What a huge topic! I remember reading, when my daughter Sara was a baby in the early 1980’s, that a child’s first act of separation was when they lean away from you while you’re holding them. There are probably even earlier acts, but this really stuck in my mind. What an idea! My early instincts as a parent told me this was what was supposed to happen. I still believe that. It comes with a little heart break each time, but it should also be noticed and celebrated.
When the playgroup begins in September of every year, I very much sympathize with parents, and caregivers, who have a hard time leaving their young child in a new situation. Letting go is a big deal. Perhaps less so if this is their second or third child (in some cases it’s even harder), but, nonetheless it is a process. But I believe it is a really good step for children, and I try to make the transition as smooth as possible. There are times in the beginning that I let parents stay – sometimes longer than I would recommend. Who am I to say what is best for that particular child? We are, in most cases, just getting to know each other. All I have to go by is my 26 years of running playgroups, knowing that it works out, and is a wonderful experience for the whole family.