THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS WHY THIS IS DIFFICULT FOR THEM:
The first is that Children form strong attachments to their primary caregivers, (typically mum or dad). This is a great thing, these people keep them safe and make them feel protected. When kids go to daycare or school, leave the safety of these people who protect me can feel a bit distressing and make the child feel a bit anxious. This is your child’s brain trying to protect them. Even though WE know they will be safe, their brain is saying “this is NOT safe”.
The second is that Daycare or School is a new and unfamiliar environment for children. They may feel overwhelmed by the new faces, surroundings, and routines.
Thirdly, Most young kids have a limited understanding of time and may worry that their parents won’t return. This fear of abandonment is a hard emotion to explain to a care giver. Imagine if I dropped you off somewhere new, with no map, no credit card, no phone, no watch and said “ill see you later” …… imagine the distress you might feel?
Lastly – kids go through a normal developmental stage of Separation. This tends to peak between 8 months and 2 years of age, but it can continue beyond that. It’s a normal part of a child’s development as they begin to understand the concept of object permanence—the understanding that things and people exist even when they’re out of sight.
TO HELP IMPROVE THE SITUATION, HERE ARE SOME STRATEGIES THAT CAN BE BENEFICIAL:
- Gradual Separation: Ease your child into the daycare routine by starting with shorter periods of separation and gradually increasing the duration over time. This approach helps them build trust and confidence in their ability to cope with the separation.
- Consistency and Predictability: Establish a consistent drop-off routine and communicate it to your child. Knowing what to expect can provide them with a sense of security. Reassure them that you’ll always return at the agreed-upon time.
- Familiar Objects: Encourage your child to bring a familiar object from home, such as a stuffed animal or a blanket. Having something comforting from their familiar environment can provide them with a sense of security.
- Transition Activities: Engage your child in enjoyable activities upon arrival, such as reading a book together, playing a game, or joining them in an engaging playtime activity. This can help them transition from being with you to engaging with their peers and caregivers. Staying with children and helping them to transition with your steady presence helps them to feel calm. Once they are calm and they can manage thier emotions you can give them a sense that they will be okay to leave and go play with ….. or talk to the teacher about ……. When they are feeling relaxed it will make the transition easier to move between you and the daycare teachers.
- Communication: Talk to your child about their feelings and fears. Acknowledge their emotions and provide reassurance that you understand their concerns. Encourage them to express their emotions and offer words of comfort and support. You can talk about what might happen at daycare today … “you might see Sophie today, I wonder if she will want to play with you in the sand pit today, I hope you remember to put your hat on” etc. “when I finish work, I am going to come straight back and pick you up so we can have some yummy dinner together and you can tell me who you played with and what you id today, I love hearing about your day”
- Trust the Caregivers: Develop a positive relationship with the daycare staff and communicate with them regularly. Knowing that your child is in capable and caring hands can alleviate some of your concerns, and your child may pick up on your trust and feel more secure as well.
Remember, each child is unique, and it may take time for them to adjust to daycare. Patience, consistency, and understanding are key as you work together with your child and the daycare providers to navigate this transition.