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NAN: Infants and Caregiver Transitions

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As an infant gets older he may experience separation anxiety when being left with someone other than his parents. While some infants may experience separation anxiety as early as 4 to 5 months, separation anxiety peaks around 9 months of age. 

Having a predictable routine in place for when parents and nanny transition caregiving duties can help the infant to feel more secure. Nannies can encourage parents to say goodbye to their infant using a consistent phrase each time they depart and to follow it up with a hug and kiss before leaving.

If an infant cries, prolonging the goodbye can make the separation transition more stressful. Instead of coming back into the house several times to check and see if the infant is okay, the parent can be encouraged to call the nanny after leaving to confirm the infant has settled down and has been comforted. A nanny can help comfort an infant by hugging her, singing to her, acknowledging and validating her emotions, distracting her with a favorite toy or by bringing her into another room to change the environment.

While it can be tempting for parents to sneak out of the house without saying goodbye, doing so should be discouraged. In addition to not learning that their parents will come back when they leave, sneaking out can damage the trust a child has in her parents and cause a child to feel anxious about her parents leaving in the future.

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Infants and Caregiver Transitions