He has a red jacket; when he wears it he thinks he turns into the actual Spiderman, so to now have this lunchbox as his accessory, meant that he was over the moon.

I guess the equivalent would be if I bought my wife a Mulberry winter coat and then surprised her with a matching clutch bag (is that what they are called?) to go with it. She would be pretty impressed.

Daisy goes to the same nursery albeit in the bigger class and she decided to take on a motherly role in reassuring Seth that it was going to be ok. Very sweet.

But to be honest, I had no idea how it was all going to pan out. The morning started smoothly enough with the kids dressed and fed, lunchboxes packed, jackets on and even the weather was on my side. I decided to try and get a picture of them both together outside the house before we left so I could send it to my wife who was peppering me every few minutes with texts requesting updates!

It turns out that attempting to get a photo in which both kids are looking in the correct direction, smiling and not pulling a weird face is pretty damn hard. Here is a selection of my best attempts!

Nursery collage 

In the car we hopped and off to nursery we went.

Seth seemed happy enough but did he really know that I was about to dump him in a strange place with strange people? Maybe he would think that I was never going to come back for him. Perhaps he would think that this was it for us?!

“Thanks for the past two years dad, now who is this total random you’ve handed me over to for the remainder of my life…?”

When we arrived Seth insisted on walking down the path with his lunchbox. His sandwiches, yoghurt, fruit and water cup packed in tightly, it wasn’t the lightest of things but undeterred he struggled his way down the path, proud as punch of his achievement.

Nursery Seth

(this was taken the following day)

And so we had arrived, Seth preparing to embark on his own solo, parentless adventure. I took Daisy to her nursery room where she goes with the bigger kids and held Seth’s hand as we walked through the door of the toddler room, and into the unknown.

At that point, he realised what was going on.

He clung to my leg.

I shook my leg.

He remained adjacent to my leg.

Clearly, he meant business.

All of a sudden I noticed all eyes were on us. Bloody hell, the pressure of a successful first-timer nursery drop off was intense! I took Seth’s coat off, showed him his peg and walked him through to the kitchen to drop off his lunchbox on the assigned rack.

Houston, we have a problem.

Remember I told you about his Spiderman lunchbox we bought him which made him so happy and made him think he was actually Spiderman. As I reached out to put his lunchbox down, the worst imaginable thing happened.


Seth’s dreams of being a real superhero were dealt a severe blow and he had reached a stark realisation; mummy and daddy were LIARS!

Feeling his hand getting clammier by the moment and his facial expression becoming more forlorn, it was time to say goodbye.

Go on then…

The teachers are watching…

Say goodbye…


I couldn’t.

I gave him a hug and he grabbed me like you might cling onto the edge of a cliff with a 1,000 foot drop beneath you. As I stepped away I was advised to say my farewells and leave quickly as it would be easier for all involved.

Really? Easier for ALL involved? Not me. I wanted to stay until lunchtime just to check his little face was happy.

I went in for a second hug (which I believe to be the biggest crime you can commit as a parent dropping off your child for the first time) and walked off.

Seth’s face crumbled. Obviously I was fine because I am totally manly and don’t get emotional at these sorts of things.

Or something like that…

The morning passed slowly as I counted down the minutes until I could pick him up. Eventually, 1pm arrived.

Now, I have a theory about nurseries. I think that there might be a written guide for the staff that they have to adhere by when telling a returning parent about their child’s first day.

Regardless of how their child was during that first day the response is always the same:

Well, Parent X, I’m pleased to tell you that your son/daughter had a fantastic first day at nursery. Yes, there were a few tears when you left this morning but I can assure you that they were all gone within a few minutes of you leaving. Yes, there were points in the morning when he/she was a little bit sad but we can’t wait to welcome him/her back tomorrow.

And they tell you this, regardless of how your child got on that morning! I mean, who actually knows?! Seth was crying when I left him and seemed teary when I picked him up. That could potentially have been 4 hours of straight crying. And the nursery’s *disclaimer* sort of covers off all eventualities.

(If there are any teachers reading who can confirm or deny this, feel free to do so in the ‘comments’ section!)

To be fair, when he got home he was in a pretty good mood and he seems to have improved over the first few days so I guess it can’t have been that bad for him AND – more importantly – he’s probably forgiven me for leaving him there to start with.

Having said that, this was a picture I took this morning when I told him we were heading to nursery…

Seth Unhappy

So maybe he hasn’t!

#lad2dad lesson When you drop ‘em off, give an extra hug. Won’t improve their day but it WILL make you feel better about it!


Author: lad2dad

Dad to Daisy (aged 5) and Seth (aged 3) & Honey (aged hardly anything at all). And I chat on the radio for a living.

27 thoughts on “Nursery; Is It Worse For Me?

  1. I remember the first nursery drop off so clearly!! Your posts always make me laugh. Hopefully Seth (& you!) is getting used to it now 🙂

  2. Oh Rich… Please stop lying, of course you know that’s it’s called a clutch bag! 😂
    Seth is just adorable! As he starts to love nursery, you’ll love the free time & you’ll start to dread the holidays! Lol x

  3. Aw I was almost in tears reading this.
    Then when I saw last pic a tear dropped.
    Love reading your blog.
    and you gave the most gorgeous children.

  4. Ha I was a room manager for a nursery for over ten years it should know there fine once you leave (tears,clinging on for dear life) then once parent walks out off the room 100% fine laughing,playing but it’s a different story when shoes on the other foot I use to be like honest go your child’s safe happy content but now am like my baby omg my baby seems children know how to guilt trip us from a young age I even went earlier to see if he was okay he was having a great time!!! Seth will soon settle down the more you stay in the room pre longing it the worse it will be easier said then done but good luck hope he gets into the routine off it and starts enjoying going to nursery 🙂

  5. What you say is so true (I work in a pre-school but have also worked in nurseries). Your paragraph on the ‘standard day’ response made me laugh. It won’t be long though before he runs off to play and he won’t have time to say bye to you

  6. Hi I am a Childminder and I have worked in a nursery and yes it is probably true that he has been fine all day. They may cry for the first few min but with distraction soon get over you leaving kids are fickle! I also know that quite often it’s the lingering parents that make the child upset rater than the parent who rushes in says bye gives a kiss and leaves, short but sweet is usually the best approach. Give him a week and he will be a pro

  7. Hi Rich! I think children love to lay it on thick with our emotions, lol, an don’t be fooled as we adults really underestimate what our children know! Never the less it is still very hard to watch your child cry an throw a fit, my sisters daughter throws a wobbler when ever she leaves her as if to say “please take me to the interesting place your going” an is totally fine when she’s gone.. Hopefully he’ll slip in to his routine soon.. An you can stop buying pocket size packs of tissue!! 😂

  8. Lol, I’m sure Seth is loving nursery. My son turns 2 at the end of January and will move from the “baby room” to the “2-4 room”. He’s been there since he was 10 months old and on one of his days last week I ended up leaving him crying, but I know within a few mins he’ll have settled – or that’s what I tell myself whilst driving to work 🙂

  9. I was all ready for this kind of reaction from my son on his first day of nursery, the reality was, he didn’t even realise I’d stepped in the room with him, didn’t even say goodbye, couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Don’t know what’s worse the fact they don’t want you to leave or the fact they don’t even realise you have gone haha. Was excited to see me at the end of the day though haha. I’m sure he will settle in fine x

  10. I put my one year old into daycare very recently, and I understand your pain. She was fine until she realised I was leaving, I stayed 20 minutes until it was absolutely necessary for me to leave. This didn’t help. She screamed when I left, and was crying when I picked her up. She was like this for a month. Until I went one day, and she hadn’t noticed I had arrived and she was happily playing with the other children. It was only when I said “hello” to her she started crying! There were some days in the beginning I had to come and collect her (my commute is 90 minutes long) because she was so worked up, wouldn’t settle and couldn’t be distracted!
    After 6 weeks she stopped crying when I dropped her off, but continued to do so when I picked her up. It took a further four weeks to have no tears at all.
    Apparently this was he longest “settling-in period” they’d ever had.
    She was so bad, I just had to hand her over and leave, and cry on my university commute.
    My husband point blank refuses to take her or pick her up because of this!
    (He doesn’t want the childminder to know he had emotions) xx

  11. See my 4 never bothered. I got a see ya mum and off they ran. I was relieved there were no tears but a bit gutted they didn’t mind me leaving them lol.

  12. Poor boy, I’d have given him two extra hugs not just one. Leaving them at school for the first time is a traumatic experience for both the parents and the child. I cried all the way home when I first left my girls. Big hugs to you all….. Ps, It gets easier and then you can’t wait to get rid for a few hours 😉

  13. Loved reading this. Bless him, its tough at the beginning for him& you. But I would say you’ve been through this with your daughter and she is fine so take heart in this and realise your son will be too. As an ex nursery nurse Ive seen it loads of times and as the lady in one of the posts said, she’d observed her child playing happily who then burst into tears on seeing her. Its all normal, my theory thats a childs way to make the parent feel guilty!!

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