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by Ivy M. Wax, Educational Consultant

The first rule of thumb that a mom uses in deciding when is the right time to involve other people in caring for the child is after there has been a period of time that she has been able to observe the comfort or distress level of that child… in other words how "fussy" is your child? How well do you know what makes the child feel comforted? Do you understand the child's disposition? Is it easy going, or does she/he like to sleep a certain way? At a certain time?. Do you have a schedule and structure in place that would be easy to follow by someone else? For example the time to sleep, to eat, to play, etc. When you and the child have a "rhythm" together than you know you are ready to introduce a new person.

Secondly, picking that other person can be a challenge more than you think. There is nothing sweeter to a family member, especially a grandparent for example, when they are called upon to help in the care of their grandchild…well, maybe. This generation of grandparents,while eager to help are also very active in their own lives. Many are still working, or enjoying the fruits of their labor. They want to contribute but feel conflicted. They want to "fill-in" but are not necessarily desiring to give up days each week, all year. Are they the right people to count on to be consistent as caregivers?

The child needs a person who ,from early childhood, does not necessarily "substitute" for the mother but is someone available consistently, introduced to the child slowly, until they too understand the "rhythm" of that child. I remember interviewing care-takers when my children where very little. I needed to start back to work but wanted to feel reassured that this new person was on the "same wave-length" as my child. This took place years ago before hidden camera's. I had hired this person(s) to come over for a few hours when I knew my child was "up." I didn't stay in the room with her but simply observed from a distance. I was looking to see whether this person tried to make my child conform to her time table of when to play, be feed, or be held, and when my child was ready for this to happen. If you have invested time in getting to know your child you will see that you can observe and analyize this difference.

It is always difficult to "let-go" of your child, no matter how old they are. But the best time to "share" our child is when you feel confident that you and your child have "bonded." You are able to respond to your child as though he/she has been with you forever. It's When you know that your child recognizes you to be the primary giver, the person who can be counted on to return. Chidren can develop a timetable of their own that allows them to feel secure, too. Interests and strengths is discovered and nurtured, a new sense of motivation emerges which can lead to greater personal happiness and fulfillment.

Imy F. Wax is a licensed psychotherapist, certified counselor, and Educational Consultant. Currently in adolescent, individual, and family practice, Imy F. Wax is a Certified Diplomate in Psychotherapy, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Educational Planner and a member of the National Board for Certified Counselors. Learn more at her website, . To contact Ms. Wax call (847) 945-0913 or email her at:

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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