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What toys can the babysitter use to calm a crying child?
Q: I work in a childcare center at a health club. One of the little girls there, who is not quite 1, has never been away from her mother. She attends three times a week and cries for 45 minutes to an hour. She doesn't want to play with anything and goes to the door constantly crying for her mother. I reinforce her by paying attention to her whenever she stops crying. Later on, she usually settles down and starts playing. Can you suggest any toys that might appeal to her?
Ms. Smith
A: Your little student is probably going through separation anxiety, a common occurrence for babies her age. You and the facility are strange to her, and she's just letting you know she'd rather be with her mommy. Regarding toys to catch her attention, ask her mother about her favorites at home. Perhaps the little girl could bring one with her, if that's allowed. Toys that use lively, bouncy children's tunes and lights that twinkle to the beat of the notes delight babies and encourage them to get involved in the play. In addition to toys that encourage the development of physical skills such as crawling and cruising, toys that include colorful balls or shapes for put-and-take play can be enticing, an activity all babies enjoy doing over and over. Good luck!
Kathleen Alfano Ph.D., Former Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®