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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Long Time Provider With Question
BdB 04:25 PM 04-22-2016
I have been in business for over 20 years and this is the first time I have run into this situation. I care for ages 18 months and up, but my children are generally older, as I run an in home preschool.

I have a beautiful, sweet little boy in care right now who obsesses over where I am at all times. He has been for 8 months and is 2 years old.

My business is licensed in Texas and I have a helper, but I never ever leave. I am always with the children. Because of his strong attachment to me I alone have cared for this child as he would not tolerate someone else even changing his diaper.

Initially I assumed he felt insecure in a new environment and that his response was temporary. Eight months later, I'm worried.

He cries when I go to the bathroom and he cries the whole time I make lunch, even though he can see me the entire time.

It is very uncommon in my personal experience for a child to respond this way the entire day in care. It is draining, and is impacting the quality of curriculum for the other children. His mother is the kindest, most appreciative woman I have met in many years and I hate to put him out.

Has anyone else experienced this type of situation and if so, did you find a way to shift the dynamic?

Insights would be so greatly appreciated. As I said I have been operating my business for over 20 years and am still learning. I need some coaching now. I don't want to put this child out and I don't want the quality of care diminished for the other children either. :-(
Michael 05:03 PM 04-22-2016
Welcome to the forum. Here are some threads on Needy children:
BdB 05:26 PM 04-22-2016
Thank you!
KiddieCahoots 05:47 PM 04-22-2016
I could be wrong.....
but what I'm reading so far, is that you've given in to the one and most important thing he needs work with....detachment.
Social/emotional work is sometimes harder in one child than another.
I don't need to tell you already know.
The question you need to ask yourself is whether you are up to teaching him this, or whether it is too difficult for you to do?
BdB 10:03 PM 04-22-2016
I think I lack confidence in the area, and fear causing him some kind of emotional harm.

May I ask you how would you suggest I go about teaching him detachment? He does not do this to a great extent when my helper is not here. I cannot stress enough that she has never cared for this particular child nor been alone with him. It is not her 'fault'.

If he does not do it when she isn't here, is the issue detachment or control? If, as I suspect, the issue is control, how do I handle it without making it worse.

Again, I do not care for infants and an unaccustomed to this type of issue. I take my impact on him very seriously and do not want to cause him harm.
Josiegirl 01:13 PM 04-23-2016
This kind of 'single person' attachment does seem rather strong and a bit odd, especially after having been in your care for so long. You'd think he'd be comfortable enough to go to the other provider also, or at least go out on his own and explore a little out of your reach.
I assume you've talked with mom about it and tried to brainstorm with her? Is he like this with relatives, etc?
Have you tried to separate from him in the smallest of increments, such as walking into the other room, telling him the whole time that you'll be right back so he can hear your voice? Or does he just follow you, crying for you? I've dealt with this quite a bit with younger children but not this age. I could understand his issue if he was brand new to your care. It sounds like you've been afraid to initiate much separation from him and I wonder if he has picked up on those cues? I would try a little bit at a time, increasing the time as you go. Then when you reunite with him just give him a big ole smile and say hi there, even if he's crying. Does he ever want to play with any other kids? If he could get involved with a buddy or a very interesting toy, then walk back and forth between rooms or something, redirecting him back to his buddy or activity, all while reassuring him you're near by. You've probably tried a lot of these types of things already but it's all I've got. Little ones change sooo much between 2 and 3, I'm sure if you have the patience to deal with it and take small steps towards success, it'll happen. Good luck!
Unregistered 05:54 PM 04-23-2016
Yes, I have talked at length with his mother. We are both perplexed by his behavior. He is a strong willed child in many ways, but does not exhibit this behavior elsewhere. For a very brief period he stopped this behavior, but only 3-4 weeks later a new 18 month old started who had a difficult adjustment. 2.5 months later she is fine but he has doubled down.

While I have tried to be sensitive to his needs, I don't reward his behavior. With the exception of going to the restroom, he can see me when I am preparing lunch, putting nap cots down etc., but he is not allowed to leave the toyroom while I do these things. He watches me, crying the whole time. There are times when his screaming and crying goes on at length.

I periodically try to reassure him and hug him but when he is angry he will typically reject those attempts. I attempt anyway.

At the end of last week I began putting him in the living room (visible from the toyroom) when he is crying. I tell him that he needs to stay here because he is hurting our ears. I point out that I am right there, in the toyroom, and invite him to join us when he is ready to stop crying. He will cry long and loud but eventually join us. I smiled and welcomed him to our activities but he held a grudge.

I'm not really fond of letting him scream like this, but at this point I don't know what else to do. His mother and I both feel at this point that he wants control more than comfort, so next week I will be focused on offering choices in a positive context.

What frustrates me the most is how much the screaming distracts all of the children (and me) from the curriculum. I love doing curriculum with the children.

He really is a beautiful, sweet natured child apart from this issue. I know he will outgrow it eventually. I do ask myself though, is this situation fair to the other children. He demands SO MUCH of my attention. The only reason I have made it this far is that he is in care only 4 days a week and has an early pick up. If not for that I would have had to terminate. We had a brief respite but other than that this has been going on since the end of last July.

Incidentally, he behaves the same way when my grown daughter stops by. It is very obvious that he wants to make it clear that he wants nobody but me to even think about taking care of him.

I've never seen anything like it, given his age and the amount of time he has been in care. It's really starting to get old.
Tags:clingy, needy, sensitive
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