Q&A: Separation Anxiety in Seven-Month-Old
My daughter is seven months old and an only child. Until now, I have stayed home with her, so she has spent most of her time with me, and has had very little exposure to other children and adults. I go back to school in the Fall, so I needed to put a childcare system in place for when I'm in class. Today, for the first time, I took her to a babysitter's house today for a trial run. Currently, this babysitter watches three two-year old boys, and I arranged for my child to join this group. I dropped my daughter off for a few hours, and when I came back to pick her up, the sitter said she cried a lot and was disturbed and made anxious by the noise and presence of the other kids.
I want her to enjoy it. She's spoiled, though. How do I help her adjust?
There can be several reasons for your daughter’s crying:
One is a normal reaction to separating from you (called separation anxiety) that makes it harder for a seven-month-old to go to childcare than for a four-month-old. Most seven-month-olds can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar situations, and show a normal anxiety with the unfamiliar. This crying would be loudest when you first leave, and usually gets better as the infant adjusts to a new place and new faces. If possible, having your caretaker come to your place once or twice will allow your child to get used to her without a new situation to deal with as well. If her unhappiness stems from the noise, she is not being spoiled, but just letting you know that she has a more sensitive temperament than some other babies. She may do better in a snuggly worn by your caretaker while the toddlers are being noisy. You should know that, as good as your caretaker may be, watching three two-year-olds and an infant is a very hard job, and indiviidual attention for your daughter may not be possible on some days.