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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
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I care for my 16 month old granddaughter 4 days a week. I've

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I care for my 16 month old granddaughter 4 days a week. I've had her since she was 3 months old. My son usually brings her to me and picks her up in the afternoon. Recently my granddaughter has been very distant towards her mother when she comes to get her. Not wanting to go with her or even having anything to do with her. I know this is heartbreaking for mom. Is there something we can work on to change this behavior. I believe once she is home with mom she is fine.
Hi. Thanks for asking your important question here. I would like to try to help.

This is not unusual behavior for this age child. In a way, she is expressing her feelings about mother leaving all day....and not rejecting her but "scolding her" but just for a moment. In addition, transitions and change are hard for babies. So, for instance, if she is used to daddy picking her up, she is reacting to the change ("now it's Mommy").

I have a couple of thoughts if they are logistically possible. What if you took her home instead so that the transition back to mother is in her home environment. In addition, at your house have things which are reminders of bother mommy and daddy (a picture, a recording of them reading a simple story, a piece of their clothing with their scent/perfume/cologne on it, etc). Also if Mommy is going to pick her up, if she could bring a "transition object" such as a toy from the house or a toy which is kept in the car to aid in transition. Children also respond to music and music which signals an activity. So just as "Row, row" can be sung at bath time, a familiar lullaby at bedtime, there can be a transition song which you start to sing few minutes before they are scheduled to arrive to prepare baby. I am also wondering if she might be tired at that time of day. If it is possible to prevent her from being overtired at transition time, that would also help.

I hope this helps and thanks for being concerned because parent-child relationships are so important to the well-being of children. Keep up the good grandparenting!!
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