So this morning I got a call from a friendly mom from around town that had asked before if I would be interested in take her child from a while during the days she works. Of course I was happy to say yes, and the call came this morning asking if she could have a "trail" with her little one coming here for a few hours to see how he would react. After all was said and done, the little man was great, no whine, cry or tear from him. After talking with his mom for a while about how children can sometimes get very upset with going to daycare, I thought it would be a great topic to blog about a bit. I know personally that taking your child to daycare for the first time, tenth time, or one hundredth time, can be as hard as ever. And if they cry, it just makes it even worse on you. I remember dropping my two oldest children off at daycare and my little girl crying when I left, as I walked to the car I would cry along with her, it just breaks your heart. I knew she was in good hands because the lady look after my children was a good long time friend of ours, the children knew her well but that didn't matter when it came to leaving and my daughter crying. Now that I am on the other side of the fence somewhat, I find it just as hard. I am there with them as they are crying for mommy or daddy, but at the same time, I know how mommy or daddy are feeling too. When taking on a new child for care its just as hard for me as it is for the parents and the child themselves. I worry about the fact is this child going to lose it when the parent leaves, I am going to be able to calm them down if so. What if they don't like it in my care, will I be looked down on as a bad care giver? There are many different things I worry about the first few days, even up to a week with a new child. You have to teach them the rules, guide lines, and do's and don'ts of my own house and business, but at the same time you don't want to totally change a young ones life so fast that they aren't sure what is up from down. So you have to take the time to incorporate both lifestyles for the child for some time, until they are comfortable with you and their new surroundings.
I remember reading over some information on separation anxiety while doing some of my studying for an online child care course. I went looking through my books to refresh my memory and I thought I would share some in site on why children do this as their parents leave after dropping them off at daycare.
It is totally normal for a infant or young children to cry when separated from their parents, they simply are unable to understand that their parents will return for them later on. The reason they don't want you to leave is that you are the one they trust, the person whom knows them and understands their unique style of emotions and communication. They don't know and understand at first that some one else will also be able to keep them safe and respond to their needs. This is why adjusting to child care can take some time. Children need to learn through experience that you will come back for them and that the people/person taking care of them are safe, responsive to their needs and nurturing.
Other reasons a child might cry when being dropped off at daycare my be that the childcare situation is not a good match for them. This may simply be that the program is to busy and stimulating for your child if he or she is a quieter temperament person or even that the style of the caregiver is not comfortable for your child. There are times even good programs or day cares aren't a good fit for every child. This could be reversed too and that maybe the program isn't stimulating enough for you child either, and its not meeting their needs. The needs and comforting of a child might not be met if there are too many children, not enough teachers/care givers for the amount of children, too small of a space, to large of a space, inappropriate or inadequate materials for your own child's needs.
The schedule of the day may not be tailored to your child's needs if younger or older then the planned activities are set for. a program that is so structured that the individual needs of children for food, sleep, play, care giving, and interaction aren't being met is not a healthy place for children to spend their time, and often this frustrates your child and they learn for that feel and get upset when having to be left for any length of time.
Some tips on helping you child adjust to a daycare:
- carefully check-out and child-care situation before you enroll you child. You are the one whom knows your child the best, so if you know the daycare program you might be able to view whether it may be to stimulating or not stimulating enough for your child.
- help your child make the adjustment gradually. You may want to go with your child once or twice and stay there for a bit with them. Once they get to know the place, try taking them for short periods of time (1 to 3 hours) by themselves to see how the react while you are gone. Once your child has been in the care of another person for a few times, it will make dropping the off a little easier sometimes when you are gone for a full day.
- work towards consistency in a schedule. This isn't just in the daycare but the routine before going to daycare can help set your child for the day. Try to keep the routine as predictable as possible, infants and young children can't actually tell time, but if they stay with a routine the learn to know when they are dropped off at day-care that mom or dad will be back to pick them up later.