J.U. asks from Toms River, NJ on May 23, 2007
Hello. I have a 10 month old son who hs not had much exposure to other kids and care givers. i stayed home with him for the first 6.5 months and now i have a friend who watches just him everyday. my husband and i joined a gym which has a daycare in it. we have only been 3 times and we only for for about an hour to an hour and a half and every time my son has cried the entire time. the last time the woman actually came and got us becuse ethan cried so hard he made himself throw up! I have tried leaving him with a pacifier and when i get there i drop him off and leave (no prolonged goodbyes to make him cry more) but i have run out of ideas. he needs to get used to strangers and other kids because i plan putting him in a real daycare soon. does anyone have any suggestions how to make the transition a little easier? I am open to anything!
So What Happened?™
Thank you to everyone who gave advice. I went to the gym on friday and played with Ethan in the daycare for about 20 mins with some of his own toys. the care givers came over after a while and started playing with us and he started smiling and clapping and laughing. when he got occupied by some toys i said "see you later" and left. they said he still cried but not nearly as much. and my full time sitter said she is going to have her friends bring their children over more often so he gets used to kids. thank you for all your help!!!
J.F. answers from New York on May 24, 2007
My daughter was like this as well. I decided to go with her to the nursery and actually stay there with her (gym had to wait, too bad so sad). Initially she was scared and was clinging to me all the time but after a while (and with the help of the care takers) started to be interested in the things at the nursery). When she was really preocupied with something I simply left. It took me several weeks of staying with her until she was comfortable to let me go but it happened eventually. She would still cry when I got back to pick her up, but she was fine when I was away. The day when she didn't want to leave (sic!), was when I realized that she is ready to go to real daycare. Good luck.
M.Z. answers from New York on August 21, 2007
I know what you are going through. I have been an Early Childhood professional for over 20 years and now am a mother of three.
I use to watch parents drop off their children and ache watching them cry as they walked out the door, because their child was so upset and having a hard time transitioning into childcare.
I never had to deal with it myself until now.
Our youngest is 1 year old and I have been home with him for this past year. I noticed that every time someone tried to come near him or if I gave him to a friend to hold while I walked a foot away he would scream. I came to the conclusion he needs to be around others more.
In September I will be caring for children in my home, for me as much as for him (it's what I do). I hope that will help him have more interactions with others. I have also asked a teacher that use to work for me to help me out here and there so that I can step out of the picture even for a while.
The key is consistency! He needs to see the same face and begin to trust that person. This friend/teacher, who will be coming to help me with the children I will be watching has already begun to be a part of my son's everyday routine. He is beginning to trust her and know that she will care for him the way I do (or at least very similar to me).
It's tough seeing your baby be upset and it's harder when you feel you can't be away for a minute to have time you need.
If you do look for a place, try to find one that has that consistency. So often childcare centers don't pay a lot and the turn over is often. The other thing that happens is when there are a lot of young girls they tend to have arguments and disagreements in the room with the children around, that also adds to a child's discomfort and uneasiness. Pick a place with mature adults who have been around for a while, but not ones that are so set in their ways that your child has to do everything their way.
Sorry this is so long, I'm just passionate about making sure that parents have the knowledge they need to guide them and their child in the right direction. There is no quick fix or easy answer, you just have to find the right situation for you and try to make the adjustments to make it work for your child.
C.S. answers from New York on May 23, 2007
We had similar issues with my son. He was only used to me and my husband. I realized that was not in his best interest so, we started slowly introducing him to other people.
I would have either a grandmother or one of my friends come to the house. I would tell Joey that I had to leave him for a bit. He was safe, and he would be fine. And that mommy will be right back. I would tell him I loved him, kiss him and walk out the door. Ofcourse he would be freaking out.
They say the worst thing you could do is leave without saying goodbye. If you do that your child wont want to leave your side in fear of you disappearing.
Anyway, I would leave the house, go to Dunkin get myself a coffee, sit in my car and enjoy the 15 - 20 minutes of peace, maybe flip through a magazine. And then I would go back home. I wanted to make sure Joey would associate our good-bye with Mommy coming back again.
I think the trick to this is doing is consistently. You cant just leave for 20 minutes one time, and then he is cured. I would do this quiet often. And I would try and leave him with different people that I trusted.
He is 2 1/2 now. When we leave him, he waves bye-bye. And thats it, no scenes.
I will say that the first time we left him in babysitting at the Y while my husband and I worked out, he was a little unsure. But, he warmed up to the situation rather quickly.
Good Luck to you!
K.B. answers from New York on May 24, 2007
I have had similar issues with my last two boys. One thing you can try is to bring something of his with you. Make sure he has it in his hands when you bring him to the gym. Get him involved then a kiss and goodbye. All of my boys (I have 3) bring something with them whenever we walk out the door, still. When my almost 3 year old started going to Sunday School in September (he was a young 2 then), we had the same scene each Sunday. When I walked him into the room, he was all smiles until I said goodbye. Then the screaming and crying would start. Because I teach Sunday School to the older kids, I couldn't stay. He would stop most days after a few minutes. After the first few weeks, I would have his brother take him in and he settled much faster. Now, he walks in the door, says bye to me and in he goes. He started off at a sitters when he was 7 weeks old then when he was almost 2, we moved and I stopped working and he was with me 24 hours a day. I had to start this when he was much older than your son. It will take time and patience, but he will be able to handle being away from you. Perhaps have dad bring him into the child care at the gym. When the time comes to put him in daycare, try bringing him a few times before his "start date". Stay with him for a bit, then gradually remove yourself from the room. By the time he's ready to go full time, you'll both be more at ease. I am a firm believer of the "short" goodbye. I also never said the word goodbye to any of my boys until they were older. "I'll see you later" worked much better. It's much more open ended and not so final. This is a process and he will be okay. Good luck!
V.S. answers from New York on May 25, 2007
First of all, this is totally normal. This is the age for separation anxiety to be in full swing. This is a hard time and it's going to be a challenge for you and for the sitter. It's a lot to ask of a stranger, but just tip her well :-). The process is easier if you gradually increase the time you spend away from him. Even at home, if you put him in his playpen and leave the room for 2 minutes. Comfort him when you return, then increase to 3 minutes, then 5.. They are in the process of learning that mommy does come back. This is just a tough time to start leaving him.. but you have to do what you have to do.. You're going to have problems for a while but it is a stage, and all babies do go through it. You're not doing anything wrong by leaving him for short periods of time. I know it's hard for you and hard for the sitter, but you have to do what's right for you.