My Child's Not Anxious to See Me--Am I Doing Something Wrong?
Parents of children in full time day care may experience a variety of feelings over time. These feelings include guilt, hurt, confusion and even jealousy for having placed their child in the care of an outsider. Emotions become even stronger when the child avoids the parent upon the parent's return or shows a preference for the day care provider in the presence of the parent.
If you've experienced this reaction from your child causing you to feel unfit and rejected, read on. Research clearly states that while day care providers help parents raise their children, they will never replace you!
Children over one year of age will develop strong attachments to their day care provider, however, they will continue to show their primary attachment to a parent. Hours apart do not appear to have a negative effect on children's attachments to their parents.
Some concern has been expressed about infants under one year of age who are in day care over 20 hours per week. There is no clear evidence, however, that day care places these infants at risk. There is the possibility that the infant under one year may not feel the need to rush to the parent with open arms the minute he/she walks through the door; but this does not automatically mean the infant is not attached to the parent. It may simply indicate a healthy transition to the day care setting and that the infant is adjusted to the regular separation from and reunion with the parent.
The development of parental attachment is one of the major accomplishments of the first year of life. Research has shown that a majority of these infants do show secure attachments to a parent; however, a higher proportion of infants in day care than home-reared infants appear to show increased levels of insecure attachment in experimental settings.
Generally speaking, children cared for in day care settings do not appear to be at risk compared to children raised at home by parents.
Substantial research suggests that the kind and quality of care children receive while in day care is more important than the age at which they enter day care. Therefore, in selecting day care settings, parents must carefully consider many factors and insure that the care provided is of high quality.
If your child shows a strong attachment to the day care provider, feel good about it. Your child needs to feel secure at home and at day care. Just remember, no one can replace you as number one!