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Need advice on separation & 16-month-old

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  • Need advice on separation & 16-month-old

    Hello all! The AP forums have been so helpful to me in the past - I am once again needing some advice from like-minded people!

    I have a 16-month-old daughter for whom I am the primary caregiver. My husband works out of town and is home on weekends. I've been practicing AP since she was born (despite much pressure to parent differently).

    There are some things I would like - and need - to start doing for myself, such as going to the gym and going to a ladies class or church, however I have not done so until now because of the issue of leaving my daughter with child care providers at those locations. I want more than anything to preserve the precious bond she and I share and to ensure she does not feel frightened that I have abandoned her if I leave her to play.

    At church, it is an option for me to take her to the service and this is what I have done. It is very distracting for me (I cannot concentrate on the lesson at all) and for the people around us, but I am happy to do this if it will ensure my daughter feels safe, comfortable, attached, etc. There is no option at the gym, therefore I have not gone since she was born. I do miss it and would enjoy going again.

    Last Sunday I introduced her to the room that would be her play area and she reached out for the teacher without hesitation and began exploring the room. She is not having the separation anxiety responses she was having just a month ago. I do not want to push her before she is ready, and at the same time, I do not want to smother her if she is ready!

    I also need advice on how to communicate to the teachers/care providers that if she does start crying and becoming unhappy, I want her brought to me right away. I know they are used to babies crying for their parents and they are also used to distracting them or allowing them to cry. Where is the balance for this and how do I explain AP in this setting?

    Thanks so much!!!
    Kenyon

  • #2
    The good news is you are trying to find a useful balance to your needs and your childs.
    The bad news is that you are now in the highest separation anxiety period!

    I'll tell you what some people I know did. (I didn't want to go to the gym so I am no help there!)

    I don't think there is any way you can make them feel ready to stay somewhere. Depending on the child, familiarity does do wonders. Vist all the time. Go every day. Stay for a few minutes, just out the door and come right back. Think of this as practice (and also a way of testing the staff at the gym and their responses) Try a gradual withdrawl. It may take longer then 'just leaving' but you will be building her trust in this new place AND her trust that you will come back...OF COURSE you will! I think a few days or a week would be enough....I may be overestimating but I know some people think a day would be enough! You mentioned she liked the place already,,,good! She might be more distracted by other kids then if she was alone with the caregiver......You know her!
    Alternatively, finding another way to work out with her....I have no idea the kind of stuff you like to do!

    I have had the experience with caregivers not understanding that I truely DO want to know if my sons are upset. Make sure they understand exactly how many minutes you want them to try to distract...etc. They appreciate clear directions (I know I did when I watched other's children)

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    • #3
      Thanks very much - your input is always so helpful!!

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      • #4
        So what did you do? How is it going?

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        • #5
          I didn't do anything - I just decided it was more important for her to feel comfortable and confident. Tomorrow, however, she is starting Montessori school, so I'm re-reading your suggestion. We're going this afternoon for a visit and will start out with a short stay and lengthen by 15 mins each day. Thanks again for your suggestion!

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