Kids develop strong bonds with their caregivers
Rossana became a live-in nanny to Dana Reinke’s children when Dana’s third child, Peyton, was still on the way. Peyton’s bond with Rossana was particularly strong, says Reinke. “Friday nights were the hardest. My husband and I would be putting the kids to bed, and Peyton would say, ‘Nana do it.’”
Did that make Reinke feel a bit jealous? “I did experience some of those feelings,” she says. “They were brief, but it can still get to you. It can feel like the caregiver is in competition, and it can even bug you if that person is competent.” What helped, says Reinke, was reminding herself that she wanted her kids to be happy — and knowing that they were — while she was at work.
Placing a toddler in the care of someone else is never easy. You want to know that your child is safe and well cared for, and that she’s having a day full of good learning experiences and happy play. At the same time, if your child begins to seem quite bonded to the caregiver, you may worry that you’re being displaced in her affections.
Jennifer Miller, is an early childhood educator with the Burnside Children’s Centre in Dartmouth, NS. “I remember one mom who talked to me about the fact that when difficult moments came up with her child at home, the child cried and asked for me,” she says. “The mom was worried that her daughter was too attached to me.”
It’s actually a sign of healthy normal development when a child, who has a close bond with a parent, is able to go on to develop close bonds with other significant adults in her life. As Penelope Leach writes in Your Baby & Child from Birth to Age Five: “The more people children have to love and feel loved by, the more loveable and loving they are likely to be.”