Dropping off a 6 week old baby at child care is harrowing, even for the most pragmatic of parents. It may be a bit easier at 12 weeks, and again at 18 weeks, but no matter when it happens putting a baby in outside-of-the-home-or-family child care is hard.
How do you ease this transition for parents of babies? Many mothers are still experiencing postpartum hormones which could make them weepy, excitable, exhausted, anxious, and fearful. It is a biological imperative that the new mother will do anything to protect her newborn- and I mean anything. It is the way nature has designed it throughout the animal kingdom. Anything that can be perceived as threatening will be treated as such by the new parents.
So, we need to be NON-THREATENING. Taking a newborn infant into our care must be treated with the utmost respect. This is a huge leap of faith for parents. They have to believe that you will love that baby, care for that baby, nurture that baby, love that baby as much as they do. If they do not believe that, they will not be able to be productive at work anyway. The baby will sense their anxiety and it will not work out well for anyone involved.
Child care should reflect home-life as much as feasibly possible. For babies, this means being held, sung to, read to, kissed, snuggled, and cooed at. It also means consistency of routine. Next week, let’s look at the consistency of a routine and how that related to the earliest mathematical experiences.