Surviving the first drop-offs at childcare is tough for both baby and parents. Everyone seems to tell me it is the parent that feels the pain of separation more. As babies can’t really talk at this stage, I guess we will never know who feels the separation the hardest. According to the carers, they will usually say that a few minutes after the parents have left that their baby has started to enjoy themselves and has found something to take their minds off of the fact that their parents are no longer with them.
What can we as parents do while our children are in care? The following list delves into a few options to help keep you busy and your mind off of your baby until you are once again reunited.
This one may not be by choice, but it should, hopefully, help keep your mind off of your little one. That said, I haven’t yet returned back to work. I imagine I will be thinking of my baby girl while I am at work, but the busier I am, I know, the less chance I will have to miss her. Keeping busy will definitely be key.
A word of caution, retail therapy may not be the most ideal thing to do after dropping off your baby in childcare for the first time. Taken from experience, it is too easy to overspend in an attempt to feel better and distract yourself from missing your little one. Sure, it may make you feel great temporarily, but soon after, you will possibly miss your baby again and be back where you started, only with less money in your bank account.
Shopping for an actual purpose, your new outfit for when you return to work, for example is possibly the safest way to shop. If you’re like me, I ended up in the toy department, buying even more toys for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. Toys she possibly didn’t need. I didn’t mean to, but her sad little face when I dropped her off had me thinking more about her, and less about what I needed when I arrived at the shops.
Ok, this one probably doesn’t sound like fun, but it is amazing how rewarding it is to tidy the house without having little helpers slowing you down. Starting with the toughest job, like mopping the floors, will be the most rewarding once it’s done. Mopping the floors with a crawling baby is usually rather difficult, as the sight of a bucket of water is very attractive to her, as is anything wet or clean.
Get some exercise
Exercise has been known to release and produce serotonin levels. Don’t just take my word for it, the following blog explains this perfectly: https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201111/boosting-your-serotonin-activity
For me, my favorite type of exercise is exercise you do, without realizing that you are really exercising. Walking along the beach, taking in the beautiful scenery and getting some fresh air, not only is a great thing to do, but it is really relaxing. It is so much easier walking when you’re not pushing a pram up and down hills.
Dancing is also a great way to exercise. Dancing is fun, it boosts your mood and you can do it anywhere. If you’re really making the most of multi-tasking, you can do as I do, and combine housework with dancing. It’s definitely the most fun way to tidy a house!
Grab a coffee
Depending on how your week or day is going, you might find that having some quiet ‘me time’ is a perfect time to reflect and relax. Sometimes parenting can be so crazy, that drinking a coffee in its entirety, while it’s still hot and without gulping, can be an accomplishment. Taking some time out and drinking a coffee can seem like such a perfect thing to do. While you’re at it, why not grab yourself a treat to eat too. At least you won’t have to share it.
Meet up with a friend
It can often be difficult to catch up with friends, without having to plan it around the children. Often, my children tag along with me when I catch up with anyone. Meeting up with friends without children around can be a great way for you to have an adult conversation without worrying what the children are up to. That said, when you are sad and going through the first stages of missing your little one, you may find that all conversations revolve around your child, and how you miss them so much and can’t wait to see them again. A good friend will understand this and will no doubt try to take your mind off of your separation.
It is amazing how relaxing it can be to have someone take care of your needs for a change. Relax, get a massage, a facial, manicure, pedicure, hairstyle, whatever. Enjoy the time off and remind yourself that you deserve this. Whatever you do, try not to fall asleep. You don’t want to waste the precious time by sleeping.
Listen to music
It’s amazing how strange it can feel, coming home to a quiet home the first few times. Putting on some music, that isn’t targeted for children, can instantly be a boost and lift the mood. Music has an amazing way though of forcing you to remember events and periods of your life. Choose your music carefully, or else you could end up playing music that makes you think of your baby and before you know it, you’re missing them terribly and wanting to cuddle them again.
The happier the music, the better.
There you have it, a list of things to do help you survive the first few drop-offs. I hope you are able to cope with the separation and that when you are reunited with your child that they are so happy to see you and that you both share the best cuddle ever.
Enjoy your time. Try not to be too sad. Good luck.