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The playgroup year begins next week.  Most of the kids have never been part of a group consisting of their peers.  And most have not been without a parent, nanny or babysitter for hours at a time, on an ongoing basis.  It is impossible to know before the group begins how any one of the children will react to this new situation.  Therefore, I don’t have a formula.  This may be disappointing to some parents.

When the group begins to meet, I recommend that most parents stay for about a half hour, or until all the children have arrived.  Then leave (not all at once!) and assume that all will be well.  I ask that one person in the family be available to pick their child up early if they are having a hard time.  It’s a little difficult to describe what a “hard time” is.  Well, of course,  inconsolable crying is one, but if I know that a particular child has rarely been left with anyone other than the parents or caregiver, I might ask that their child be picked up a bit earlier for a few weeks.

Separation from your child can be painful at first.  And I mean painful for the child as well as the adults in their lives.  I truly believe this (or another) group experience, with warm and knowledgeable teachers, is a real gift to  very young children.  A gentle step away from the family for short periods of time, meeting over a period of months, is very empowering.

Published inSeparation

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