When I worked as a child minder, I found that most of the new child minded children settled in remarkably quickly. I have written, in more detail, about a particular child, who took a little longer, in another blog post, titled “child minding tales – separation anxiety”
I think, it is actually more distressing for the parent than for the child, when they first start going to a new child minder. Some parents ask if they can stay for a while, but i find that this can just prolong the upset (for the parent)
In my experience, a child may cry as the parent goes to leave and as soon after they are out of sight they stop crying and start playing.
They have a great day and then sometimes cry again when mum arrives to collect them, this time because they don’t want to go home! This must be very upsetting to witness, as the adult thinks her child has been miserable all day, so I always mention this scenario at the first interview, if the parents seem concerned.
I often encouraged another child, who had been with me for a while, to help with settling in a new child. For example, I would suggest to the established child, that he show the new child, where we hang up our coats.
Children often take more easily to other children, than to adults. Using this method, also gives the original child a sense of responsibility, which makes them feel good about themselves.
I had one 4 year old, who was particularly good at helping me with this task. He was very interested in a six month old baby, who had just started in my setting. We were having lunch together, one day, as I offered the baby a spoonful of his dinner and he opened his mouth wide, like a baby bird.
The older boy suddenly noticed that the little one didn’t have any teeth “Oh, look Karen, he has lost all his teeth!” hew exclaimed, in shock. I explained that the baby hadn’t lost his teeth and that because he was still a baby his teeth hadn’t come through yet. Every morning, after that the boy would ask, as he arrived if the baby had grown teeth yet!
On a similar subject; another child (this time a girl) was very taken with a new younger child. About 6 months or so after the older child had started with me, the younger one started walking, for the first time. I never told a parent, if their child took it’s first step while with me, as I wouldn’t want to rob them of that precious moment. The older child was so excited, her mum actually thanked me the following day, saying that when her Daddy had come home from work she couldn’t wait to tell him what had happened while she was at her child minders that day. Her mum went on to say, that as her daughter was their youngest and they didn’t plan on having any more children, she would never have had this experience. She also attended a pre school, but as all the children there were of a similar age to this girl, she wouldn’t get to see anything as exciting there.
As I have already mentioned most children settle with a new child minder quite quickly and easily. It amazes me how when I took a new child to a toddler group session, with many other ladies present; they seemed to instantly know, it was me they had to return to after playing in a group with other children.
I had several of my minded children for many happy years, often when they left to go on to nursery or school, a younger sibling would take their place. Sometimes the older child, would return during the school holidays, meaning even more fun!
As always comments/questions are welcome.