Children, even within the same family, can have
very different responses to being left with a babysitter when their parents go
out. Some love it and feel excited at
the change in routine, others prefer to stick to what they know best and
complain about these annoying departures from the usual proceedings. Both these responses are quite normal and
should not deter parents from enjoying nights out either more or less
frequently than they want to.
For more anxious children, there are a few
things that will help contain their fears about this type of separation and
hopefully prevent any more extreme worries from developing. For many parents, these things will be put in
place quite naturally, but sometimes if you’re feeling anxious yourself, it can
be easy to overlook one or more of these stages:
Settling at Nursery
Many if not
most young children find separating from their parent at nursery or school
difficult in the beginning at least some of the time. This is completely normal, especially when
you consider the following:
- Young children do not understand the
concept of time and don’t really know how long they are going to be left. They only learn this once they have had
numerous experiences of an event.
- They are used to relying on primary
carers to meet (and often anticipate) their needs, which means they may find
the prospect of fending for themselves very daunting at first.
- The new environment/routine takes a
while to become familiar. Nurseries are
often quite structured (which helps children settle more quickly) but this in
itself is obviously different to most of their previous experiences.
The importance of Endings and Goodbyes
an important ritual in our culture for a good reason. They signify that something has come to an
end and that it is time for something new to happen. Even when the new event is fun or exciting,
this transition itself can be difficult, especially for young children, and it
is often important to acknowledge this with them.