My lovely little daughter just turned two and this has coincided with an interesting new development that I need some help with...
She goes to "school" four days a week, five hours/day. She's been going there over a year now, and really likes it -- talks about her friends and teachers at home, expresses excitement in the car on the way there. Our routine is that I pick her up at 1, we go straight home and she takes a nap. For most of the first year, I would sit in the car with her before leaving so she could nurse. For the last few months, I've been asking her to wait until we get home...and she's been frustrated some days, but mostly it's been fine.
Now, for the last two or three weeks, she has a meltdown every time we try to leave. She runs away from me and refuses to put on her boots or coat, and cries and cries. It's naptime for everybody else, and I think I feel some pressure to keep her quiet, so that makes me not as calm as I'd like to be for her. This behavior is soooo unlike her and I never see it otherwise. I get the feeling that it's not because she wants to stay at school, but it's something about the transition that has become hard for her. I was thinking that maybe we need to take more time before leaving, maybe I could ask her to show me some things that she did that day or take time to talk to her teacher with her first. The teachers are often busy trying to get the other kids down for naps.
I just feel so awful at this break in our communication. Otherwise, she's a bubbly kid who seldom has tantrums, and I am a calm mom who is practicing being assertive...
Maybe just a phase that will pass?
Maybe something to do with the nursing routine change?
Thanks for your thoughts...
It could be a phase, and frankly most kids have trouble with transitions, but there are definitely things you can do to make it go easier.
I definitely think you're right about taking more time, and exiting gracefully/slowing things down if you can. You may need her teachers to help with it too. (People who work with lots of children know that there are always going to be some kids who need a little extra support during transitions, and often have tricks to make the whole thing go more smoothly).
If she's still nursing, she may still need that to help her get through this time. If not, you may need to find a substitution for that, which could be tricky until you hit upon just the right thing.
The running away from mama game sounds totally normal for a two-year-old. You'll have to find a way to make the process of putting on her boots or coat more like a fun game (at least until she stops doing that which could take awhile).
Is there some space that's not near the napping kids where you can get ready to leave?