She misses her mom...How to deal with this?

  1. Here's a preface:

    My grandmother and I babysit my cousin Nicole (4). When I'm not home, she goes to my grandmother, and if I'm home she puts up such a fit until my grandmother allows her to come over to our house.

    It's difficult for us to have here here, since Julia is still so young and it's tough having to pay attention to a 4 year old who needs to be occupied every second that she's awake and to take care of a small baby. My grandmother is 74, and I feel bad if I make Nicole stay over there, because that is just more stress on my grandmother.

    For the past few days, she has been throwing fits. Screaming that she misses her mother and that she wants to drive to her work to visit her. I'm not going to stop my day so that I can pack up the baby, pack up Nicole and drive her over to the Bakery where her mom works. That's just not how I work. I understand that she misses her mom and everything, but...I don't know. I just can't deal with it much longer. I'm not prepared to deal with a screaming 4 year old and a small baby.

    How do I deal with this? I try to distract her when she's feeling this way, but it just doesn't work. She cries and cries until she throws up, like she did today and yesterday. I've talked to her mom about it, but she doesn't know what to do either. Ideally, she would quit working at the stupid Bakery so she could see her child during the hours that Nicole is awake, but whatever.
     
  2. If it's putting a stress and strain on you, you should politely insist that your sister hires a babysitter. Your own daughter is very young and still needs so much of your attention.

    How long have you been babysitting your niece? Many children cry at the onset of a separation if they are used to being with their parents. If you really want to continue watching her, you should give it a while and see how she adjusts. I don't think there is a magic cure that will stop her from missing her mom.

    I don't think you should drive her to her mom's place of work during the day. It only delays the adjustment process; she should get used to her mom being away.
     
  3. My mom had a hard time with my when I was little- because I had separation anxiety. I could not go to school and I cried so much I would make myself throw up too. I was around the age of 8 at the time. The Dr's told my mom she had to take me to school. Eventually I grew out of it. Unfortunately, she just needs to be told that she will see her mom after work and she needs to play with you for the day.

    But it is a whole different issue about who watches Nicole. I would feel bad if my grandmother had to watch a 4 yr old too- but also your hands are full with an infant. Is day care an option?
     
  4. Lami, 4 is a tough age (some kids get this at 2 or 3, but others later). She's just testing you, and it's really hard on all the people involved. Try to keep her occupied, and if she still cries, let her not hurt herself but say firmly that her mother will come after work and for right now she has to say with you (I'm sure you've tried it, but keep trying)

    My son had the same issues at around the same age. If he wanted something, he wanted it. I remember that he once wanted to talk to a secretary he was friends with in my office and kept crying and crying "I want to TALK to her". When he didn't stop crying I tried to carry him. He twisted and wriggled so hard that I couldn't and I stuck him under my arm like a baguette and carried him away screaming and kicking back to the car. He'd gotten himself so agitated that he threw up on himself, and I just buckled him up, sat in the front seat and cried because I didn't know what to do.

    It's really hard, but you'll find that Nicole will adjust in a while, and be much more happy.
     
  5. I don't think she is just testing you... kids who are testing don't take it so far as to throw up.

    Like Megs, I too suffered separation anxiety, but I didn't grow out of it b/c my mom quit her job and I never developed tools to deal with it until much later in live. Even now, at 30, it is still hard for me to travel (but I do it anyway).

    My advice is to let your sister know what is going on a suggest that she research some techniques for Nicole to try when she is missing her mom. Like bringing a picture of her mom to your house, or setting a time at lunch when Nicole can call her mom. These things will give her an "out", instead of feeling helpless and upset.

    I hope this helps!
     
  6. Well, I've been living in Germany for a little bit over a year, and she started going to my grandmother's before that...So I would say maybe about 1.5 years?

    She goes to Kindergarten from 8.30am to 12.30pm, and her mom goes to work from 12pm until 8.30pm. So she really only sees her for about 45 minutes in the morning when she is getting her ready for Kindergarten. She could go to all day Kindergarten (from 8.30 - 4), but in all honesty - I don't think they would be able to afford it. Ever since the whole car-seat incident, they've been having some money troubles.

    I really hope so. It makes me so sad to see her crying for her mommy. I was scared as a kid too (I wouldn't even go to a friends' house to play in the beginning because I was scared mom would forget me!! lol). I just hope this passes soon.

    Thank goodness her mom doesn't have to work next week. But I think this might also be a part of the problem. Her work schedule is very inconsistent. One month she works all work days, and another month she only works for a week - so Nicole gets used to her being at home, and then when she has to go back to work, it's almost like a shock for her.

    The weather is supposed to be nice on Saturday, so I think I will take Nicole with us (Bart, Julia and I) to the pool so we can all have a bit of fun. She loves going to the pool!
     
  7. I bet you are right on! Maybe the week before she goes back to work, they practice being a part little by little, an hour longer each day. I know it sounds like a burden, but I think teaching children how to self soothe is SOO important in a child's development.
     
  8. When you said a year and a half, I was shocked that she hadn't adjusted yet. But this last paragraph makes it clear. Small children appreciate and thrive on consistency. These seemingly random changes (to her) in schedule are making it hard for her to adjust. The only solution I can really think of is that your sister has to find some way to put her on a consistent schedule, or find a job that has a consistent schedule.

    It's tough but I turned down two job offers with better pay that req. me to alternate a weekend or had regular overtime. These are the sacrifices one often has to make when one has children.
     
  9. My sister was like that when she was younger-especially once I was in school & she was with my grandma by herself all day.

    Have you tried distracting her with an activity? My Mom would usually say, "Tara, can you make me a book today about a doggie going to the beach? I would love to have a pretty picture book about a doggie!" And then my sister would make the book or a painting, macaroni necklace or whatever else they came up with to give to my Mom at the end of the day-who of course would make a huge fuss over it when she got home. Tara was so focused on doing something for my Mom, she'd forget to throw a tantrum when she left.

    LOL, I can definitely tell you that half the ornaments on our Christmas tree that year were made by my sister!!
     
  10. This is a fantastic idea!! I'm buying some pasta tomorrow! lol We could also do pasta art. Oohhh, I can buy some glue too. This makes me excited! :biggrin:

    It is tough, and I can see that it's hard on my aunt too. Bart has even offered her a job working for him a few days a week for a few hours a day. The pay would have been the same as what she is making now, with less hours and she would be able to bring Nicole with her while working. Basically, she would have been writing letters, dropping off some things at different offices, pretty much easy work (which I do now :p) She declined because she didn't want this to cause a family problem if something went wrong, which I can understand too.

    Hopefully things will calm down soon. She was very good today after taking a nap, so she earned some points that she used to earn herself a trip to the pool on Saturday and Sunday. I was going to take her anyway, but she didn't know, so she was able to save her points and use it for a trip to the pool.

    We have a points system here in our house for her. Her kindergarten teacher recommended it to us, since it's what they use when she goes to kindergarten and it would help with consistency. She starts off the day with 3 points. If she misbehaves or needs to be put in time out, she loses a point. If she has points left over for the day, she can put them into the "bank". Once she saves up 6 points, she gets to do something special, like buy a small toy/book at the dollar store. If she saves up more, we take a a little trip. Sometimes it's to visit and have lunch with my mom (who works at the local military base) and then we go to the FANTASTIC playground that they have there, or a trip to the swimming pool :smile:
     
  11. Sounds like you guys are on your way to peace :tender:
     
  12. yeah sounds like you got it covered.

    i will give my 2 cents anyway: children need routine so I am not surprised she gets confused. also she basically doesn't see her mum according the schedule you mentioned, so again I am not surprised she is upset. it is one thing to have to wait for a few hours, another thing not to see your mum altogether, at that age. so actually I understand Nicole fully.

    that said: it isn't your problem IMO. It is nice that you want to help your aunt/ uncle but Julia is your first child and these are tiring and also precious months. to me it seems unfair to have to manage everything at the same time. you should have a chat with them.
     
  13. Have you tried ignoring her? I haven't read all of the previous posts, so hopefully I'm not repeating too much. But a lot of times children learn what behaviors get them attention, negative or positive, and they'll keep repeating it. Throwing a fit can get a lot of attention, and take the attention away from your baby. This might be what Nicole is trying to do.

    You could try telling Nicole that when she wants to settle down, you guys will have a little snack, play a special game, go to the park, something like that. I'm not suggesting rewarding her, but letting her know that she can go sit on the couch and scream all she wants, but she won't get any attention until she's done. Or simply say "When you're done screaming, let me know and we'll continue coloring."

    Does that make sense? lol
     
  14. 4 is a tough age, but the good thing is that you can calm her with "displacement activities" that can help relax her while giving you a break.

    1.) Crafts. Playing with playdoh, coloring, making a collage, cutting pictures out of a magazine.

    2.) have her make a card for her mother when she misses her. Let her talk about her mom and what she loves about her mom.
    3.) Have her mom bring over some of Nicole's favorite videos that you can watch quietly with her. That routine could give her some comfort.
     
  15. My daughte was having a very hard time going to school because of a stomach illness, which then went in to wanting Mommy all the time, she cried a lot too. So I made her a large notebook. I copied things off the computer, coloring pages, word searches, ect..... I also gave her a seperate notebook and wrote a 1/2 page story. Her job in school was to continue the story and then I had to do it at night so she could do it again the next day. She loved it..... Maybe get some type of craft box and have her make things for Mommy--that will keep her occupied.

    I am not sure if it was you, but did you post months ago about the problems this child has with her mother working and you and your grandmother having to babysit???? This may be rude to say but I think your Aunt really needs to spend some quality time with her child. It sounds like she rather work than take care of her child's emotional needs, I am sure that there are other jobs with better hours that she can get.
    Good luck.