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Our 16-month-old is very upset by our recent move.
Q: We just moved to a new town and my 16-month-old daughter has had to change daycare and a house all at once. She is not coping and spends all day and most of the night screaming. She does not just want to be near me; she wants me to hold her all the time. I am afraid the daycare will not take her anymore if this keeps up. Any suggestions?
A: Moves are far more upsetting to children than we usually acknowledge. I presume that you have already begun work in the new town, which necessitates your enrolling her in daycare so soon after the move. If you are not currently working, and if you can delay going back to work for at least a month or so, I would urge you to keep your daughter at home with you and spend as much time being with her and holding her as you possibly can. She is going to need this until she accepts and fits into the new location and the new routine. If it is not possible for you to delay daycare enrollment for a month or so, try to arrange to stay with her in the daycare for about an hour each day. In addition to benefiting your daughter, it will give you an opportunity to determine whether the daycare setting is as good as you thought it would be. Your daughter’s tears may have less to do with the move than with insensitive caregiving. If you have arranged for a setting of high quality, she will soon calm down as she gets to know the teachers and caregivers and makes friends with the other children.