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One-year-old fussy at day care pick up

Question:

My 1-year-old son is very emotional with me when I pick him up at the end of the day. At first he is happy, but the tears quickly come once we are in the car. I talk to him and tickle his feet, but it doesn’t help. I think he is upset because we don’t spend much time together during the week. Our evenings are too short due to bedtime. He is even more emotional when he is tired. How can I reassure him that I love him? When he is crying, how should I respond?

 

Answer:

One-year-olds need a lot of nurturing, so slow down your pick-up routine at the end of the day. Instead of immediately putting him in the car, pick him up, hug him, hold him, rock him, kiss him, rub his back and talk to him about his day. 

He goes all day without his mother’s nurturing, which he needs for good emotional development. Even though you are tired and probably need to get home to start making dinner, this will be time well-spent.  

After that, put him in his car seat with a kiss. Promise a sing-a-long on the way home. Rather than listening to your music or the news, put in a child’s CD and sing with him. Make this a habit. The two of you are interacting; you are nurturing him without touching.

When you do get home, keep him with you while you change clothes, prepare dinner, do laundry, etc. He can play with toys on the floor in the kitchen while you cook dinner. Since there is little time between arriving home and bedtime, make it count. His bedtime routine should also provide you with bonding time. A bath, reading a story, rocking together and listening to music are all soothing possibilities.  

Resist the urge to just put him in his crib and leave the room. Rub his back, sing a soft song and kiss him before leaving his room. Time flies by so quickly. Make each second count. You are establishing a foundation that will see you through his adolescent and teen years.

 

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