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Allowing Comfort and Transitional Items From Home into the Daycare Environment

Allowing Comfort and Transitional Items From Home into the Daycare Environment

SunflowerMama said: I’m thinking about changing my policies so that the only thing coming each day is the child (and 5 diapers on Monday to send the kids home in). They could also have ONE small lovie for nap time.

I will provide nap mats/blankets and changes of clothes.

I’m just getting a little overrun with bedding (favorite blanket, pillow, etc.), clothes, toys from home (I only allow toys from home if they share but it’s getting hard to keep track of), etc.

Allowing Comfort and Transitional Items From Home into the Daycare Environment

Parents can get very attached to their child’s comfort items and the easier dealings with their child when they use them. They have a hard time imagining caring for their child without these items. Naturally they want to provide duplicates of these items to keep in my home or pass the beloved items back and forth each day.

I don’t use anything from home such as blankets, binkies, lovies, diaper bags or sippy cups for the kids while they are in my care. The only exception is a pacifier for premature and failure to thrive infants that need to build up the strength of their suck.

I like to keep our day to day transitions from home to day care as simple and easy as possible. We don’t pass anything back and forth daily except breast milk and containers for breast milk. I have found that parents and children who are very attached to binkies, lovies, suck cloth toys, blankets and pacifiers at home do really well here without them.

When I first started doing day care I allowed them. I found that the stuff coming back and forth from home were usually worn, unsafe, dingy, and just caused too many guarding and fixation issues. Kids didn’t want them just for nap time they wanted them all the time. Their lovies, blankets, and paci’s became a bulls eye target that the other kids wanted too. When used in bed they would toss them out or play with them at nap time. I decided early on that enough was enough and just started doing the plain and simple method of not using comfort items at all.

I start them out from day one without anything so they don’t associate my world here with the “extras”. I try to work around the basic use of the items by providing a solution that gets the job done and stays here for me to manage. I do keep the item the parent believes the child needs so that if an emergency DOES happen I have it here. I have busted out a lovey or a binky when a child was sick and waiting for Mama to arrive. I’ve used them for medication administration bribes. I’ve given a binky to soothe a nine month old who was paralyzed in fear because of the BIG SCARY LOOKING DHS inspector man.. They are great to have for THOSE times.

Blankets are a common “back and forth” item the parent and child would like to use in child care. I don’t use blankets for any reason for infants. I don’t swaddle kids during naps or allow them to even have a blanket until they are nearly three and are sleeping in the big kids sleeping room. By that age the kids can use them without problems. I use my daycare blankets or request a “stay here“ blanket from home.

Over the many years of providing care the gradual and ever changing recommendations for prevention of SIDS came into play. I made a decision that I wouldn’t allow ANYTHING at all in the beds. I even found play pens that did not need sheet covers but had cot like bottoms. I built up a collection of birth to five year sized thick footed pajamas for the chilly days in the summer when the air was on high or the cold of the winter. That solved my blanket problem.

If a baby needs an extra layer of clothing or hands covered I use the baby zipper sleep sacks. That way I’m not putting any kind of loose blanket in their bed but they get an extra layer of warmth. If an older baby or toddler needs extra warmth I use the thick oversized footed pajamas I have in my stock to put over their clothes at nap time.

Whenever a new kid starts I have the parents bring whatever they think the kid needs and put it up in their spare clothes sack that stays in the nursery kids storage closet. I have it on hand should there really be a situation where the baby needs it. The first couple of weeks the baby is in care are rough even in the best case scenario. I found, by experience, the children who used the “comfort” items transitioned exactly the same as the ones who didn’t use them. It’s rough either way so it’s easier to not use these things from the go.

I haven’t had a kid use a pacifier here for many years even though about half of my kids used pacifiers at home. They need it for home but do great here without it. When they are newborns the parents can’t imagine their child without it. By the time they are six to nine months old the parents are very grateful I don’t use them here. When it comes time to stop using the binky it doesn’t affect the child here at all. I hear about the sleepless nights and crying at home but the child behaves perfectly normally here.

I keep the items the parent provides for about a year or two. If the child has done well without them then I return them to the parents. I can’t tell you how many times the parents have jumped for JOY when they got an identical copy of their child’s home lovey back to them unused. By this time the child has worn their home lovey out and often they can’t find the exact same one to replace. When they see the condition of the one I have kept here they are very excited to have a fresh new one to use at home.

Every provider has to figure out for themselves what works best. I just make an effort to keep the layers of care complication down as much as possible. Having a kid who HAS to have something at my house would be a hassle I would rather not deal with. I want the kids to be secure without using these items. I want them to be pacified without a pacifier. I want the comfort to be found in me, my staff assistant, the kids, and our developmentally rich environment. This is the matrix of their minute to minute happiness.

  1. pete acosta07-01-11

    Do you believe that all Daycare should be mandated to install cameras at their facilities?

    • torifees07-04-11

      I think Centers are going to have to in order to survive. Home Day Care is a little away from it but centers it will become the norm.

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