Questioner: Janice K Fox
Subject:Question: I have a 14 month old who just started to walk, I do not know if that is relevant. My son was brought up with attachment style parenting and I have always thought that he is a very easy going baby.
When he cries I have always been able to sooth him quickly, I feel very atune with my son. But this last month, after he wakes up from his afternoon naps, he occasionally has crying bouts that can last up to an hour and I am absolutely unable to console him.
These days usually have busy mornings , with new outings, like a week ago I left him in the care of a babysitter for the first time. But we have had busy mornings before and lots of children have already been in daycare. Is this normal? When he is done crying he is very happy and that is the end of his bad mood.
Should I not put him in daycare?
I just thought that I knew my son and I am baffled by this behavior. It is very distressing when you can't console your own child.
Answer: Dear Janice:
I know it is distressing to parents when their child is distressed. It is so because when he cries his blood pressure goes up and his heart rate and his cry is designed by nature to get your attention. Then your become distressed physically as well. It is hard on both of you.
Thank you for writing me. Yes, sometimes life gets chaotic. Mostly what affects children about busy lifestyles is the lack of transitions. When we run from one activity to another there is little to no transition time and often it takes attention away from the child they are use to or are craving.
Children under the age of 7 or 8 do not have a firm concept of time. You and I live by our watches. Little ones take their cues from their routines. When they routines are unsettled or go out the door their world is topsy, turvy and they are anxious and fearful because the no longer can predict what is next. The also grieve if these means less of you.
Considering this perception of routines over time staying with a babysitter may have had a huge impact on him depending upon how the transition time was handled. Realize time to a child also moves slower than it does to busy adults. If you are on the run there are never enough hours in the day. However, to a toddler who you are the center of their universe it is a very long, long, long time until they see you again and that is only for that day! Combine several days and well you get the picture.
I strongly suggest looking at your daily routine. Find places where you refuse to compromise. Morning routines and bedtime routines are essential to getting a good start and ending the day with one on one time. I have several postings here about handling bedtime routines, turning down the environment, bedtime reading, bathing, massaging etc...
While we may feel we have no choices about busy schedules we can focus on these two routines to meet his needs. Also, check with his caregiver to make sure they too have established routines (not necessarily tight schedules). Routines allow for transitions.
M Kay Keller