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I’ve been babysitting a 20 month old weekly for the past few months. At the start he loved me but the past few times I have watched him he has cried for mum constantly. When I see him when I’m with my nanny kids he always clings to his mum. I mainly have experience with older kids so this is all very new. I’m not sure if he doesn’t like me or just wants mum. I’m mainly concerned that for the 2-4 hours we usually spend together he doesn’t want to do anything but cry. I have tried every activity I can think of. His mum asked me today if I would like to do more (4x a week). Any advice is welcome.

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    Based on the information you have given, asking you to watch him more when he clearly wants to be with his mom is irresponsible of her. Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 6:02
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    @DennisHackethal Based on the very limited information that we have, though. The mom may not be thrilled about it either and have noticed, and may not have any other choice but to take a sitter, so I wouldn't be so quick to judge that as "irresponsible", as she may be doing exactly what's most responsible in her situation and with her constraints.
    – haylem
    Commented Jan 8 at 10:15

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Children that age often suffer from separation anxiety, which is totally normal. They need to learn that their parent will come back for them, that they can trust other caregivers. However, the NHS says "If your child's separation anxiety is causing them a lot of distress, they are upset for a long time after you have left them, or it has been going on for more than a few weeks, talk to your health visitor." Does the parent know how upset their child has been? You could try and work with the parent to help the child settle in, by having the parent come too and slowly move away from being actively involved with you and their child over multiple sessions, until the child is just playing with you. For example, following these guidelines from the professional association for childcare and early years

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It's common for toddlers to go through phases of attachment and separation anxiety. The child might be missing their mom during those moments. Try creating a comforting routine and gradually introduce activities to build trust. It might take some time for the child to adjust. Communicate openly with the mom about your concerns and discuss strategies together.

My daughter is going through a separation anxiety at the moment, it is when I leave her at the nursery. Her key worker and I tried different things to calm her down, usually having her favourite Teddy helps her. I understand you are the toddler’s house to watch him? I would suggest to spend some time with mom and toddler, playing. So the toddler can see mum plays with you and trusts you. Then during the play, mum can pop out for a little while, then longer.

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