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First day at creche
Your child's first day at crèche is just one of many events in a parent's life that a parent will absolutely dread. But let's think about it rationally - who battles with it the most - the parent or the child?
Generally it's the parent who battle the most, because teachers have skilfully learnt the art of distraction and your child will have forgotten about you as they chase cars across the floor, and make for the swings. You on the other hand will probably cry your way to work and arrive with smudged mascara and be unable to focus on work for the rest of the day…
But seriously, it is a very big step for parent and child alike and each child is different so you don't know how your child will react, but you can expect one of two scenarios.
Upon arriving at creche your child doesn't even stop to kiss you goodbye. They barge into the classroom, sit themselves down at a table and don't give you a second glance.
You are left holding the brand new school bag which you have lovingly labelled with their name, and it is the teacher who kindly guides you to their locker. You have a quick word with the teacher who assures you she'll keep an eye on them and will certainly phone you if they become upset to the point where she can't handle the situation. Before you leave you try to get their attention to say good bye and all they can offer you is a nonchalant wave of the hand!
If your child goes to crèche three days a week, try and make three days run consecutively. The consistency will help create security and routine, compared to sending your child on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
How does that make you feel?
Some parents are pleasantly surprised and hugely relieved while others are taken back, feel hurt and offended. Does that mean he doesn't love me? Either way it is okay and it doesn't mean your child doesn't love you, it simply means they were ready for the social interaction and age-appropriate stimulation. Take comfort in the knowledge that your child has embraced the other children and all the activities made available to him.
Upon arriving at school your child turns into an Orangutan - they are all arms and legs and are wrapped tightly around your leg or neck. They could be crying or whimpering while you're fighting back the tears, trying desperately to remain firm yet kind. You're probably looking around to see if it's only your child behaving this way, and feel relieved when you see other desperate and helpless parents.
How do you deal with this?
- Allow the teacher to pry your child away
- Make eye contact with them, tell them you love them and that you will see them later
- Turn, walk away and don't look back
- Hang around trying to placate them - you'll just make the situation worse
- Make a duck for it while they aren't looking, because when they look for you and can't find you, they will be desperately upset, and rightly so.
If your child is secure enough in his relationship with you, they will know that you will come back for them. If your child is battling with the adjustment of having to go to school and each morning they are in tears, consider the following tips.
- Allow them (with the creche's consent) to take a cuddly toy
- Spray perfume or dad's deodorant on them and tell them that when they smell it they can think of you
- You must spray the same perfume or deodorant on yourself, so they know that when you smell it you are thinking of them
- Pack them something special for lunch - Depending on their age, implement a Star Chart and reward your child with a star if they don't cry. Don't take one away if they do cry. Always remain positive, encouraging and consistent
- Always reassure them that you will fetch them and give a time - after lunch; after story time etc.
And lastly, there will come a time when your child won't want to come home because they are having so much fun… that is your ultimate goal. Hang in there!
Jacqui is the owner of Baby Love, a countrywide company specializing in routine and sleep (or lack thereof) for babies of two years old and younger. For more info on Baby Love call Jacqui, 082-851-2141 or visit www.baby-love.co.za and keep an eye out for the expansion of Baby Love-Toddler Love, specializing in routine, sleep and discipline for two to four years of age.