Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Reader Question: Starting Daycare with a Sensitive Baby
Sensitive Babies and Daycare
All of us have felt the pull of wanting to be with our babies when we are at work. We know how hard it is to leave babies with other caregivers however much we love and trust those caregivers. But, we also know that babies are born with a desire to learn and socialize with many people, not only their parents. Because your baby cries routinely when held by others, your baby may be quite sensitive to differences in how she is held and to overstimulation. Because your baby is so young, it is unlikely that separation anxiety is happening yet. We’ve provided tips for helping babies deal with separation in an earlier post.
As your baby gets older, she will have more tolerance for being with others, especially those who are familiar to her. Visiting the day care with the baby before the baby starts may be an option to help the baby be more familiar with the surroundings. While your baby might be fussy when you drop her off at daycare, she is likely to settle down quickly and be very excited when you return. Sometimes, she might also let you know that she was not happy that you left (but just for a short time). It will get easier once the routine is established.
Your Baby is Watching You
An important thing to consider is how you feel about your baby’s caregiver. It is important that you find someone that you trust so that you are confident that your baby will be happy with her new caregiver. Remember our posts about “social referencing?” Your baby will look at your face to see if people are “safe” or not. Having a happy, confident look when dropping your baby off, even if your baby becomes a little upset can be an important way to help your baby adjust to daycare and feel safe. Your understanding smile will let your baby know that while she is upset right now, you know she’s about to have a great day.