How would you feel when, having let yourself in to your own nursery and greeted staff, you are suddenly accosted by a heart tugging wailing emanating from Older Toddlers? It was my 2 year old nephew F. who, caged behind a stair gate across the room door, was pushing pitiful hands through the bars towards me shouting ‘Uncle David, come back! cuddle me!’
How poignant, how distressing! Of course, 5 minutes later he was going to have forgotten my very existence (he had a fantastically happy day as usual) but for the time being he presented a woeful picture of a wronged and abandoned child, left to the mercies of his carers.
It gives an understanding of how parents must feel on leaving a distressed child.
The other end of the day can often be quite emotional too, children bursting into tears at the sight of a parent.
It is not unreasonable for carers to think as follows – I left a screaming, unconsolable child, I picked up a crying, upset child, the rest of the day must have been the same. What a terrible parent I am to have left him/her here all day!
We work hard to convince parents and win their trust, that their child has been happy all day and that these very young children are quite capable of emotional blackmail and will put on a show at the drop of a hat, to make everyone feel extremely guilty all day.
The best example of this I have encountered, was girl who clung to her daddy’s legs, every morning, screaming ‘Don’t go, Daddy, don’t leave me here!’ As soon as he had managed to prise her off his leg and escape, she shrugged her shoulders, stopped crying and ran off to play very happily for the rest of the day.
Don’t be fooled! They are often craftier than we give them credit for!!