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Tuesday, 21 November 2017
 
 
Tips: As Baby Grows Print
Postarrival Checklist

Bottles
Keep bottles as an attachment tool for as long as possible.

Although my child gave up bottles at 12 months, at about 18 months, we brought them back. Depending on current attachment needs, we give him one to three bottles a day (he's 2.5). Sweet milk (add a little sugar, honey-if over 12 months, or molasses), not only promotes attachment, but also specifically helps with eye contact. If he isn't looking at me, I gently slip the nipple out of his mouth and say, "Where are your pretty eyes? Mommy wants to see your pretty eyes." With eye contact, I pop in the bottle. I have noticed a direct correlation between eye contact and bottle use. If eye contact is getting poor, a bottle will almost always bring it back...and not just for the time using the bottle, but for the rest of the day (or more.) (a. 5.5mo, FC)

Postpone Periods of Separation
Stay close to baby and avoid long periods of separation. Many agencies suggest waiting a minimum of a year before leaving baby overnight.

FAQ: My husband and I would like to take an overnight trip away from our baby. She's been home 8 months and seems to be doing fine. Should we go?
Our daughter came home at the age of 4.5 months. Except for a couple of hours on the airplane she never seemed to EVER have any grieving or attachment issues at all. She was sleeping through the night by the 4th day and had wonderful sleep patterns after that . I always called her my champion sleeper. After she'd been home for 17 months and was 21.5 months old my husband and I decided to go on a 3 night getaway. She stayed with Grandma,Grandpa (whom she sees 2-3 times a week), and her 2 brothers whom she adores. I truly thought she would do great. I called a few times to check on her and everything was fine. She slept well, acted fine, ate well, had no tears anything.

When we got home she just clung to me. It took over 7 months to get her to sleep all night without waking--even sleeping in our bed. She will NOT sleep in her room anymore so we now have transitioned her just in the past couple of months from our bed to a toddler bed in our room. Even with that if she can't see me she gets upset. For the first month after we came home, driving into my in-laws driveway would make her hysterical. I feel that 10 months later we are just now getting past the issues from the trip we took.

If I would have thought it would have such an impact I would have NEVER gone. I truly thought she would love being with Grandpa, her brothers, and Grandma. To this day I regret going. My husband and I will never go on an overnight trip together again without her until she is much older and is able to truly understand Mommy and Daddy are coming back.

I don't tell you this to discourage you, but just to let you know my experience. She has always appeared to be so well adjusted, a go-with-the-flow child, so her reaction to this trip really threw us for a loop. (a. 4.5mo, FC)

Sleeping
Children with attachment issues and/or PTSD may have sleep difficulties ranging from trouble falling asleep to problems staying asleep, to nightmares, night terrors, or nap terrors. We have tried many, many things to improve our nights. I realized how long the list was when I asked my mom to babysit one evening (this was after he'd been home for almost two years). I had a long list of duties--all of which focused on getting him to bed and keeping him there. Sleep problems can present themselves right away or many months later--even after the child has been sleeping peacefully for months.

Sleep Remedies:

Lavender
Buy pure lavender oil, dilute it to specifications, and spritz the bedding before nap and night.

Put a few drops of lavender oil in baby's bedtime bath.

My son and I paid a visit to my dad. When we were leaving I said it was time to go home for my son's lavender bath. My dad almost DIED!!!

"What?!?!" he said, "are you doing to my grandson...LAVENDER?!!" Then he wanted to know if my husband knew about these lavender baths. Yes, he often gives our son his lavender bath. Just wait until Grandpa comes to babysit and gets to draw the bath!
(a. 6mo, FC)

Chamomile
Use chamomile tea before bed. Some children will drink it straight. If they won't, soak a teabag in a small amount of water--make a STRONG concentrate and mix with milk or juice. One brand has a chamomile/honey/vanilla combination that is especially good. (Only use honey after the age of 12 months.)

Music
Play a soothing CD like Enya. We often use continuous play until he is asleep.

Melatonin
Ask your pediatrician about using Melatonin. (There are varied opinions on using Melatonin with children.) For several months we struggled with nightmares, night/nap terrors, frequent wakings, and restless sleep. Melatonin seemed to produce deeper, more restful sleep during both naps and night. We have successfully used it for short periods of time to get him back on a regular sleep cycle. We then take him off it. As a side note, moms may take it to restore sleep cycles gone haywire from sleeping with restless babies.

Natural Remedies
Ask your naturopath for a tincture to calm.

Check with your pediatrician about using Rescue Remedy calming drops, available from natural food stores.

Sleep Potion
One mom reports success using an imaginary sleep potion with her four-year-olds:

We've had a few good nights (knock on wood!!!!), after I played a trick on the kids. I sent them an email from "Doctor Doodle" with a top secret recipe for Good Sleep Power Potion (eliminates bad dreams, imaginary monsters and anything with a bad heart). My son immediately said "Dad, you sent this from work!" But we convinced them (mostly) that it was a "real" email from a "real" doctor.

So we mixed up the potion (water, lemon and orange extract) and put it in a spray bottle. Every night they walk around their rooms spraying the Good Sleep Power Potion under beds, in closets, corners, middle of the room, on the bed. The first night, they both slept through! Since then my daughter has woken once or twice a night but always gone back to sleep in her own bed and I've only needed to sleep next to her in her room one time.

Who would have believed something this silly would actually work? I've tried other methods of dispelling monsters/bad dreams, but this way, with the kids physically spraying the bottle with their own hands, and watching/feeling/smelling the spray, it must allow them to feel they have some power themselves; they're not totally reliant on me.

Dear Children,

I am Doctor Doodle. Your mommy and daddy sent me an email a few days ago. They said that you are having a hard time sleeping at night. It is VERY important for you to get at least 8 hours of good sleep every night. I am a specialist, like Dr. _____. I am a doctor who specializes in good sleep, and I am going to help you.

It seems that you are having bad dreams. And, it seems you are afraid in your bedrooms at night. Well, these are common problems for children. I have helped many children to get rid of their bad dreams and no longer feel afraid at night.

I am going to give you a secret recipe for Good Sleep Power Potion. Your parents will help you make the recipe. The Good Sleep Power Potion is a very powerful spray. You will make the potion and then spray it in your rooms at night before you go to bed. This powerful potion, combined with your personal power and your parents' power, is strong enough to get rid of all bad things.

The Good Sleep Power Potion gets rid of bad dreams, scary thoughts, and imaginary monsters. Nothing that has a bad heart can survive when this potion is sprayed.

Remember, the Good Sleep Power Potion is very powerful! And you have the secret recipe so you have the power now. I know this will help you. Please feel free to contact me again in the future.

Sincerely,
Dr. Doodle

P.S. I hope you enjoy the Dr. Doodle bandaids that I sent to your mommy.


Good Sleep Power Potion

1 cup of cold, fresh water
1/2 tsp orange extract
3/4 tsp lemon extract

Stir well. Pour into a spray bottle and put the cap on very tightly to seal in the power. Each person should spray 5 to 6 sprays in his or her room each night before going to bed. You will enjoy a restful night of sleep!


FAQ: Why shouldn't I use the cry-it-out method? Doesn't my baby need to learn to go to sleep independently and sleep through the night?

Consider the emotional age of the baby. If your baby has only been home for 2 months, would you want a two-month-old baby--especially one who has experienced immense loss--to cry-it-out? Your baby may be older chronologically, but emotionally she is much younger. This is the time when you need to prove to your baby that you are always there to meet her needs so that she can learn to trust you. She has suffered many losses in her short life. She needs to be reassured repeatedly over a long period of time that you are always available, you will always take care of her, and that you are trustworthy. Remember, she has already experienced that mommies don't come back and are not to be trusted. Note: some professionals and parents have made connections between cry-it-out methods and attachment problems in biological children.

For additional information, read this article about a Harvard study looking at American parenting practices as compared to parenting in other countries, notably the Gusii of Kenya who sleep with their babies and respond immediately to a baby's cries.

FAQ: I've heard that co-sleeping is unsafe and that babies and children need to learn to sleep independently. Why should we co-sleep with our adopted son?

Co-sleeping with babies and children is quite common in many cultures around the world. Like anything else with a baby, safety should be addressed (consider consulting The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears), but it is not difficult to set up a situation that is safe and accommodating. As far as independence goes, unfortunately, that is something that an attachment disordered child may already have far too much of; a little regression will only reap benefits.

Those of us who have co-slept have noticed some very interesting benefits. The physical closeness appears to help our children with self-regulation in some of the same ways that we discussed in relation to the newborn and the biological mother. The child seems to derive comfort and calm from being close to mother's smell, heartbeat, breathing, and warmth. Over a period of time, the child seems less stressed and sleeps better.

"At the age of 2, we tried again (after having failed several other times) to co-sleep with our son. It took about 6 weeks for everybody to learn how. It wasn't easy. But now, 8 months later, my son regularly snuggles into my neck as he sleeps. He creeps closer and closer during the night and often wakes, molded to my side, greeting me with a huge smile. One of the side benefits has been the extra measure of his attachment; when attachment is going well, it is reflected in his sleep. When it is not, his sleep confirms it and I can adjust my parenting methods to better meet his needs the following day." (a. 5.5mo, FC)
Problem Behaviors

Some days, a child with an attachment issue just seems to wake up already out of sorts. He may whine, scream, bite, or hit. This can be caused by the neurochemical changes in the brain as the child sleeps. Holding is one good way to help the child process some of these chemicals and get closer to a parent. Holding Time by Martha Welch, MD, is an excellent resource.

It is important to note, however, that children who are adopted may react more intensely to the holding experience than other children. This article explains some of the differences: "Holding" emotionally or physically should be one in the same.

At times, the child struggles with an abundance of sad choices: screaming, hitting, whining--toddler behaviors pushed to the extreme. The child is having difficulties with self-regulation. On those days, it's best for the child to stay extra close to Mom so that she can help him to regulate and make wise choices with his body.

Help the Child to Regulate

Use a Baby Carrier (Babies/Young Children)
On days when my son's behaviors are extreme and his emotions are intense, I tell him he needs to be close to Mommy for a while and I carry him around in the front pack, facing me. I use this time to walk around the house and catch up on busywork (dusting the furniture and floors, putting things away where they belong, setting the table for dinner, etc…) While I walk around and carry him I talk soothingly about what I'm doing while kissing and stroking his cheeks and the top of his head. I often play soft, calming music at the same time. We have found Mozart to be especially calming. Once he's calm and ready to get down, I follow up the close time with Teddy Graham kisses (see Attachment Activities). The Ergo carrier is recommended and can carry children up to 60 lbs.

Week before last I was on spring break and spent lots of time with my daughter, and she just seemed to be doing so great. I had to go back to work last week, then had the flu-of-death and kept myself literally behind closed doors for two days. The rest of last week with her was beyond challenging--lots of hitting, clawing, kicking, constant screaming. I started just popping her in the hip hammock as soon as I got home from work and wearing her until dinnertime. Did the same thing all weekend. Monday night at dinner, my husband said, "What have you been doing to her? She looks so calm and 'soft.' She's so relaxed, much better than she's been all day." I talked to him about the effect that I believe my wearing her has on her emotional state, as well as her attachment to me. Then, last night, I overheard my husband talking on the phone to a friend. He was describing how frenzied our daughter gets sometimes, and then told his friend about how I wear her, and how calm and sweet she gets as soon as I put her in the carrier.
Ergo Recommendation
I tried four different carriers and was unsuccessful with each, but I knew how important it was to carry my son. He needed that close time to bond with Mommy and help him regulate his intense feelings and behaviors. Finally I found the Ergo. It's made to carry babies well into the toddler years and is designed for long wearing time. Despite the price, I ordered it and wish I had had it all along. It is the most comfortable carrier that allows me to hold my son close and have my arms free at the same time. I use it when I run errands instead of using carts and strollers. I also use it around the house when my son is having a hard day. I go for an hour-long walk everyday while he rests safely and comfortably on my chest. I have noticed a huge difference in my son since using the Ergo so frequently and consistently. After this close time with Mommy he is able to play independently without becoming so easily frustrated. He is less clingy and anxious. And he is able to self-regulate. His reactions have become less intense and more appropriate. No matter what he's doing, if he sees me putting the Ergo around my waist, he comes running with his arms up. Lately, when he's having a bad moment and needs Mommy, he will either bring me the Ergo or reach to be picked up and position himself on my body like he's in the carrier. He now knows when he needs close time with Mommy. I wish I had the Ergo from day one. It has been one of our best and most effective attachment tools.

Another mom writes, "We recently bought an Ergo even though my son is 2.5. I am so glad we got one, but I wish we'd done it sooner. I regularly carry him on walks. When we are in a high anxiety environment (new places, lots of people), he sometimes has a meltdown. I can put him in the Ergo, hold him close, and sing the "Mommy Loves You" song we sing when we rock at bedtime. He usually calms right down. The Ergo has been a wonderful tool to help him regulate."


Hook Mom & Child Together (Toddlers/Older Children)
On days when the child lacks the ability to self-regulate, it helps to tie the child to mom. A cloth jump rope or a short clothesline joining each person's belt loops works well. On days that my son is struggling, he seems to immediately calm if we are tied together. I continue about my work as usual with him always within a few feet of me. Rather than this being a punishment, it often turns out to be a reward for both of us: his behaviors cease, alleviating his frustration and mine.

When the Child Makes Sad Choices

Hitting

Time-in
Rather than putting him in timeout, we sometimes put him in time-in. Sometimes that involves a brief period of holding with words like "You may not hit your brother. I will let you down when your body is ready to make wise choices." The idea is to hold him until he calms down. Sometimes it means that he is confined (a highchair, a playpen), but always in the same room as us.

Practice Being Gentle
At about 26 months, our son started hitting his siblings. No consequence seemed to alleviate the behavior. I started wondering if I should invest in protective padding for the other kids. Fortunately, our attachment psychologist gave us a winning alternative.

She lined up all three kids (ages 9, 8, and 26 months) on a couch. She opened a package of candy Nerds™. She asked the 9yo to practice being gentle to the 8yo. The 9yo lovingly stroked 8yo's hand. She popped a candy Nerd in 9yo's mouth. Then, she asked 8yo to be gentle to the 26mo. The 8yo complied and a Nerd was placed in his mouth. As you might guess, by this time, the 26mo's little mouth was hanging open and he's stroking everyone's hands. The psychologist told us to do this multiple times a day. To just stop everything and practice "being gentle." At which point, of course, a little candy gets popped into the mouth of each person as they take a turn being gentle. In hours, the hitting decreased by 90%.

Jumping
The child may benefit by jumping on a mini exercise trampoline while repeating, "I will be gentle," ten times.

Give Sympathy to the Victim
When a child hits, turn to the victim and shower him with sympathy: hugs, kisses, words of condolence, and perhaps even a small treat to make him feel better. Give no attention to the offender.


Temper Tantrums
Note: Some children with attachment problems try to harm themselves during temper tantrums by head banging, hair pulling, self-biting/hitting, etc… If self-harm is an issue for your child, please consult an attachment therapist immediately. Head banging, in particular, can do permanent neurological damage and needs to be addressed immediately.

Slow Breathing
Say, "Take a deep breath with Mommy," and take several slow, deep breaths in a row.

Counting
Pick up the child, count slowly (up to 1 minute per year old), all the while breathing slower and slower as you count. With practice, the child builds an internal way of coping.

Physical Jolt
Because the meltdown is connected to the nonverbal part of the brain, you can sometimes readjust brain focus with a physical activity. Like jump (preferably hard, like from a low couch onto the floor, or on one of those little exercise trampolines--the personal size--with a parent) or run. Dancing to Sesame Street CDs often produces great results.

Inside-Out Stretch Ball
At an attachment workshop I was introduced to an "Inside-Out Stretch Ball" or "Mondo Ball." The ball is small, made of very soft rubber, and can turn inside out. One side is smooth, the other side has soft rubber spikes. In the middle of a meltdown, I flip it to the spikey side in front of him (a visual, nonverbal representation.) When he calms, I reverse to the smooth side.

Stay Close, Avert Gaze
During a raging meltdown, stand close by, but avert your gaze. Let the rage go. Then look at the child with concern.

Close Time with Mommy
As soon as a sequence of tantrums begins, I know my son is overly anxious and needs to be close to me. I immediately say, "Looks like Johnny needs to be close to Mommy," and I keep him close in the Ergo until he calms and remains calm for a significant period of time.


Draining Mom's Energy
When Mom gets an energy drain from the child's screaming, whining, tantrums, or aggressive behaviors, the child can help put Mom's energy back by helping around the house. The child's self-esteem and his ability to self-regulate increases. Jobs that are well suited for young children may include:

  • Empty small trash cans
  • Take dirty laundry to laundry room.
  • Feed or water pets
  • Water plants, indoors or out
  • Scrub tile in bathroom or kitchen with toothbrush (they actually think it's fun and we just use water/dishwashing liquid but it's a true job that needs doing)
  • Color nice pictures to put in special book (if they are draining Mommy with behaviors or attitudes, the "work" of making the pictures will put the smile back on Mommy's face.)
  • Dust mini blinds with small duster. (Believe it or not this really helps those annoying things stay clean (at least as high as a child can reach!)
  • Fold washcloths
  • Hand Mommy clothes from the dryer. My 18-month-old does this and it does entail work/involvement for you but she is so proud it's her "job."
  • Rub Mommy's back in nice and gentle way.
  • Comb/brush Mommy's hair nice and gentle. My daughter has been doing this since she was two.
  • Rub Mommy's feet with lotion.
  • Have him take all the canned goods off a shelf (or pot/pans--any shelf without breakables), wipe each one off, clean the shelf, put them back. I have the cleanest pantry around!
  • Sort plastic lids
  • Give child an old, damp toothbrush to clean spots on the door of the dishwasher or refrigerator.

Encourage Wise Choices
When a child refuses to comply with his parent's request, the parent can give the child a choice. For example, the parent might tell the child it is time put away his toys. The child refuses. The parent then says, "Would you rather put away your toys right now or would you rather go to your thinking spot and think about putting away your toys?" When he is done thinking about doing the job, he immediately attends to the parent's original request.

In some cases, the parent is able to preemptively determine that a child is about to make a poor choice. For example, a child might always throw a temper tantrum about getting dressed in the morning. Instead of waiting for the child to make a sad choice (and start the tantrum), you might say, "You are going to get dressed. Would you like to get dressed right now and go pick out your favorite cereal for breakfast, or would you rather sit and think about getting dressed and have Mommy choose your cereal?"

Thinking Spot

It's helpful to train a child to use a thinking spot before he makes a sad choice and needs to use it. Learning to use a thinking spot can become a very positive interchange. One Mom writes, "I started by making it a game. I'd call from somewhere in the house and her job was to answer within 3 seconds, "Yes, Mama," and come as fast as possible. If she didn't, Mama got to eat an M&M (hmmmm...maybe that explains the extra pounds) in front of her. Then I'd ask, "Want to try again?" I'd then tell her, "Go to your thinking spot." If she complied, quick and snappy (within 3 seconds), there would be a happy dance and an M&M. We'd do this at least 5x/5x per day. I also got a butterfly shaped rug for her special thinking spot. When she makes a sad choice I always have her tell me "Sorry I was _______ (fill in the blank)", give me a kiss & hug (can always tell by the quality whether she'll be back at her thinking spot soon) and verbalize why she had to go think about a good choice. Depending on the offence du jour, jumping on the trampoline could follow too."

Mini Trampoline Jumps
She jumps on the mini trampoline several times a day, not connected with a behavioral consequence. We have a list of 6 phrases to say. As all that serotonin is being release via the joint compression, she is associating the "good feeling" with "I will obey Mama/Papa," "I will be quick and snappy," "I will be respectful," "I will be pleasant," "Mama/Papa is in charge," "I will be gentle." Each times she jumps, we ask her to repeat the phrase (we choose), 10x.

I know this is working because last Saturday, at music class, a mom came over to me just busting a gut laughing. She asked my daughter if she would like to go sit in the van with the other kids. My 4-year-old daughter said, "Why yes...and I will be pleasant, I will be gentle and I will be respectful...ooooooo...this will be fun!!!!"


Separation Anxiety
Children with attachment issues (particularly those with anxious attachment) often experience intense separation anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety is obvious (a child screaming when the parent leaves), but other times the child looks perfectly fine during the parent's absence, only to meltdown in the minutes, hours, or days after the parent returns.

My son does fine at Grandma's house. But, at the height of his anxious attachment, he would run to the door to greet me, only to turn around the minute I stepped in the door and refuse to come to me or look at me. Now, after a year of therapy, this is much better. However, when his dad goes on a business trip, he appears to be fine while Daddy is gone but then has a lot of angry behavior when Daddy gets back. During holding time with Daddy, he'll tell Daddy that he was angry that Daddy was gone on a trip.

Anticipate the Anxiety
While my son is playing independently, he becomes very anxious if he doesn't know where we are and what we're doing. Something as simple as going to the kitchen to refill my cup can cause a meltdown if he looks up and I'm not where he saw me last.

I've found that my son is a lot less anxious when I tell him where I am going and what I am doing. Saying, "Mommy is going in the kitchen to get more water. I will be right back. Mommy always comes back," causes him to watch me leave and proves to him over and over throughout the day that Mommy always comes back.

I don't really need to be leaving the room to announce what I'm doing. I often give my son the play by play and he feels safer. For example, just picking things up in the same room causes him to lose track of me and the anxiety kicks in. So to prevent the anxiety from kicking in, I tell my son what I am doing as I do it. "Mommy is going to the closet to get a shirt. Look, Mommy picked a blue shirt to wear. Now Mommy is going to brush her hair." The safer and less anxious he became the less I needed to give the play by play except for my comings and goings from rooms.

We actually began doing this a few months after our son came home when he didn't care if I was there or not. By announcing my every move, he began to notice me more and would watch to see what I was doing. Later when he went from avoidant to anxious, my announcements saved us from meltdowns a lot of the time.

Where Do My Loved Ones Go?
Our son went through a period of constantly asking, "Where is Daddy?" I'm quite sure we replied, "At work," at least a thousand times. At some point, we tried to make a game out of it by saying, "Daddy's on the moon," or "Daddy's under the table," or "Daddy's in the refrigerator." He loved this game and often invented his own places for Daddy.

When his anxiety over Daddy's location continued, we tried another tactic; we sent him to work with Daddy in the morning. Although he'd been there before, he'd never left the house with him on a regular morning work schedule.

He gave all of us kisses before he left, just like Daddy always does. He appeared quite proud. He enjoyed about 30 minutes at work with Daddy until I came to pick him up. When he got in the car he said, "I miss Mommy."

We used digital photos of his visit to make a book showing where Daddy goes each day.

Preparing for a Parent's Absence
Although most attachment professionals would recommend that the parents stay close to the child until he feels secure, it may take years for some children. Inevitably, in that amount of time, there will come an instance when Mom or Dad must be away for a short period: for a business trip, an out-of-town wedding, a graduation, etc… Here, parents offer suggestions to make the separation easier:
I bought a small album and my husband took lots of pictures of me...packing my suitcase, picture of the brother whose wedding I am going to, picture of me kissing our son goodbye, picture of me getting in the car, picture of Daddy taking care of our son, etc. Each page has a bit of text to explain what will happen from beginning to end. The book ends with Mommy coming home--walking in the door and hugging our son.

I think it's good for our kids to have pictures that help them see the beginning, middle, and end so they are able to handle such a big change. I've heard people do this for pre-school...all the activities that go on all day and ending with Mommy picks child up and they go home.

We made it months before the trip and my husband and I read it to him every day. I've also been doing an obnoxious amount of "Mommy is going bye-bye" when I leave the house or the room without my son...and "Mommy is back..Mommy always comes back!" when I return. This is how I ended the book I made too. (a. 6mo, FC)


I sleep in the same pj bottoms every night...fleece with snowflakes...My son loves them and likes to point at all of the snowflakes in the morning while we snuggle. I plan to not wash them that week and leave them with my son to sleep with.

I am going to make a small album of pictures of my son and I so he and my husband can look through it together while I am gone and continue to read our book to emphasize that I will be coming back...Mommy always comes back

While I am gone my husband will keep the same consistent routine. Mommy being gone will be the hardest change. If everything else about the day remains the same it's less stressful for the child.

I will make a tape of Mommy reading bedtime stories and/or saying night-night prayers.

And when I come back I plan to stick close to home and do lots of the extra nurturing things my son loves (baths, Ergo time, sweet bottles). I expect him to be more anxious when I return which is why I plan to triple what I normally do in terms of close contact and nurturing and staying at home with just Mommy and Daddy. My husband will be home a couple days after I return as well to help with the transition. (a. 6mo, FC)


For an older child: I made a picture pocket for his room. I took pictures of our house, his sitter, the library, the grocery store and would pin up a picture each night before bed as to where we were going the next day. That way he could see if we were staying home, going to story time, going shopping or if it was a sitter day (I worked part time at the time). I know this is different than taking a trip but it really helped him know what to expect each day. He STILL has a calendar in his room that we fill out so he knows what is going on.
Additional Suggestions:

  • Laminate a photo of the parent that the child can wear or carry when the parent is gone.
  • Make a nametag that says "Mommy" (or "Daddy.") When Mommy leaves, she can ask the child to hold it while she is gone and give it back to her when she returns.
  • Make a book that shows parent leaving, working, and then returning.
  • Make a comic strip--one box for each day that the parent will be gone--to represent the passage of time.
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