Helping Children Transition

opinion 1
I am a nanny to J. He’s 3 1/2 and his parents are putting him in full time care because I am no longer able to care for him. I’m moving and won’t be able to do the commute, it’s just too far. I’ve been with J since he was 4 months old and we spend all day together. I try to explain to him that he is going to school and I’m leaving... but he doesn’t seem to grasp it. I’m hoping he transitions easily because it’ll be such a different environment for him. Any nannys out there with advice? I have FANTASTIC bosses that are absolutely generous as well. We are having lunch on my last day. I got J a backpack and lunch box for when he starts school. My heart is broken and I’m sad. It’s bitter sweet but I need to move on to the next chapter of my life.


MissDee said...

I know this is going be tough for both of you; especially J, as you have been with him for most of his life.

The transition schedule for children when they moved to new classrooms was as follows:

M: 900-1000a stay for an hour
Tu: 900-1100a stay until lunch
W: 900-230p stay for lunch, until nap is over
Th: 900-300p stay for lunch, nap and snack.
F: 900-parent pick up get dropped off in current classroom; picked up in new classroom.

When is your last day? If possible, I would see if the parents are able to use this schedule for transitioning for your last two weeks, as opposed to dropping him off in a new center with new people.

Hope everything works.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Hit the library. There are tons of picture books about the first day of school. Will I Have a Friend etc.
Play school. You be the teacher, pack his lunch in the lunch box and have art, story time, rest hour etc. And talk a lot about all the new toys and kids he will have to play with. Get him excited about how much fun it will be..
This is a transition all children go through, whether they are leaving a nanny, or a SAH mom. He will be fine.
It is you who will have the hardest time!

ericsmom said...

Try not to show him your sadness. Easier said than done I know. Just hype it up a day or two before he starts.
Never show any anxiety or that you are nervous about him starting school. He will feel your anxiety, otherwise.

Does he have a favority toy or blanket? You can see if its okay for the first few days if he takes it to school with him. I did that with my son when he was three. I would let him pick out something he treasured.

ericsmom said...

p.s. good idea about the books.

There is one my son liked when he was little: LLama LLama Goes to School.

Busha said...

I feel your sadness. I had to leave my charges (twins) who I met when they were 2 weeks old and cared for until they wee 1.5. I was with them 12 hours per day (full time, plus), four days per week. I would have never ever ever left them without being asked to, if my mom hadn't gotten sick and needed me 2000 miles away.

I have read many times on here that this work is a only profession and we need to stay clear with our vision that we are only employees. But there is a place that opens in your heart that is so much more.

Needless to say, my heart broke the day I left. All I asked of the mom was to not let the little one cling to my leg like she did every night when I left. (It's been over a year now and I choke up at the memory) granted they were younger, but I had the hardest time with the fact that they could not logically understand.

Well, they are still my loves. With my whole heart. I have flown back twice to visit them. I send them little gifts all the time. I send them short videos of me singing and talking to them. And the parents reciprocate in kind (once sending me a first class, round trip airfare to come visit!)

Maybe this isn't what you are asking about, but to me the heart attachment is more the issue than beginning school. (I also taught preschool/kindergarten for 15 years) My suggestion is, basically, just don't go away. Maintain your interest and let the child know that you are there until one day when they will be able to rationalize and understand what happened...and that you are still a constant, a loving constant from a distanct place long ago in their life. Let them always feel the love that developed a bond during the time you were together. Let them know through your actions that even though life has changed they are still so very important to you. Remember, it takes a village and it is about human connection, and we are a key person in these important first three years of development.

Best wishes to you!

Phoenix said...

well one of the fundamental building blocks of growing up is being in situations that are uncomfortable for them. Yes, full care will be hard for him at first but he will learn to cope and then he won't eveb think about being anywhere else but his care center.

YOu can't make a 4 year old understand anything this complex. And you shouldn't over-react. something is a big deal if and only if the parent (or nanny) makes it a big deal. THis is a transition that he needs to learn to handle on his own.

Logical Skeptic said...

Phoenix, I disagree. You CAN make a 3.5-year-old understand that pretty soon, he'll be going to school and he won't be hanging out with Nanny anymore. OP may have made the mistake of trying to tell him too soon/early, in which case it won't really register because it's not happening right in a timeframe he can handle, or she may not have been direct with him about it--preschoolers aren't known for their ability to infer from subtle hints--or she may not have mentioned it enough--once or twice is not enough to prepare a child for a big event. You have to go over it A LOT and more and more often as the day approaches. Not making a big deal out of it is a tricky line to walk, Phoenix; you need to make sure that the kid feels like his feelings of sadness and abandonment are acknowledged without going overboard, and that's tough.

I don't have any advice for OP other than what I stated above and what everyone else is saying.

Phoenix said...

well we will have to agree to disagree. The reason kids are weak now is because people coddle them and try to make it so nothing ever upsets the king/queen child.

If a kid can't learn to cope at a young age they won't be able to do it at an older age. if they can't learn to pick themselves up off the ground then they will be relying on mommy and daddy their entire life. Childrean learn most in the first 5 years of life and learning how to cope with different situations is one of them.

If you sat down and discussed his anxiety you may get clues on what is wrong with him but he has to take the steps in the proper direction. You can stand on the side lines all you want.

Its like running a marathon. You have the runner and he is speeding down the track and other people are passing him. The mom is on the sidelines screaming at the kid to hurry up and telling him he is a winner. most moms would even try to jump the fencing to run out there and carry their kid across the finish line. the point is no matter what you tell your children, no matter what you do for them; they will ALWAYS have to learn to deal with it themselves. Sadly most moms want to be able to protect their child from such emotional termoil but they can't.

I really think that the adults in these situations are reading too much into it. If a caregiver sends out sad energy the kid will pick up on it and then they won't want to do anything at all.

My point is, teach kids to be responsible of their own emotions and let themgo through events that are hard on them. That is the only way they learn