leaving 19 mo old with daycare @ church

ChantelMarch 7, 2002


I am concerned that my 19 month old son is really freaking out when I leave him in daycare while we attend the church service. The daycare is on site at church and there are about 6-8 kids in his class. But it is getting hard for me to leave him because he screams, kicks and cries. They tell me he refuses to play and usually cries through most of it. He is with them for about 45 minutes. I feel so sad and concerned for him. What is your take on this? Is he too young? Am I over reacting? It breaks my heart to hand him to strangers and walk away.



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Is he content to be left with other people in other places? At that age, he should be getting used to others. If church is the only place, are the other children of a similar age or are there larger children that might play roughly and frighten him?

Why don't you just spend a few Sundays in there with him? Get him used to the place and the other children. Maybe even get up and leave for a few minutes from time to time so that he will understand that you are coming back.

He is also old enough that he can pick up signals from you. That is, if you are hesitant and sorry to leave him, he will sense this and react with fretting. Talk to him about what a fun place it is.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 1:53PM
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Another thing to see if it is mommy-separation-anxiety. Have DH drop the child off. My DD often cries when I drop her off, but not when DH drops her off. I really think moms emit some unconscious vibes that make separation anxiety kick in with some children. Somehow dads don't trigger it as much.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 4:13PM
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Are you with your son all the time? Have you left him before? It's not that your son is too young to be left with someone, some people do it right from 6 weeks so they can go back to work and they're kids are fine. What the problem may be is just that he's so used to being with you that he does have to have that time away. My DS is with me all day and even now at almost 3 when I try to run to the store or whatever he'll start bawling and want to go. It's just because I'm such a major part of his life and he's used to Mommy always being there. It actually helps us the more I get out even if it's just for 10 mins. Kids kind of just have to learn that Mommy will be right back and they'll be fine.

Also there aren't too many kids from about a few months up that don't get upset when Mommy and Daddy leave them somewhere. They'll cry and tell you not to go but usually as soon as you leave, they're fine. I'll feel so bad about leaving DS with his grandparents so we can do somewhere and you'll call and they'll say he was fine as soon as we got out the door. It's like a test with them. Even my MIL said about when she helped out at the Elementary School years ago that the children there would do the same things. And TREKaren is right. Most times we dont' realize it as mothers but we make the situation worse. We keep hugging the child and saying it's alright and hang around as long as they keep begging us to stay and it becomes a habit or they sense we're upset about leaving them and use that.

I guess what I'm saying is that give it time and see if he gets better. Also look at other factors like maybe one of the kids is bullying him?


    Bookmark   March 8, 2002 at 8:48AM
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He has no problem being dropped of at grandparents house and yes he spends most of his time with me. I think he just wants to be with me. The kids at church are really sweet, no bullies. I think it is anxiety separation. I am going to let my husband take him and see if he fairs better. I just cannot wait for it to get better. And that is a good idea, maybe if I stay with him for a few Sundays to see if he gets used to it. When I do hand him off to one of the caregivers, I say goodbye to him (altho he cannot hear me because he is crying!) and promptly walk out.
Thanks for the posts everyone.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2002 at 7:12PM
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I just thought of something else. You said he's fine when he goes to his grandparents house. So maybe with him it's the fact that these are strangers or that there are a lot of other children with him. He may just have to get used to and warm up to these people and children.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2002 at 10:36AM
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I think you are right. Yesterday, I skipped church and husband took him. He cried the whole time. So he is just going to have to get used to it. I just wish he didn't get so upset because it upsets me.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2002 at 4:45PM
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As they grow thru the toddler years, all kids go thru some separation anxiety phases. You could try playing a short game of hide and seek each day this week. Sounds silly, but when my DD would go thru these periods, this would help it pass quickly.

The books said that a game of hide-and-seek teach the child (or remind the child) that mom/dad will go away but will always come right back.

The 'what to expect in the toddler years' said it better, and I'm paraphrasing from memory so I hope that last sentence makes some sense :-)

Won't hurt to give it a try. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2002 at 7:59AM
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In our church, there was a speaker so the attendant could hear the sermon. Maybe he makes a connection that you're still around, just not with him. Does he bring familiar toys w/ him when he's there? Have you tried bringing him into the sanctuary w/ you to see if he behaves?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2002 at 12:05PM
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TREKaren, thanks for the posts. How long did she go through the anxiety? I will try most anything at this points.

Phyllis, we usually bring his sippy cup but not a toy. Maybe I will bring one next weekend to see if that helps. And yes, we have tried to bring him in to the sanctuary and it did not worked. He "talked" through most of it, and wanted to walk around. Did not work very well.

Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2002 at 2:05PM
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It would last 3 or 4 weeks, go away for a few months, then another phase would come up. Usually, when she was very young, the hide-and-seek would ease it, (along with DH doing the dropping-off).

It's pretty normal from about 7 months old til about 2 1/2 years old to go thru 3 or 4 separation anxiety phases. If you have the 'what to expect toddler years' book they had a good write-up on it, that went a long way to allaying my own anxiety about her anxiety. Just knowing it was normal helped a lot.

Have fun playing peekaboo and hide-and-seek tonight!!!! LOL

    Bookmark   March 12, 2002 at 2:26PM
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Good news! He did not cry today!
I was planning on staying with him while the family was in church but he settled in really fast and played with the toys. He didn't cry at all. Finally! lol- hope it lasts.
Thanks everyone for the input.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2002 at 5:55PM
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