I am a working professional. My 2 years old child has just started going to a day care. He has been a secure child otherwise staying at home so far. However suddenly he has started getting crying fits when somebody steps out. He wants everybody around. It is difficult to see him cry so much. I wonder if he is not ready yet to go away from us. Should I stop the day care and continue with the home care for some more time
Often we need to take decisions on behalf of our child and for the family. Some of them could seem to be backfiring with high implications. It can be tough balancing a office bound life and the expectations of our little ones…for everybody to be around all the times. And on top of it the bugging question-Is my child ready to step out of the comfort of the home. The continuous crying of the piece of our heart can make us feel so miserable and helpless with the thought-What should I do to keep my child happy?
Now if we look at the little one from how it looks from his end. He has grown snugly around the security of known people. And suddenly he finds himself stepping into the coldness of a building with all unknown people around. He steps in holding the little finger of a trusted adult (now some kids indeed do it enthusiastically assuming it to be some play area) and slowly that fingers slips away into a bye…isn’t it enough to make a tear jerker. Now now, I am not trying to make it a guilt affair of leaving the child. My daughter has had several day care since she was 3 months old right until into her 6 years. Probably knowing how tough it is for our little ones to take those first steps into another mini world and build trust into a new set of adults can make us more empathetic towards our child, and lead us to focus where the focus should be- Their Emotions. Even we get jitters on the first day of our job, with all scanning eyes on us.
With separation comes a newly found separation and stranger anxiety in the little ones, that probably didn’t exist before. A sudden clinginess, getting so choked with emotions that they vomit right at the door step of the day care…nightmares. difficulty in sleep. And with their very little way to self regulate their emotions, their reactions come across multiplied manifold. Does it mean we reconsider the thought of sending him to a day care or later to a school (don’t we still get a lump while leaving our parent’s house!!).
Contemplate on the reasons of sending him to the day care. And once you are convinced it is suitable for him and the family, empathizing with your little one and supporting him in his endeavor can better help him in the transition. When I am into a storm, will I look for a wobbly stone or a rock solid tree. Well when our child is emotionally high, if we too react, the child has nobody else to go to.
A few questions that can help you are:
1. How does your good byes look like. Are they apprehensive, skeptical or supportive and encouraging.
2. How does your Hello look like (when you come back from office). Are they defensive, guilt ridden or positive and pleasing.
3. How is your little one when you go to pick him up from day care
4. What are different strategies that day care people have to pacify the child. (Ideally each new place should be given at least a few weeks to try to settle the child in their own way). Some places insist on few days of acclimatization with parents, some places insist on dropping away on day one itself, some places start with reduced hours, some places give CCTV camera. Either ways trust their ways for at least 3-4 weeks (once you are convinced of the credentials of the place). Share your concerns with them.
5. Overall how is the child when everybody is around (in terms of generally being in a happy frame or anxious frame).
Introspecting on these questions can help you to gain amazing insights on you and your child’s behavior and act accordingly.