Follow up: January’s Separation Anxiety

In January, I talked about Isabel’s (normal) separation anxiety and how that impacted upon her start to nursery. I was worried about how she would adapt to being cared for primarily one-on-one to a) having to share a carer and b) not have free access to the boob.

She settled quicker than I anticipated and seemed to enjoy ‘Baby Room 1’. In February, they moved her up to the next room with the slightly older babies. This transition was fairly smooth, because the leader of ‘Baby Room 2’ was someone Isabel had been fixated on her since her first morning. The trouble came towards the end of this year when they began transitioning Isabel from Baby Room 2 to ‘Toddler Room’. When moving up to a new room, the nursery take the kids into the new room in advance with someone they know from their old room for an hour or so, increasing the time/frequency of the visits and gradually removing the old carers from the situation for a couple of weeks before the actual move. It’s supposed to settle the children more quickly and allow them to adapt to new carers etc.

During Isabel’s move to Toddler Room she became more clingy in the mornings, getting upset at the thought of going to nursery etc. I originally thought it was because she’d be leaving the room leader behind, but in reality once the move was complete Isabel really came out of herself at nursery. She now asks to go in, asks about nursery on Fridays (our day off), toddles off into her room leaving Karl to sort her coat and bag, etc. In hindsight I think that Isabel was that desperate to move to the new room (she’d “lost” an older friend to the bigger room a few months previous) that it was not going up that bothered her, but coming back to the old room each day!

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all roses and unicorns. I still think about Isabel’s introduction to nursery a lot, and beat myself up over not reinforcing that I should have been called rather than her being allowed to cry for an hour (I don’t care that it was in someone’s arms – they weren’t my arms!) I can’t change the past though, so focus on what she gets out of it now. No regrets.

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2 comments so far

  1. Jessica said:
    On December 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Just be thankful that she had someone there to hold her while she cried, and be comforted by the knowledge that she has learned to handle new situations. :)

  2. Mumblies said:
    On December 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

    As our babies grow up they become more and more independent each day, things that would have completely thrown them before suddenly are no longer obstacles; their curiosity helps them adjust and, as you have noticed yourself with her asking to go to Nursery on a Friday morning shows that she does not consider it to be a bad place, nor is she afraid instead indicates that she enjoys it and looks forwards to going. Many toddlers do not adjust so easily and those few do suffer with anxiety problems however I do not believe that Izz is in that category, her eagerness to go back implies that she really does enjoy her day with her playmates and the staff so you can rest a little now Jem – she really will be ok. As she grows older and moves from Nursery to Infants then on to Juniors etc her confidence will grow and you all will reap the benefits.

    Be prepared to accept temper tantrums once beansprout is born however, many older siblings show feelings of jealousy at the intrusion a younger brother or sister brings and often kick off against going to Nursery/Playgroup/Infant school and will demand to be allowed to stay home. This is of course where you have to be firm no matter how hard it is for you and insist that they continue with their normal day to day life; they soon realise that no matter how interesting it might be to spend the day with mummy and the new baby – their own lives outside home are far more interesting to them and they soon adjust. Of course this won’t help you with the feelings of separation that you will suffer … time alone helps there.

    Izz is a lovely happy and contented well adjusted child and her independence grows each and every day, soon you will wonder what all the fuss is about and stop feeling regret that you might have caused her any pain or woes.