There are a lot of feelings, decisions, and challenging situations that come with the end of maternity leave, and if you are getting ready to go back to work soon after becoming a mother, you may be having a hard time dealing with all of these things. You may be experiencing that age-old feeling that every mother who has ever had to leave her child, even to go hunt down food or something, has felt: Will my baby have feelings of abandonment when I return to work? In addition to finding a caregiver, rearranging schedules, and preparing backup plans, you may also be experiencing that feeling.
The answer to that question is "no," and we should count ourselves fortunate that it is. When you go back to work, your kid will not have the impression that you have abandoned them. The primary reason for this is that they are still young and have no concept of what it means to be employed, but another reason is that you are a wonderful mother who adores her child regardless of the circumstances. Your infant will continue to receive tender, reliable care throughout this process. Continue reading to learn more about how you may make your return to work less difficult for both of you.
Allow yourself to feel all the feelings
To begin with the most important: You need to give yourself plenty of time to process all of the feelings associated with going back to work, and this is especially important if this is your first child. Whatever you choose to do — whether it's talking to friends who have already been through it, talking to your partner about how you might need some extra support and time to get through the transition, scheduling an appointment with your therapist to make sure you're checking in with your mental health, or journaling your feelings — make sure you acknowledge that the feelings you're experiencing are normal, natural, and even healthy. Come see the learning, and feel the love, inside our Early Learning communities.Check us out!
You are not failing at anything if the thought of returning to work fills you with fear, and you are not a terrible mother if the prospect of going back to work fills you with excitement. Both of these feelings are acceptable and extremely typical.
Reframe your work
Setting the tone for how you talk about work now may make a difference in how your child views you working in the future. This may sound silly, considering your baby is only an infant right now (assuming you are like most American women who go back to work within weeks of giving birth), but setting the tone for how you talk about work now may make a difference.
If your child's first experience with your job is hearing you apologise for going, moan about how terrible it is to be apart from him, or complain about your schedule, then there is a good chance that your child may begin to view your job as something negative on their own. Even if you aren't exactly finding fulfilment in your current job, talking to your child about how you go to work from a young age can help both of you see it for what it really is: a normal part of your routine that makes the rest of your life possible. If you are conscious of how you frame this discussion, you can help your child see it in this light.
During a child's preschool and kindergarten years, it is typical for good-byes to be fraught with tears and temper tantrums. Around the age of one, many children start to experience separation anxiety, which manifests as tantrums if a parent makes an attempt to leave them with another person.
Even while it's a totally natural aspect of a child's growth to experience separation anxiety, it can still be upsetting. Understanding what your child is going through and being prepared with a few different coping skills can, however, help you and your child get through this difficult time together.
About Separation Anxiety
Babies are quite good at adjusting to being cared for by new people. Obviously, parents experience significantly more worry than their children do when they are separated from them. However, as long as their requirements are met, the majority of infants younger than six months adapt quickly to the presence of other people.
Babies develop what's called a "object permanence" sense between the ages of 4 and 7 months. They come to the understanding that things and people continue to exist even when they cannot be seen. Babies quickly learn that the absence of their mother or father indicates that they have gone somewhere else. Because they are unable to comprehend the idea of time, they are unaware of when their mother will return, which causes them to experience distress in her absence. It doesn't matter to the baby where mum is—whether she's in the kitchen, the bedroom next door, or even at work—she may continue to fuss until she is back within hearing distance. Children who are between the ages of eight months and one year are beginning to show signs of becoming autonomous toddlers but are becoming considerably more anxious about being separated from a parent. When this happens, a kid may start to experience separation anxiety, and if a parent tries to leave, the youngster may become upset.
Whether you need to move into the next room for just a few seconds, leave your child with a sitter for the evening, or drop your child off at daycare, your child may now react by sobbing, clinging to you, and avoiding the attention from others. This could be the case regardless of the situation. The onset of separation anxiety might occur at any point in time. Some children may not go through it until much later, between the ages of 18 months and 212 years. Some people will never go through it. And for other people, feelings of worry about being separated from a parent might be triggered by specific stresses in life, such as a new childcare arrangement or caregiver, the introduction of a new sibling, relocating to a new location, or conflict at home.
How Long Does It Last?
The duration of a kid's separation anxiety can vary widely, depending not just on the child but also on the response of the parent. It is possible for a child to suffer from separation anxiety from the time they are an infant all the way through the elementary school years, depending on the child's personality.
If an older child's separation anxiety interferes with their typical activities, this may be an indication of a more serious anxiety problem. Anxiety about being alone may be a symptom of another issue, such as bullying or abuse, if it suddenly manifests itself in an older child out of the blue. The sentiments that are natural for older children to experience when they don't want a parent to leave are not the same as separation anxiety (which can usually be overcome if a child is distracted). And children are aware of the impact that this has on their parents. Your child will continue to utilise this strategy to avoid being separated from you if you give in to their screams every time they do so or if you cancel your plans every time they do so.
What You Might Feel
If you suffer from separation anxiety, you may experience a wide range of feelings. It's comforting to imagine that your kid will eventually feel the same kind of attachment to you that you do to them. On the other hand, you could experience feelings of guilt when you take time off for yourself, when you leave your child with a caregiver, or when you go to work. In addition, the quantity of attention that your child appears to require from you may start to make you feel as like you are drowning in it.
Bear in mind that the fact that your child does not want to part ways with you is an indication of the development of secure attachments between the two of you, which is a very positive development. Your child will eventually be able to recall the fact that you always come back after leaving, and this knowledge alone will provide sufficient solace to them while you are gone. In addition, this offers children the opportunity to practise coping skills and gain some degree of independence.
Making Goodbyes Easier
These suggestions will help make things easier for both children and their parents during this trying time:
- Timing is of the utmost importance. When your child is between 8 months and 1 year old, which is the age range in which separation anxiety is most likely to first occur, try not to start daycare or childcare with a person who is unfamiliar to you. You should also make an effort to avoid leaving when your child is sleepy, hungry, or irritable. You should try to time your departures so that they occur after meals and naps if at all possible.
- Practice. Get some practise being away from each other and take it easy when meeting new people and going to new places. If you are going to leave your child with a relative or a new babysitter, you should invite that person over in advance so that they can get to know each other and spend some time together while you are in the room with them. Before your child starts attending a new daycare centre or preschool on a regular basis, you should take them there for a few family outings before committing to their new routine.
You should get your child used to spending time away from you by giving them opportunities to do it in short increments while they are in the care of another adult. Looking for an early learning centre in Sydney ? Then Little Angels early learning centre is what you’re looking for.
- Maintain your composure and be constant. Establish a parting rite in which you can say your goodbyes in a way that is caring but uncompromising. Maintain your composure and show your youngster that you have faith in them.
Assure them that you will be there when they need you again, and explain when that will be using language and ideas that children can grasp (such as after lunch). When you say goodbye, give it your complete attention, and when you say you're leaving, really mean it; turning around and going back won't change the situation for the better.
- Keep your word and provide what you promised. It is essential that you keep your word and come back at the time that you said you would. This is an extremely important step since it will help your child build the confidence that they can get through the time apart even without you.
It's Only Temporary
Keep in mind that this stage won't last forever. On the other hand, if your child has never been looked after by anyone other than you, if they are naturally reserved, or if they are dealing with other difficulties, their separation anxiety may be more severe than that of other children.
Additionally, have faith in your gut impulses. Take, for instance, the scenario in which your kid flat-out refuses to go to a particular babysitter or daycare centre and also demonstrates other indicators of stress, such as having difficulties sleeping or losing their appetite. In that instance, there can be an issue with the arrangement for the child care services.
If your child's acute separation anxiety continues through preschool, primary school, or beyond, and it interferes with daily activities, you should talk to their doctor about it. It's possible that you have a condition called separation anxiety disorder, which is quite uncommon but far more problematic. Children who suffer from this condition frequently have the unshakeable conviction that their worst fears will come true if they become separated from their families. Have a conversation with your child's physician if you see any of the following symptoms in him or her:
- panic symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, or shortness of breath) or panic attacks before a parent leaves
- nightmares about separation
- fear of sleeping alone (although this is also common in kids who don't have separation anxiety)
- excessive worry about being lost or kidnapped or going places without a parent
Babies experience distress when they are abandoned for extended periods of time. It's possible that a lifetime of feeling miserable and unworthy could be caused by a lack of physical contact and attention. When a parent sends off their child at daycare, the message that goes unstated is, "Your requirements are not significant. You don't matter." Children draw their own conclusions about the world based on their experiences; newborns who are abandoned develop to believe things like, "If no one loves me, I must not be deserving of love." (Could this be a possible explanation for the fourfold increase in the number of prescriptions written for mood stabilisers over the past decade?)
In an effort to feel more powerful and secure valuable attention drops, many toddlers develop a rude and defiant attitude towards authority figures. They have not been taught to share, care about, or respect the feelings of others, thus it does not matter what other people think of them. As a consequence of this, young children are frequently placed in the care of older siblings who dislike the restriction of their freedom and often turn to cruel behaviour in order to coerce the behaviour of their younger siblings.
What Can You Do?
You can choose to take responsibility for them:
- Stay home for at least the first 6 months of the child's life, setting the foundation for his future mental and physical health.
- Smile—a lot! Happy mothers, whether they work or not, have more well-adjusted children.
- Try to find part-time work so that you are gone no more than four hours a day.
- Work at home. Can you do freelance work or start a computer-based business?
- When you do have time with the kids, enjoy them! Shut the phone off between 5-8 p.m. Cherish your time with them. Show interest in the things they care about. Tell them that they, not work, are your priority in life.
- Lower your material standards. You won't have the fanciest home or brand-name clothing, but you will, hopefully, have saner children.
- If you work, don't go off again in the early evening to classes or social events. Wait until the children are asleep. They need your presence to feel loved.
- Get your husband involved. Women are far happier, even if they are working if their husbands are true partners who help with the chores and child-rearing.
Here are other tips to make toddlers daycare drop-off makes easier:
Bring something familiar
Anything that smells like home can help ease the transition for newborns into daycare and bring comfort on trying days. This is especially helpful for the first few times they leave the house to go to daycare. That could be a comfortable blanket, a T-shirt that belonged to your mother or father, or another article of apparel. It may also be helpful to provide an older youngster with a laminated family portrait that they may cling onto.
Create a goodbye ritual
The educators strongly suggest that families develop a routine way to say goodbye to one another in order to make the drop-off process more streamlined. This could entail giving a high-five, saying "I love you," or kissing the youngster on both cheeks. The gesture should be whatever the parent and child find most comfortable. Make sure that you always follow the same pattern, so that your child will know what to anticipate from you. This daily farewell helps set a boundary for yourself as well, so you won't be tempted to linger at the door, which would make the goodbye more difficult for you and your companion.
Talk it through
Even the tiniest infants will benefit from their parents discussing what this novel concept known as daycare will be like for their care. For instance, you could say, "Starting tomorrow, we're going to drop you off at so-and- so's, and there are going to be other babies there, and you're going to have lunch and play with these toys, and then after nap time and snack time, I'm going to come to pick you up." This is an example of something you could say.
The infant is catching up on the tempo as well as the emotional tone, and as a result, they are going to feel reassured. It reassures them that things will go according to plan and that they don't need to worry about anything. If you're looking for a Early Learning Centre Sydney that develops children's unique capabilities, you’re in the right place.
After the first day at childcare, continue to reassure the child by telling the story. Another alternative is to read a picture book to the child about their experience at daycare, or you could show them a picture of their teacher or classroom.
Try a gradual start
If it is at all possible, you should try to ease your child into daycare by enrolling him for for a portion of the day to begin with.
It is best to ease your child into daycare gradually. For example, you may accompany your child to daycare for an hour on the first day, and then on the second day, you could leave them there to play for twenty minutes while you grab a cup of coffee.
Many daycare providers will recommend a similar gradual start, beginning with either a couple of half days or starting on a Thursday rather than Monday, so the child or baby isn't immediately plunged into a five-day-a-week, full-time schedule. This is done to prevent the child or baby from becoming overwhelmed by the transition.
There is nothing that can compare to the love of a mother. Forget quality v. quantity. The best time to comfort a child is when they are experiencing distress; this cannot be predetermined.
Who will invest the time and energy necessary to instil positive character traits in our children, teach them self-restraint, teach them to share, stand up for their rights, deal with intense emotions, plan for the future, and find non-violent solutions to problems? Who will teach them to share? Who will teach them to self-restrain? Who will teach them to share? Who will teach them to self-restraint? Who will teach Who would defend them against those who would abuse them in their schools and communities? Not the sitter for the children!
Suppose you are still having trouble deciding whether or not to go back to work and are certain that, on some level, you are doing your child a disservice by allowing someone else to care for them during some of their awake time. In this scenario, you would be doing your child a disservice. In this scenario, it could be useful to recall the evidence, which is as follows: There is just no data to support the claim that children whose moms are employed are put in any kind of dangerous situation. On the other hand, the evidence that we do have points in the opposite direction, demonstrating that children whose mothers work are more financially stable, become more successful in their own lives, and are just as happy as children whose mothers stay at home.
The most important thing for children is to have the experience of being loved, and this feeling can come in many different packages - even if you're not the one who spends all day, every day peering intently into your child's eyes. Love, alas, has evolved into a scarce commodity in today's world. I pray that each of us will do everything in our power to treat ourselves and our children with the respect, admiration, and support that we each require.
FAQs About Daycare
Between 4-7 months of age, babies develop a sense of "object permanence." They're realizing that things and people exist even when they're out of sight. Babies learn that when they can't see mom or dad, that means they've gone away.
Regarding cognitive development, studies have found negative effects, no significant links, and positive daycare effects. Research has shown that daycare hinders the quality of parent-child relations, does not hinder it, that the adverse effects are small and transitory, or intermittent.
No, it's a normal concern, but don't worry. Your baby's not going to forget you. You should realize, though, that she will—and should—bond with other people.
About settling in at childcare
Within a few days or weeks, some children are able to adjust to their new childcare arrangement without any problems. Even after a few weeks have passed, it still causes others distress, and they end up crying. Some kids are able to calm down initially, but then they start acting up later on, and it's usually because the novelty of their new surroundings has worn off.
Starting daycare can be a stressful time for both babies and parents alike. Some babies will adapt quickly, while others will cry every morning for many weeks.