There is nothing more heartbreaking than dropping your child off and seeing them upset. Over the past few weeks I have been talking to so many parents about how bad they feel about leaving them and going to work. There are so many arguments out there about childcare. What’s right and what’s wrong and at what age is crèche suitable.
I have read so much research and indeed conflicting arguments from experts and psychologists alike. We all have different circumstances and reasons for making our decisions. No two families or indeed children are the same. The past few weeks have been extremely tough for a lot of parents but we all need peace of mind to get through the day.
The one thing our kids fear most is that you will leave them and not come back so don’t be tempted to slip away without saying goodbye and reassure them you will be back later.
“Separation anxiety is common for both parents and children.” Says Aisling Ni Dhoibhlinn from The Toddler Inn. “It’s quite traumatic saying goodbye to your tiny and defenceless child. You should make sure your child knows that you, or whoever is dropping them off, will come back.”
Teachers expect children to be upset on the first day and over the first few weeks and they are well versed and often experienced in looking after upset children. Most of the time children don’t cry for as long as you imagine they will. James gets upset a lot of mornings but not long after I leave I peep back in and he’s running around playing dinosaurs. He often doesn’t want to come home in the afternoon, which leaves me reassured he’s happy.
Try and bring your child in confidently, with a big smile and wish them well. Cry around the corner when you leave (like me) but try not to let them feel your anxiety.
It’s crucial during this time that the lines of communication are open between yourself and your crèche. I don’t care how good you think your crèche/preschool is your child must be happy there.
Try reading your child a story like “The back to School Tortoise”, by Lucy M George. It shows how even though we all worry about situations, they usually turn out to be a lot more fun than we first thought. I find reading a great way of communicating with kids. I often make up my own stories about my first day at school and James loves how brave listening to how brave I used to be (yes I’m a superhero in my stories).
James just got a worry monster that gobbles up all your worries. It is without a shadow of a doubt the best toy I have ever bought. The Sorgenfresser are from Germany and are especially designed with a zipped mouth so little ones can share their dreams, nightmares and worries with a soft and cuddly friend. You simply write down the sorry and unzip the mouth and the worry monster gobbles it up! It’s a great toy for all ages because sometimes it can be difficult to tell an adult about a trouble or worry, but writing it down can really help. Once they’ve got it on paper, children can pop it into Sorgenfresser’s mouth and zip it shut. That’s where their worry will stay, safe and sound. I remove the worry during the night and when James wakes up I can see the relief when his worry is gone. Sorgenfresser are also great listeners. Whether kids are scared of spiders or worried about a school bully, they are there.
At James age I write the worry down for him or going one step further we use our imagination and fill his mouth full of all our secret worries. It has worked so well for all types of anxieties including going to the toilet and moving into a new classroom.
For older kids it can also work well as writing down your worries and problems at any age is a great form of therapy and a great release. Having suffered from depression for years one of the most important therapy tools in my opinion is writing things down. If you find it difficult to communicate and let’s face it sometimes we all do the worry monster can help.