Mommy (or Daddy) Only

Written by: Gail Conway

Five tips to help your child ease into being cared for by someone else

1. Regularly share caretaking routines and playtime activities with other trusted people when you are there. Encourage others to hold and engage your child. Your child looks to you as his or her emotional barometer. Your tone of voice and body language will reinforce the idea that it’s OK to be in the arms of this relative or friend. Stay within sight so your child knows you are quickly available. Over time, you will be able to move out of sight and stay away for longer periods of time. Your child will learn to trust and enjoy other caretakers.

2. Prepare the caregiver. Be sure to tell the caregiver about your child’s routines, likes and dislikes. Be specific. If your child likes grilled cheese sandwiches and holds one piece in each hand, ask your caregiver to cut the sandwich in half.

3. Help children anticipate the transition. Introduce the idea of a new caregiver with a social story. Describe how you will all greet the caregiver, what will happen while you are away (i.e., play with toys, take a bath) and how you will greet your child with a big hug when you come home again. Keep it simple.

4. Minimize changes to your child’s routine during the transition.

5. Take comfort in knowing your child will learn valuable lessons from each caretaker. Caretakers offer learning experiences for both you and your child. Recognize the lessons and rich histories trusted caretakers bring to your family. My children learned new vocabulary words, tried new foods (that I had tried previously) and even how to go down the stairs feet first holding hands.

Chicago families share fantastic advice on how to navigate parenting in the city in our NPN Parent to Parent blog posts. Download the full NPN fall issue to read more! Did you receive your Parent to Parent copy at home?  If not, visit My Account and change your mailing preferences.

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 10:01 PM