NZ Woman's Weekly

Giving your child the attention they need

Dear Diane,
I think I might just be paranoid but I’m convinced my little girl loves her carers at the daycare centre more than she loves me. I’m a single mum and I prefer working to being at home on a bene t but it means she’s in care for four days a week, from 8am to 5pm. It’s a lovely centre and the staff are all carefully chosen – and she’s happy. Too happy, in fact. For a couple of weeks now, when I’ve arrived to collect her, she’s clung to a particular carer and won’t let go. She screams when I try to take her and cries all the way home. It can take me an hour or more to calm her down and as you can imagine it’s the last thing I need at that hour. What do you suggest?

Working Mother, by email

Dear Working Mother,
Congratulations on choosing a daycare where your daughter feels loved and cherished and is clearly attached to her caregivers. That can only be good for her. My best guess as to why your little one is reluctant to go home with you is that she is exhausted at the end of the day. She may experience her caregiver as more available to her (for support and cuddling) than you will be when you get home and cope with the sort of busyness that we all get into when we get home after a long day. Try making your first half hour together a time of child-focus and support. Have “pre-dinner” for her to start eating in the car on the way home. A nutritious sandwich and a water bottle should do the trick. When you get home, the first thing to do is to sit down and offer a cuddle for as long as she needs it. Then take her with you to the kitchen so she can be with you while you prepare food. Have her in a highchair or on a safe step-ladder up at the sink so that she can be right there with you. Having had your undivided support for her first half hour back with you, she may now be able to play independently for a while – knowing that availability to her was your first priority.

Diane Levy provides expert answers to your parenting queries. Send your questions to: Diane’s parenting books are available in book shops.


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