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Babysitting a 2yr old who wants her daddy... what to do??

I'm a mother to a 6yr old boy. I've never dealt with this problem even when I babysat as a teenager. This little girl is 2, and she's spending the night because her father works nights. She has burst into tears about 3 times now screaming for daddy, and I feel like an idiot not knowing what to do. What would you suggest?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 9:25 PM on May. 23, 2013 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (11)
  • just tell her daddy will be home later....... sing and read to her, cuddle, play with some fun toys, give her a bath and just make her comfortable.

    Answer by LeJane at 9:28 PM on May. 23, 2013

  • "lets draw daddy a special picture he will LOVE when you give it to him in the morning" bathtime always distracted my son, painting, funny show

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 9:38 PM on May. 23, 2013

  • Acknowledge her feelings, that she really wants her dad & he's not there, and do it in a calm & caring way. More about presenting the assurance that it's okay to feel that way (and that you can deal) rather than suggesting that you are desperate to distract her or cheer her up. Make it okay to feel how she feels, and to express it, and it will be a lot more relieving to her (and also very healthy.) Her daddy will be home later and it's fine to reinforce this, but in the context of providing an emotional anchor as you support her feelings, not in an effort to make her feelings go away or stop.
    If you can manage this and give her the space to be unhappy/discontented, you probably will see her work through whatever she's feeling, come to terms with the situation, and begin to adapt to her present reality & find the fun in it. She also will likely feel more connected to you.
    Is this a one-time thing or a regular arrangement?

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:42 PM on May. 23, 2013

  • Some of what you can do when you are "creating space" by acknowledging her feelings & just letting them be what they are, is to ask things like "What would your daddy do if he were here right now?" or "What would you do with/tell your daddy if he could be here?" (etc.) She may decide that she wants YOU to read that story or play horsie, etc. Or she may like the idea of making/drawing something for Daddy. Clearing out the feelings with support in a safe place (where someone isn't struggling AGAINST your feelings or acting like you have to be "protected" from them) makes room for a child's emergent energy to return.

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:49 PM on May. 23, 2013

  • It is not uncommon for them to do this at this age. Do not take it personal and just try to redirect and comfort her. If possible, call her dad and see what his normal routine is with her or if he has any suggestions.

    Answer by LeJane at 10:00 PM on May. 23, 2013

  • If this is going to be a regular arrangement, you might consider having Dad leave a recordable storybook he has read aloud so his little girl can hear his voice. He could also leave a stuffed animal or a piece of clothing he has kept with him because it will have his scent on it. Young children are often comforted by subtle smells of their parents. Sticking as closely as possible to the child's normal routine, especially at first, might also help.

    Answer by Ballad at 10:11 PM on May. 23, 2013

  • Does he have a dinner break? Can you call him so she can here his voice?
    Is this going to be a regular thing? If so I do have some suggestions

    Answer by Dardenella at 10:49 PM on May. 23, 2013

  • Maybe telling her that if she goes to sleep, when she wakes u in the morning daddy will be there.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 1:32 AM on May. 24, 2013

  • Tell her that daddy will be back soon and try to get her mind on something else. Find her some cartoons, read to her, play with her, make her a snack. It's going to take some time to adjust but she will eventually.

    Answer by Razzle_Dazzle1 at 4:59 AM on May. 24, 2013

  • Maybe he can give her a persoanl item that she can "take care of" and keep safe for him while he works. Then have it ready for him when he gets back. Just an idea..............

    Answer by silverthreads at 8:06 AM on May. 24, 2013

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