CRYING BEFORE DAYCARE
I have a very small daycare and one of the parents is worried that her 1½ year old son is crying and doesn't want to come to daycare. He has been with me for almost a year, cried in the beginning and then was fine. Why is he starting again? Am I doing something wrong that I am not aware of?
He goes to church or playgroup and runs off to play, doesn't cry. Please help, I don't know what to tell his mother.
Hi Megan. My name is Penny Davis and I am part of the team that answers questions sent to the website. I read the comments that Jane forwarded to you from our Associate, Melanie Miller, who had answered a similar question awhile back about a 4 year old.
I totally concur with Melanie’s insight, and with her suggestions. Her comments with regard to changes might be very helpful for you, as the care provider. In addition to the questions about potential safety problems with other children, for an 18-month-old, even the addition of a new child to your home might result in him feeling replaced, in some way. For example, you may be caring for a new, younger baby that demands more of your attention, or there might be a new, older child in the home who might be perceived as being more ‘important’, since they have more advanced skills, etc.
With children of this age (between one and two), there is also lots of internal ‘struggle’ between the need to be close to the primary caregiver, and the need to move into independence. Often, church and playgroups are more ‘occasional’ and for shorter times than actual childcare settings. Again, Melanie’s suggestions regarding simply understanding and allowing the feelings are spot-on. Having you acknowledge his feelings without trying to ‘fix’ them…saying something like ‘You’re sad/mad etc that you had to come to my house today’ can be very valuable in learning to understand emotions.
I doubt that you are doing anything wrong – you are just witnessing a child moving through something that is, temporarily, a bit uncomfortable. As long as both you and his mom are loving him, allowing his feelings and showing faith in his ability to carry on through adversity, you are helping him learn a very necessary life skill.
Best of luck to you, and kudos for the work that you do, which is so important in the lives of our little ones.