Results 1 to 1 of 1
14th July 2014 04:10 AM #1
Helping Your Child to Settle Happily
There comes a time, for the majority of parents, when your child needs to be left with a grandparent, friend, childcare provider or teacher. Many of us find the lead-up to this very worrying. Will our child be ok without us? How will their carer know what they need? How will we explain this time to our child - will they feel abandoned? It is normal and natural to have these concerns, and many more! It will depend on our family situation and the age of the child as to when this time for leaving them with someone else comes. When it does, here are some ways to gently prepare your child and the rest of your family for the changes ahead.
- Take it gently and slowly; this will help everyone involved to adapt. If at all possible, try to gradually phase in the time that your child is left without you. Good nurseries and childcare providers should be happy to work with you on this. For example, you could stay with them in the new setting for the first few sessions (dependant on how your child adapts to the new environment), then leave them for 30 minutes, then an hour etc. If it is a family member or friend who will be caring for your child then they could come to your own home and spend more time with your child and their toys there.
- Saying that, don't try and prepare too far in advance. Sometimes mums try to wean their child early because they are worried how they will get on being cared for by another adult (who doesn't supply breastmilk on demand) or parents may try to get their child to be more independent than they are ready for. The evidence, however, shows that a good attachment with mum and dad helps a child to settle easier away from a parent. It is a strong attachment which will give a child the confidence to grow in independence in their own time.
- Elizabeth Pantley in The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution gives some helpful advice on this subject when she writes that any single period of time away from mum and dad is never a 'make or break' situation. In other words, it doesn't help to think of a particular session as the session that your child has to be left no matter what. Your child will settle eventually and in the meantime there will be times that they may not want to be away from you and this is ok. If at all possible they don't have to be left during one of these unsettled times. This can help to reassure your child to know that if they are feeling particularly in need of you then you can still be there for them.
- Carefully choose your childcare provider. Ask other local parents about their opinions and experiences (you don't have to take them all onboard). Read reports on the childcare providers. Look round and don't be afraid to ask anything and everything you need to. Take up trial sessions if they are on offer. You should be happy with the overall philosophy and care of the childcare provider.
- When it starts to lead up to the time that your child will be left; books, stories and pictures can really help to prepare your child. The more your child is able to understand about what is going on the more confident they will be in the whole experience. Talk positively to your child about what will happen. Try to answer all of their questions honestly and openly.
- Expect there to be a period of adaption for everyone. Things will get easier with time. It's important to be kind to yourself too. Don't make yourself feel guilty. It can help if you can get an update from the person who is caring for your child during the session.
Last edited by ljmarsden; 14th July 2014 at 04:14 AM.