Day care issues of facility policy, additional charges and late fees, and visitation rules are important issues but none seem as pertinent as the problem of separation anxiety. Few parents enjoy leaving their child with a stranger for hours at a time, and though there are benefits to child care it is hardly on your mind when faced with a child having a temper tantrum as you are trying to leave the daycare facility to head to work. So how can you ease this often temporary situation The solution lies within yourself to come up with creative and personalized ways to ease your child through one of the most difficult day care issues separation anxiety.
Not all children have day care issues such as separation anxiety. Some babies and children enjoy being around other children in a new environment, and take to daycare right away. Those parents are the lucky ones. But if you are experiencing any of the following situations at drop off time, there are changes you can make to get through this time of transition (because it will pass). Don’t mistake separation anxiety for misbehaving. Understanding your child’s fears is the first step.
Your child knows you as the source of comfort in his life and even the smallest of children will experience fear when seeing their mommy leave their surroundings and go away. What you say and how you say it can be understood by your child. If you have a baby you are nursing, try to schedule time to nurse your baby right before you leave. Holding and comforting your baby this way is a great way to make a connection, and talking to your baby helps to relax him. If you are feeling anxious about leaving your baby, he will most definitely sense this. If you have done your homework, and are confident in the environment in which you are leaving him, let this come through in your voice. Your tone of voice will reassure him you’ll be back soon and that you love him.
Your toddler invariably starts his tantrum early, before you even leave the house for the daycare center. Day care issues can impact the home environment as well but there are ways to get around this too. Start by being consistent. You have made up your mind to put your child in daycare, stick to the routine. Don’t look for ways to skip days; it won’t get your child through this transition period any smoother. Before bedtime, read storybooks that talk about daycare. Go to the library; the librarian can help you choose books geared to your child’s age. At the very least, talk to your child during story time; explain to him where you will be going and that you will be back for him when you are done working.
Day care issues such as separation anxiety can last for up to two weeks or longer depending on your child. If you feel he is he exhibiting more serious reactions at drop off time than previously or if he seems to be more upset or generally not your happy child, maybe an unannounced visit to the facility is called for. If you drop in and look around, you can help yourself get a better picture of how your child’s day is going. Maybe he is unhappy because the environment is unhealthy for him, and this is the only way he can tell you. Then it would be time to change day care facilities.