Going back to work: what do you tell your child?
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Some things you can say to reassure your child when you also have a heavy heart going back to work. Our child psychologist explains.
Some things to say to reassure them in a simple way when we also have a heavy heart about returning to work.
Explanations from Claude Berthon, our favourite child psychologist.
“Returning to work after maternity or parental leave is as tricky a time of separation for a 3 month old baby as it is for a 3 year old child. This change must be carefully announced and explained to your child so that he or she can deal with it gently.
In fact, for a child that has been cared for at home by his or her mother, a change in the primary caregiver and in their rhythm represents genuine upheaval.
When this change occurs suddenly, or is unstable (a succession of people or places in a short time period), it can generate a certain amount of emotional insecurity in the child. It is not uncommon to see the appearance of unusual bouts of crying, anger, trouble sleeping, feeding or even an increase in ear, nose and throat infections.
To prevent these difficulties, it is important to explain things to your baby or young child, even if they seem too small to understand that their mother is going back to work:
“I have to go back to work soon, so I won’t be with you all day, but so-and-so will be taking care of you instead.”
“You will be safe with her (or in this new place) and I am very comfortable with the idea.”
“I am not abandoning you, and when I am at work during the day, I will continue to love you.”
“We will be together every evening, and we will say goodbye every morning.”
Next, it is important to create a period of adjustment that will allow the child to discover the new person that will take care of him or her with the reassuring presence of his mother by his side, so that the change will take place within a relative continuity.
When baby has been breastfed and needs to be weaned onto bottles before going back to work, it is preferable that the weaning period does not coincide with the week when you go back to work, but takes place a few weeks earlier. It is also possible to continue breastfeeding while working, retaining the morning and evening feeds, intense nutritional and emotional moments that will help your infant to better survive this initial separation.”
Thank you Claude! Here at Coorganiz, we love Sentence Number 4 and we will be trying it out tomorrow morning with our little lamb who cries every morning when we get to school. It may not be the same as returning to work after maternity leave, but we believe that such a genuinely true sentence is going to do the trick!!