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Avatar Amali...
How much time should it take for my 18month old to settle in to daycare?

He goes in for 2 half days a week and it's now been 2 weeks. He refuses to eat, drink or play while he's there. He cries and falls asleep and doesn't seem to do much else during the 5 hours.

Jane ...
Answer: Hi, This must be very concerning for you. I assume you have spoken with his carers and sought their advice on how to manage this? For him to not engage and clearly be upset for 5 hours is a worry. Would it help if you spent some time with him there to help him acclimatise to this new environment? For him to be sleeping is a form of avoidance and self comforting and unless he starts engaging with the other kids and carers soon, you are going to need to do something different. Some kids are just a little slower in warming up to others and different places and they need more time. But how much time is the question, there is no magic period of time when it should all just fall into place. Each child's temperament and personality factors so strongly that there is no consistent age. Could you invite some little friends over to your place from child care so he may become more familiar with them in his own environment? Try not to let him pick up on your own concern if it is obvious, be confident and calm when you drop him off. Take the advice of his carers in terms of separating, but don't just disappear. Make sure he has some familiar home toys with him, ones he likes and is attached to. His own cot sheets may help too. Hopefully in the next week or so he will become more settled. It may help if you looked at the days he goes, I know this could be challenging but if they are consecutive, perhaps separating them would improve the situation. Think about his drop off arrangements as well, perhaps your partner could take him or vice versa? An initial upset at the beginning of the day can be difficult for kids to get over and this may set the tone for a more receptive mood for him. cheers and good luck Jane
Answered: 11 Mar 2010