How to Handle Changes in Your Child’s Behavior
Melting Down When Left With a BabysitterThe problem: Temper tantrums at the sight of a sitter. “Our three-year-old became hysterical when we left her with someone else. We would hand over a screaming toddler and bolt. It was terrible,” says Jan Schwieters of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
The fix: An earlier arrival and special activities. “If we were leaving at seven, I’d have the sitter come at 6:40 and set them up for a popcorn party or outside play time,” says Schwieters. Her daughter felt secure enough to get fully engaged in the thing she was doing, since Mom and Dad were still home, and she barely batted an eye when they left.
The expert take: “This is an excellent solution for three reasons,” says Forehand. “It takes the stress out of the parents’ leaving, it gives the child the opportunity to see that being with a sitter is fun, and it creates a distraction.” To make the tactic even more successful, “have fun activities that are reserved for times when the sitter is there,” says Nicholas Long, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Forehand’s coauthor on Parenting the Strong-Willed Child. Make up a new cookie recipe (Babysitter Butterscotch Bombs!) or let them build a fort your child can sleep in.
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