17-month-old says No to daycare. Should I listen? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-20-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 17-month-old has stayed home with me and her dad until now, with an occasional babysitter or family member. I recently started to bring her to daycare for 2 days a week for 2 hours a day. The first day she cried a lot there and was visibly traumatized when I picked her up (I have never seen her so upset and relieved to see me before). Next time I spent some time there with her, then left, and when I was back she was crying again though not nearly as bad. She is actually very social and LOVES her babysitter and other caregivers we've had and she loves other kids (when there is an adult person she is attached to). Anyway, my question is this: I tried to bring her to daycare last week and today, and both times she started crying right away when she saw where we parked. When I took her out of the car and actually protested (she ALWAYS wants to be out of the car normally) and tried to climb back into her carseat. Both times I respected her No's and left. Am I giving in? OR am I respecting her decision? Maybe it is too early for her? I don't have to use daycare, my main reason was for her to get social interaction and for me to have time for myself.

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Old 03-20-2012, 03:14 PM
 
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Since you don't need her to be in daycare (for work, etc), it ultimately comes down to how much you need some time on your own (and your need for alone time is a very valid reason if it makes you a better mama the rest of the time). 

 

Our daughter was 2.5 years when we started her in Montessori preschool four mornings per week.  She started out great and didn't even look back on days 1 and 2, but was upset about going (crying at drop off, clingy-ness with her teacher, etc) on days 3-9, but then back to enjoying it and not looking back from day 10+.  My husband stays home with her and our son (6 months old at the time) so she didn't need to go either, but because of the baby's needs she probably would have spent a lot of the time at home in front of the tv.  I know our little one would have reacted the same way, and we would have reconsidered our decision.  That said, my nephew who began daycare at age 1 because my sister went back to work reacted similarly to your daughter for the first week, and then loved it after that.

 

Some information from our good friend (who has a graduate degree in child development) and then her preschool teacher that helped us at the time (and aided our decision to wait until she was 2.5):

 

1.  Young children don't need to be "socialized"...they're not playing with other kids until they're older (4+) and just parallel playing until that point.

 

2.  Children going to school often show what our friend called the "Disneyland WEffect"....fun for the first few days and then dislike once the novelty wears off (although it sounds like your daughter never showed this).

 

3.  Two days isn't really enough time in a week for them to get into a routine....our preschool teacher suggested at least three days, and preferably four.

 

Good luck...so tough.  I know my husband is so grateful that she took to it soon after starting (and that we didn;t pull her out immediately, which we seriously considered)...he really needed a bit of a break, and its allowed him to spend time with our son on his own.

 

 


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Old 03-20-2012, 06:59 PM
 
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I would never leave my child in a daycare if they were that upset.  

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Old 03-20-2012, 08:54 PM
 
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Hi and welcome to MDC! I worked in child care for many years and have to say, 17 months is probably the worst time to start a child in care. Anytime between 1 and 2 is very, very difficult. They are too young to understand why they are being left with strangers and that Mommy will always come back. As the pp said, toddlers do not socialize; they engage in parallel play, which means they will play side by side. Is there another way you can get your Mommy-time? Maybe the trusted babysitter. 

 

If you would like to keep trying at the center, here are some of tips:

 

1. Do everything you can to make the two days in a row. It is really hard even until young preschool for most children to have a gap in days. We never recommended it to parents and avoided it unless the parent's schedule was not flexible. If you have already set up the days and think you may get some resistance, explain to management that your daughter is having a very difficult time and you are trying to make her successful. A quality center will do what they can to accommodate you (but remember they may be under restraints regarding class size and child-teacher ratios.)

 

2. Be very positive when you drop her off. Children, especially our own, pick up on our feelings. Even if you start crying right outside the door-keep it positive for her. Try to engage her in an activity or with a teacher before you leave (no sneaking out as tempting as it is-it builds distrust.)

 

3. Tell her something like "Mommy will be back after snack (or other major event)." You may not think she can understand but the repetition will assure her and she will put it together quickly. It also gives the teachers some words to use with her throughout the day. Then make sure you are there when you said you will be.

 

4. This can be hard when you are not working, but she will have a much better time if she has a consistent drop off and pick up time. It will reassure her to know what the expect when coming into the classroom. Since you have some flexibility, presumably, try to avoid the rush times. The teachers can tell you when those are.


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Old 03-21-2012, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the replies. My intuition says I should not force her to go to the daycare if she protests that much. I think the problem here is that caregivers there don't go out of their way to pay attention to her the way we and our babysitters do. They kind of let her be just one of the other 5-6 kids (and there are two teachers - so it is a great ratio, by the way). By no means am I blaming the daycare staff, they are great with kids. But I think my daughter is used to a different kind of interaction with adults. More her-focused, I guess. That is one of the reasons I thought that daycare might be good for her - to get introduced to type of care other than the always-available mommy-daddy-sitter.

 

In any case, I just don't want to drag her out of the car, it feels wrong to administer that kind of violent authority. On the other hand, what if she won't be able to leave my side forever? What if she turns into a clingy and dependent preschooler :-) I don't actually believe this, but the fearful thought is there.

 

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Old 03-21-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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If you don't need it, but still need time to your self, I would stay stick to the babysittiers for now. At home might better. My son is 18 months and is in a very clingly stage, he is only happy with a few people, so we are kind of stuck with only one babysitter right now. But its worth it. I like what the PP said about pre-school, maybe wait till she is old enough for a program like that. 


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Old 03-21-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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I put my daughter in daycare around 18 months old, and she hated it - cried when i dropped her off, etc...

 

About 8 months in I walked in to her classroom unannounced and saw the teacher hitting another child.

 

Needless to say - she never went back.

 

I say: She's old enough to communicate to you that she doesnt like it there - and even if you dont know her reasons - you should listen.

 

 


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Old 03-21-2012, 01:43 PM
 
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PS - She's 17 months old - it's OK and maybe even a good thing for her to be "clingy" - to me, that means you are doing something right! :)


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Old 03-21-2012, 03:48 PM
 
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You did the right thing by listening to your child and your instincts.

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Old 03-21-2012, 05:40 PM
 
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I absolutely think you are doing the right thing by listening and responding to her. I also think that by allowing children that little to be with caregivers who they feel bonded and safe will actually make them MORE secure when they are older- so it won't create a kid who is clingy more than they should be- but more a kid who is bonded to you and feels safe so that is a good thing.

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Old 03-21-2012, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am realizing that the reason I asked my question in this forum was to make sure that I am doing what is best for her in the long run. Some child development "experts" say that it is better for children to start daycare early because it makes them a bit tougher :-) Some say that it makes them less secure. As much as I am baby-centered and "granola" mom, I don't have experience with little kids besides my own little one. So all of your responses are very valuable. It is great to hear confirmation that going by mama intuition is OK :-)

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Old 03-22-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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I do agree that you did the right thing, I had a mother who always didn't believe me or do anything, in relation to abuse, so I know first hand it is very important to listen to your children's cues. 


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Old 03-22-2012, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually do not think that there is any physical abuse at the daycare. I do think that the lead teacher can be kind of psychologically tough with kids, especially the needy/whiny/screamy ones. He is great with a bit older kids who can talk but he seems to have limited empathy with the little ones who are upset. I think she is just not comfortable there because her needs are not being met on some level. I do want her to be more independent and I want to trust that it will come with the support she receives from me/dad.

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Old 03-22-2012, 07:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maramama View Post

I actually do not think that there is any physical abuse at the daycare. I do think that the lead teacher can be kind of psychologically tough with kids, especially the needy/whiny/screamy ones. He is great with a bit older kids who can talk but he seems to have limited empathy with the little ones who are upset. I think she is just not comfortable there because her needs are not being met on some level. I do want her to be more independent and I want to trust that it will come with the support she receives from me/dad.

 I wasn't insinuating there was any type of abuse, I was just using an my life experience as an example, guess it was a little to extreme. Regardless of abuse or not, we should always listen to our children.
 

 


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Old 03-22-2012, 08:28 PM
 
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just curious as to why you want your 17 month old to be more independant? This is still a baby age- or young toddler but to me it is still a baby age- and this is not an age that they should be independent. They are dependent on us by nature and it is the right tme for them to be that way!

Or maybe you just mean you eventually want her to have a good strong sense of self as she gets older? I really do think that comes from being connected and bonded to a good trusted caregiver (such as a parent). This is not the age they need to learn independence- it is the age they need to watch someone they trust living their life, and have someone teach them the basics of how this whole thing works. One book that I recommend on this subject is kind of an old book and I don't see it aruond too much but it is called magical child. It talks about how the first few years the primary relationship of the child is with the parent (or primary caregiver) and it is only after a few years that the child can even see themselves as independent from the parent- and much more.

http://www.amazon.com/Magical-Child-Joseph-Chilton-Pearce/dp/0452267897/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332474488&sr=1-1

here is a link to it.

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Old 03-22-2012, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just curious as to why you want your 17 month old to be more independant?


Good question. Maybe because independence is SOOOO valued in our over-independent society. Even though I read books like Continuum Concept and try to go with attachment-parenting, the cultural messaging is still in my head. Arrghh.

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Old 03-23-2012, 06:13 AM
 
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well I think it is great that you are questionining it all, listening to your instinct and trying to do the best thing for your child.

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Old 03-25-2012, 09:09 PM
 
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My son is 18 months and is very much asserting his independence already. The only thing I do to "encourage" it is to not interrupt him when he is really engaged in something. I wait till he stops the activity or is switching to something else, if I need him for something... 

 

I think this is an age where kids first start being independent for short brusts, but it should be of thier own lead. I think you did the right thing pulling her out. 


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Old 03-26-2012, 01:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maramama View Post


 


Good question. Maybe because independence is SOOOO valued in our over-independent society. Even though I read books like Continuum Concept and try to go with attachment-parenting, the cultural messaging is still in my head. Arrghh.

I am reading Continuum Concept too! I agree, there is a strange and unnatural interest in early independance in our society. 
 

 

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Old 03-26-2012, 01:26 PM
 
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I have to agree with PammySue about the age. My children were both in child care at earlier ages because of my need to work outside the house. (8 months and 3 months) I remember when toddlers were introduced to their classes between 15 and 18 months and it was a very difficult transition. However, I know they were in child care for a full day and by pick-up at the end of the day, they were often playing well (when I saw them). I happen to think our child care center was/is fabulous, specifically for the younger ages. Perhaps independence isn't what I would identify most with the experience, but practical life skills. The children really learned community and self-help skills that I don't know if I would have been able to do alone.

 

I agree with consecutive days and maybe longer days if that is possible. That would allow the child to have more time to acclimate each day before going home. If she still isn't feeling great about it when you pick her up, she won't get to appreciate the program.

 

When we went through a tough transition period with my older child (now 6) he was around 2 and I talked to the teacher about developing a routine. I would walk him in and read a book and then leave. He did cry, but it was less and less as he got used to the consistency. At the same time of this challenge, it was also hard to get him to leave to go home. I think the main issue was transition from one place to the next. It wasn't as much about me as I thought.


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Old 03-26-2012, 01:52 PM
 
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I'm sorry I haven't read the other replies, but I wanted to say that the way you introduce your child to daycare and having a long adjustment period is crucial in making it an easy transition. Our son started part-time daycare at 11 months and we did a very slow adjustment period and had no problems. We use in-home private daycare where there are only 3 other kids. For two months (unpaid) I went there with him for one hour one afternoon a week. I stayed in the room with him while he played and checked back in with me that it was all ok. Then, once the official time began and we were paying "customers" I took him there for one hour in the morning and stayed with him in the room...maybe for one week (I forget by now). Then for a few days I would bring him there, stay for a few minutes and then go in the other room. Then after a few days of that I went along with them to the playground (what they do after the hour of free play in the morning) and stayed on a nearby bench while they all played. After a few days of that, I went to the playground but then left for an hour....for a couple days. Then I came back and went back to the daycare and had lunch with them for a few days (still leaving him there at the playground with them for an hour). You get the idea. It was v...e....r....y    s....l...o...w and DS barely noticed as, every few days, I was more and more in the background. After a couple months I was able to leave him there for the full day with no problems. I also talked to him about the daycare provider and he saw me interacting with her and that I liked her and she was our "friend". It's real important that the child sees and feels a bridge from you to the daycare providers, that they aren;t just random strangers.

 

For us one of the main credentials of the daycare provider was that he or she was supportive of a long and gradual adjustment period. We knew we'd found the right one when she herself invited us to bring him by before we'd even officially started paying just so he could get to know her and get adjusted slowly. While most providers may not be so accomodating, I would steer clear of anyone who wants you to just leave your child there from one day to the next. The adjustment period is essential and IMO most kids can adjust fairly easily given enough time and having the "bridge" built.

 

Good luck!


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Old 03-29-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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Seperating anxiety is really high at that time. If she doesn't need to be there, I wouldn't put her in right now, wait until she is a bit older and see how she does then. And while the don't really play with each other like older kids do (though there is some) there definitely is social interaction, but it isn't something they need at that age typically.

If you do need her to be there, then as other suggested, consistant drop off and pick up times, 3-4 days in a row a week, etc. will all help it to become a routine for her. But yeah, my daycare providers said it is so hard for any kid to start at that age, it's much better to start sometime well between the big seperation anxiety phases. Even my DD who has been in daycare since she was 4 months when she got to those seperation anxiety ages would need more love and attention and would sometimes cry when I left her with caregivers she had come to know and love, much harder for a kid who doesn't know the caregivers yet, especially if it sounds like they aren't giving her some extra loving.

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