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Episode 2: Separation Anxiety

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Sinead and Alicia


1. What practical things can I do to prepare my child for crèche?

Before they start crèche:
  • Visit the crèche a few times for short periods.
  • Talk to other mothers as they arrive or leave crèche with a child around the same age. Invite a mother and child from the crèche to your home a couple of times. Let your child play in the garden with the other child as you and the other mother have a cup of tea and chat close by.
  • Take photos of the two playing together or a home video.
  • Take photos of the crèche staff and write their names on the photo.
  • Make up a scrapbook from photos and sit together and go through the scrapbook everyday.
  • Let your child choose a little rucksack for bringing her favourite toy and lunch to crèche.

On the big day:

  • Allow extra time so get up a bit earlier.
  • On arrival at the crèche go with your child, get them to meet the child who came to her garden to play.
  • Have a goodbye ritual: Kiss the palm of their hand - get them to close her fingers and remind them if she wants a kiss from mammy that it's there in her hand.
  • Bye - leave don't daddle and don't go back if you see tears. Playtherapists in crèches know and are trained in this.
  • Console yourself with the though that however difficult it is to part with your child - your child will settle soon after you leave.

2. How do I maintain my strong bond?

    Don't be late in collecting your child from crèche - they will become anxious as other parents arrive to collect their children.
  • Remember your child will be tired so have special time with them, form special words, eye contact and hugs.
  • Don't shop on way home - an exhausted hungry child can't cope with crowded shops. If you absolutely need milk or whatever just grab and go, don't stand to talk to neighbours or shop assistants.
  • When you get home have some dedicated one to one time with your child, lunch, toys, etc, with phones turned off, then your child will be ready for a nap.

3. How do you discipline your child and at what age can they understand you?

  • A child under 2 years cannot be expected to understand the difference between right and wrong but will realise some of his actions bring approval and others disapproval. As the child is only vaguely aware (if at all) that they should or should not be doing .and they are almost certain to have no understanding of why you are angry.
  • In some cases the child may deliberately indulge in the banned behaviour - to get attention from you.
  • Negotiating with a child under 2 is a waste of time.



  • Discipline is not about control or punishment, it's a positive thing.
  • Encourage your child / praise them when they are doing right thing
  • Threats, shouting and smacking are negative things. Parents don't usually notice how good your child is, they notice and remember negative things.
  • Reward your child - in the form of attention and praise, when they are doing the right thing. This will pretty much guarantee that the good behaviour will be repeated.
  • When you notice your child getting bold - i.e. selective deafness, blindness, time-out, cause a distraction for the child - notice something on the street, sing a song, etc.
  • A child needs to know what's expected of them and consistency is the key to this.. Parents have to get together and agree on discipline guidelines - what stands today will stand tomorrow.
  • When we see an angry child in tears, the anger turns to guilt so we cuddle them. Praise child when they calm down.
  • Negotiating with a toddler of 2 is a waste of time


Crèche check list:

  • Smoke alarm
  • Fireguard
  • Stair gate
  • Socket guards
  • Cupboard locks
  • Medicine cabinet

The best crèche provides more than a babysitting service:

  • Library of books
  • Playground with sandpit and climbing equipment
  • Art and craft tools
  • Costumes to dress up in

The best crèches are not necessarily the flashiest with the latest décor:

  • Welcoming and feel friendly from the moment you enter
  • Warmth of the staff
  • How long have the staff been there
  • 1 minder for every 3 babies, 1 per 6 toddlers and 1 per 12 children
  • Cultural background is recognised
Sinead and Alicia
Sinead and Alicia
Series 1: Programme Archive