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11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

  • 1.  11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 25 days ago
    Hello,

    I am an infant educator with a challenge I am not certain how to solve. Our centre enrolled a child approximately 2 months ago. She is now 11 months old. Her family is from Vietnam, though she was born here in Canada. I became an educator in the classroom two weeks ago, and was made aware that this child struggles emotionally throughout the day. That is, with the exception of brief moments here and there (and if we can get her to nap), this child cries for the majority of the day. She gets especially emotional when other children are in her proximity (our infant room has 8 children) and when she's not held by an adult, but she still cries when held and when given lots of personal space. Due to her high emotional state throughout the day, this child is not eating at all. To support the eating challenge, the child's mom brings some food from home, but the child will not eat this food either (though she will as soon as mom picks up).

    It feels as if we are long past the typical period of time that it takes children to adjust to a new centre/routine/caregivers. I am also very concerned because, as stated by the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, "When children's stress response systems remain activated at high levels for long periods, it can have a significant wear-and-tear effect on their developing brains and other biological systems. This can have lifelong effects on learning, behaviour, and both physical and mental health."

    As this has surpassed typical adjustment periods and typical seperation anxiety, I am at a loss for how to best support this child. Any advice/suggestions are welcomed!

    Thank you in advance!

    Kayla

    ------------------------------
    Kayla de Groot
    Early Childhood Educator
    NSCECE
    Halifax NS
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hello Kayla,

    It is a very emotionally tiring situation for both of you, the educator but mainly for the child. I had a very similar situation a few years back at our nursery and there were few steps we have done. With the knowledge, that some children do take longer to settle, yet as you well stated long term stress for a child is very unhealthy, we started to rule out the following: Medical issues (we looked into food intolerance, allergies, lack of sleep, sensory issues, Autism, hearing problems, just anything that could be hidden beneath the extensive cry)
    The child was also breastfed, and on solids at the same time, so until the mother came, she would not eat as well. She was also very attached to the parents of course.
    We had to cut her stay at the centre by half for about 3 months and started a very long and gradual settling process with only one adult + assistant for about 6 months.
    We got a lot of help from a child psychologist that worked with us simultaneously and as though the emotional part has improved, we did discover the main issue after a while that had medical reasons. Best of luck and the most important is to stay calm and positive as the children feel your emotions.
    ------------------------------
    Ilona Rizk
    Owner
    Kiddie Care Coaching
    Dubai
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hello Kayla,

    I have had a child around that age that came to us from China. There were a lot of variables at play. He was home with grandma all day until he started school, the only language spoken at home was Chinese, he sat in a carseat most of the day and watched tv because the grandmother was elderly and it was hard to take care of him which is why they opted to put him in the center, and he drank a bottle most of the day which is why he didn't eat much. His crying went on for about three months. I exhausted all of the methods you tried and eventually just let him come to me.  I made each game we played, song we sang, or activity we did seem like the best thing ever. I would encourage him to eat and still sat him at the table with the other children even if he didn't eat it and learned a few Chinese words to try to communicate. Eventually, he would start joining us and before we knew it he was the happiest baby ever. I know it can be frustrating, but if your little one has some of the same variables, then it may be a just a little longer. The major key is a consistent schedule. I hope it works.

    ------------------------------
    Rochelle Johnson
    Early Learning Director
    Lanham MD
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    I can hear the concern in your writing about this child's well-being. I'm not sure what type of flexibility the parents have in their schedule, but is it possible to have a few shorter days during the week to support her in adjusting. Also, talk to mom about their home routine and see what ways you all can replicate that at school. Is there music they play at home that can be played at school? Some children have longer adjustment periods due to their personality and temperament. Keep communicating with the parents as a resource, stay aware and responsive. Things will improve over time.

    Stay encouraged,

    ------------------------------
    Melinda Young
    Assessor & Training Specialist
    McCormick Center
    Lansing IL
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Kayla,

    How terribly frustrating for both of you! I agree with the previous comments and will add to them. Have you tried having mom or dad bring in an unwashed shirt? This will have their scent on it and could bring comfort to the child. Is there is something in the child's routine at home (a book, a song, etc.) that you could duplicate at school? You might also ask the family to bring in photos from home of the parents, any siblings, grandparents, pets, etc. (if you haven't already) to create a book for the child to look at while at school. I hope you are able to find a solution soon, as you are right about the high levels of stress. That baby is very lucky to have such a caring teacher. Keep your chin up, you are doing wonderful by her and her family!

    ------------------------------
    Karen Killian
    Texas Workforce Commission
    Round Rock TX
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    Kayla, think what we know about infant communication. This young lady is communicating that life is frightening. Why is it so frightening that a calm adult can't soothe her? This probably started at home. Do you know if her mother can soothe her? I think we need to listen to Harvard and consider this situation an emergency. I think she will need one person to hold her tight, squeeze, rock, and talk softly with her for possibly weeks. I think she could come around, be comfortable, in a week or so with the right person who then is still available to play with her. You may find that after the intense crying begins the adults who try to calm her are a bit tense. She if you can get a infant-experienced grandmother to be with her. My wife and I were tense about our first child and couldn't get him quieted one day when our neighbor in a tenement apartment was available. Ten seconds in her arms, held tightly against her soft body, and our trouble was over.

    ------------------------------
    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Kayla,
    What a wonderful teacher/educator you must be!!  You have a heart of gold and I'm glad to know this child has an advocate for her.  All these suggestions are wonderful and I would like to add a suggestion or two.  It sounds as if this child may be hyper sensitive to stimuli around her (noise, lights, activity, etc.), if you haven't already, try dimming the lights or shutting them off completely and going with the sunlight through the window.  Use subliminal calming music set extremely low to where it's almost non existant.  Use aromatherapy stress relief smells (eucalyptus, spearmint, lavendar).  Try dumming down the room to muted colors.  I know this sounds like a ton of work for one child, I won't lie, it is.  I also think it's going to take the right person to connect with this child.

    If you can take all the advice from the responses and are willing to put in the work, I think in short order, that this little girl will be blooming before you know it.  We also had a similar case like this a couple of weeks ago.  We tried so many things, the teacher that was in there gave notice (not because of the little girl) and a new teacher is in there.  This little girl has connected with the new teacher and is now blooming and interacting with the other children.  The mom is amazed at the difference.  The only difference is the right person connected with her and read her language.

    Hang in there Kayla, it is hard work for the both of you, however, I know you both will come out on the other side as shining stars!!!  I would love to hear the progress and if you have time please email me kidscampus@windstream.net.  I'll be glad to help in any way I can.

    All my best

    ------------------------------
    Shawn Wagner
    Owner/Director
    Kids' Campus Child Care
    Sweeny TX
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi, Kayla.
    I feel for you so much.  Thank you for caring so much about this child and reaching out.  There are many great strategies in the discussion line.  My program works with many newcomer children and this is a situation that can happen.  It can be very distressing to the staff, but we keep trying as many strategies we can.  We do encourage the staff with whom the child is most comfortable with to care for the child's needs until the child is comfortable.  Depending on the cultural background of the child, some children are very accustomed to close parent contact (some children are held or bound by fabric on their mother's back so they always feel the warmth and can smell their mother) and have such a strong bond with their parents that the transition to child care can be difficult. In addition, with children who have a different home language, there can be a very long listening period before they understand or can speak in the new language.

    Rest assured using a warm, comforting and calm tone of voice while addressing the child's needs can help even if the child doesn't understand your language.  We have tried using home music and learning a few words or even a song in home language.  Having a favourite object or piece of mom's clothing can be a helpful touch point.  We also understand that the child needs first to build a strong bond with a caring educator before the child can feel comfortable branching out and forming relationships with other children (unless perhaps they have siblings at home).  It is hard when the child doesn't want to be touched or held, but we do our best to respect the child (we still attend to their needs) and persevere with the caring words to the child.  We also support each other as a team when we are going through a tough transition period like this - we can all feel the child's distress too.  It is so rewarding when the child does finally settle in - sometimes it is a tiny shift like the child just reaching for a toy.  I do like the point of seeing if it is an option for the child to have shorter days for the settling period - we are lucky in our program that our parents are on-site with us, so we can call on the parent to come and feed and comfort the child as needed.

    ------------------------------
    Deanna Mendoza
    Coordinator Care for Newcomer Children
    Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Kayla,
    Over the years I have had a few children that this reminds me of. One of the things we did happened by accident. There was another child from China in the TTH class. This new friend from China would sit next to her picture and rub it. It became apparent that she had not really interacted with people of any other ethnicity. We made sure to increase representation of her in all of our centers and she began to settle in after about a two months.
    In another case we had twins from Peru come in and they kept each other worked up for about six weeks. We then asked a family member to come in with them and sit in a chair, not play with them or distract them, but just be there for support. They all left together after an hour. The next day we added an hour and the next day we added another hour. We then allowed the family member to "go to the bathroom" and come right back, the next day she "went to get a cup of coffee" and came back, the third day she "went to meeting" and came back. Within two weeks one twin marched in and settled happily. The other twin took a few more days to fall in love with us, but it happened!

    ------------------------------
    Martha Duff
    Director
    Woodmont Christian Preschool
    Nashville TN
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 21 days ago
    Dear Kayla,
    First, you are to be commended, as others have, for being so caring and concerned about this little one.  And as others have also said, this IS a crisis. What has the director told you about the situation, and about what the other staff have tried in the previous 6 weeks?  Does the child cry at home?  If so, how do they handle it?  As someone else has said, have they already ruled out physical problems?  Has anyone asked the family if the temperature of the classroom is significantly different from the temperature of the home?  The lighting? The presence or absence of music? Smells? other family members, especially siblings?  At home, what does this child do all day? What is expected of her in terms of behavior, activity level, etc?
     We once had a child in our program who was quite overweight and sedentary.  Seems the previous caregiver had him sitting at the TV all day and if he made any noise, gave him a cookie.  Once he moved around and ate healthy snacks at snack time, he gradually grew taller, lost weight, and became VERY active - as if making up for lost time.
    Many years ago, I subbed for 2 weeks in a class of 3 year olds, for the month of December.  One child cried off and on for the first couple of hours. I was told he cried every day since September.  I went right to the director and asked what had already been done.  She didn't even know about it!  Neither did the mother!!!  I don't even remember (it was more than 40 years ago) what I did or said, but in 3 days the crying stopped and the little boy played happily.  I was so upset that the staff hadn't involved the director or the family. They didn't want to "look bad" so they just let that little boy cry!!!  I do remember that I learned to make sure that everyone was involved in coming up with possible solutions, and have applied this since then.
    Best of luck and keep caring!

    ------------------------------
    Ellen Cogan, MS Ed - Owner, Chief Consultant - HILLTOP Early Childhood SERVICES
    NYS Early Learning Credentialed Trainer
    NYS Master Cadre, Pyramid Model
    Implementation Planner, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership
    www.earlychildinfo.com
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi Kayla,

    Wow this is a challenging one and great you're reaching out. I am quite familiar with this situation as our centers have young children (typically 2 or so) with autism and special needs. Most young children who start our program stop crying once they start the program within a few days or a week or 2 max. However some do cry for a long time even with great special ed teachers and supervisors working with the child.

    Glad you're reaching out to our community. Maybe some of these strategies will make a big difference. Another way to get help is the Early Intervention Program. Crying for months is not typical and its certainly a special situation. Its possible this could also come from special needs of the infant. If the parents will agree to refer the child to the Nova Scotia Early Intervention program then they'll do a thorough evaluation and make recommendations. If services are approved then the child/family may be able to get good early childhood specialists that can help understand and intervene to make a difference. As we say in early intervention, the earlier the better. Its best to rule out issues early.

    The Nova Scotia Early Intervention Development Services contact is here:
    https://www.nsecdis.ca/

    Also, its good that the child eats with the family. You said the family is from Vietnam and the infant was born in Canada. If the family speaks Vietnamese this could be a big clue to the infant that she is not in her safe family environment. It would be helpful to compare the infants behavior at home vs the center.

    Feel free to reach out to chat on this situation if desired.

    ------------------------------
    Scott Mesh, PhD, CEO
    Los Niños Services (NYC) www.losninos.com
    Young Child Expo & Conference www.youngchildexpo.com
    scott.mesh@losninos.com
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottmeshnyc/
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: 11 Month Old Cries ALL Day for 2 Months

    Posted 22 days ago
    I agree with the ideas Deanna has suggested. There are many cultures where babies and young children are not cared for by adults outside the immediate family. This is often the case with Chinese families and I am sure that is the case with many other cultures. Having said that, when I was the Director of a cooperative nursery school, we had a 3 year old who started in our school late in the year. He cried and cried everyday for the last two months of the school year. In talking with his mother, she suggested that maybe he should not come back in the fall. I told her that we should wait to see how he responds in the fall. The fall came and the little boy waved to his mother and kissed her goodbye. Part of what was happening is that the child needed to get used to the facility and the adults who were caring for him.
    I believe that with an 11 month old that "getting comfortable" with childcare and the strangers who are now looking after him would be much harder than what happens with a 3 year old. All of Deanna's suggestions should help calm the child down.

    " My program works with many newcomer children and this is a situation that can happen.  It can be very distressing to the staff, but we keep trying as many strategies we can.  We do encourage the staff with whom the child is most comfortable with to care for the child's needs until the child is comfortable.  Depending on the cultural background of the child, some children are very accustomed to close parent contact (some children are held or bound by fabric on their mother's back so they always feel the warmth and can smell their mother) and have such a strong bond with their parents that the transition to child care can be difficult. In addition, with children who have a different home language, there can be a very long listening period before they understand or can speak in the new language.

    Rest assured using a warm, comforting and calm tone of voice while addressing the child's needs can help even if the child doesn't understand your language.  We have tried using home music and learning a few words or even a song in home language.  Having a favourite object or piece of mom's clothing can be a helpful touch point.  We also understand that the child needs first to build a strong bond with a caring educator before the child can feel comfortable branching out and forming relationships with other children (unless perhaps they have siblings at home).  It is hard when the child doesn't want to be touched or held, but we do our best to respect the child (we still attend to their needs) and persevere with the caring words to the child.  We also support each other as a team when we are going through a tough transition period like this - we can all feel the child's distress too.  It is so rewarding when the child does finally settle in - sometimes it is a tiny shift like the child just reaching for a toy.  I do like the point of seeing if it is an option for the child to have shorter days for the settling period - we are lucky in our program that our parents are on-site with us, so we can call on the parent to come and feed and comfort the child as needed."

    I also wonder about how the 11 month old is "dropped off" at the school. Given rules that some centers have and COVID, many centers do not allow parents to enter the school with their child. The child is handed over to an assistant teacher or head teacher at the door. In our coop, back in the day, for the first week after a child is enrolled, the parents were encouraged to spend a little time in the room with their child to help in the transition. Because this child is so young, I believe that this might help.

    I also believe that the crying feeds more crying. Keep searching for ideas for soothing the anxieties of this child. Best of luck.


    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------