When first leaving a child with someone other than family for the first time it can be extremely difficult for both the parent and child or children. Because it is something new to them they could react by becoming upset when you leave. This is not uncommon and is known as separation anxiety. Just as anyone else would, getting used to new surroundings, people and even routines will take time but there are things that both carer and parent can do to help when dealing with separation anxiety with child care.
A child may be fine at first and continue to be comfortable for a long while. Just because they are displaying signs that they don’t want to be with any kind of carer other than yourself, it does not mean that they are not being looked after properly so do not panic. Try speaking to other parents as you will find many have been through a very similar experience with at least one of their children.
One thing many parents do is to stay as long as possible to try and reassure their child. Although this seems like a natural response it only teaches them that the behavior they are displaying is getting them what they want which is attention. Distressing as it can be the shorter time you spend saying goodbye the better it is to help a child to stop behaving in this way and gives them the reassurance that you are comfortable to leaving them there.
A great thing to do is giving them a photograph or something they relate with home. This is useful because they can take it out at any time during the time you are away from them so they do not feel so far apart from their parents and other members of their family.
Sneaking out can seem like the answer and make it easier on you, but all that shows is that you do not have confidence in the child’s ability to deal with you leaving. Your confidence in them is an important part of them getting over this stage in their life and by saying goodbye they know exactly what is going to happen even if it takes a while for them to get used to the new routine.
If there is anything that needs to be discussed with another adult, it is better to either phone up during your lunch break or do so when you go back to collect your little one. While they can see you are still there after you have said goodbye or even staying that extra time to talk over something is another way the fear of being left can be prolonged.
A good idea to help make relationships between your child and others they may have met at their day care is to arrange a play date with their parents so that they can play together and find out about what things they may have in common. It will also help them to have something to look forward to rather than dread.
In the home ensure that any television programmes that are on that are about day care in any way are positive. You may not be aware that they are taking in what is on, but it is surprising what they actually take on board. When you make the choice of what kind of day care you decide to use, think about their availability. What you do not want to happen is them being sent to different people so if taking on someone new ensure that they are looking for long term work other than short term.
If possible, before leaving children for a long while it is a great idea to have settling in periods. This can be done by visiting a nursery and before starting children full time leave them for shorter periods first so they are reassured that their mom, dad or both will be back at the end of the day to collect them without fail.
Although a child has to be told what is right and wrong they need their parents to set a good example to them. You may think that you are doing so by being overly protective but this can implant fears. Showing consistency and being there when they need you is a great but they need to be shown that they are not in control of all situations by having certain rules in place including tantrums about being left in another care.