Attachment childcare: pursuing gentle separation

Last year we decided that I would return to work on a part-time basis. We need the money and part of me wants paid work. We’ve also figured out since then that we can live on less and that part of me just wants to be with Talitha. Talk about inner conflict.

The only way we could ease this was by deciding that it would only be very part-time. We also put a lot of thought into figuring out who would get to spend the day with our sweet girl.

We knew that we wanted Talitha to be in a home environment and to develop a healthy attachment with her carer. Though there are lots of attractive options in Bristol, nursery felt so busy to us for someone so little. And with so many kids and grown ups in the room, it was hard to get our heads around what family philosophies and beliefs about childhood would be at play.

So, we knew we needed a childminder – someone gentle, creative and who genuinely loves children. A friend recommended hers. Talitha has been with Lu at Kiddiewinkles for a few weeks now and, well, it’s more than working out. It’s such a relief.

While I was getting her dressed today, I told Talitha: “You’re going to play with Lu today.” She smiled brightly, saying and signing: “Friend! Share!” She’s always happy to go and bubbling with chat when she gets back.

I feel like this is a good time for her to make this transition. Not that it’s a necessary one to make, mind, but since we’ve decided to give me a day, I’m thankful that she’s at an age where she’s able to deal with our separation so well.

Reflecting on it, I think there have been a few key things that have made this a gentle separation for us.

  • We’ve waited until we feel she’s old enough to cope well with it.
  • We found someone who we feel totally comfortable with.
  • I try to get everything ready the night before so I can fully focus on her in the morning before she goes.
  • I explain to her what’s happening before she leaves the house and Laurence explains again when he drops her off. Neither of us make a big deal of it.
  • She asks for the breast as soon as she gets back so, of course, I give it.
  • We bedshare. It feels like we’re catching up while we’re asleep!
  • If she wants to breastfeed and cuddle more the next day, I slow our pace down.


What are your tips for gently easing children into childcare?

Photos courtesy Lu from Kiddiewinkles and shared with parental permission

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  • Totally agree with your co-sleeping point, I reckon our co-sleeping has been one of the key things that balances out the time away spend away from them and helps us reconnect easily

    Also carving out time specifically to not be focused on work – we have Saturday mornings where I potter in the kitchen with them and we spend time just being together – helps keep things on track
    Muddling Along recently posted..Work/life overlap

    • I think it’s amazing how sensitively you balance both full-time commitments: responsively parenting your children and managing a high-power career. Thanks for your input here.

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