I babysit a young toddler (just shy of two) & I am concerned about her behavior. This will sound odd but she's TOO good. She is more than happy to sit and look at books all day (usually on my lap) and while she DOES play "alone" i.e. independently but right at my feet she doesn't really play...she looks through foam letters and names then or through colored blocks and does the same. This may be an age thing because she has a little ride on car she like to ride around. But even that doesn't last longer than maybe 10 minutes. I try not to worry because the child I babysit is calm and I had a VERY active toddler (who is now 6) so it's not what I'm used to but my charge seems much younger than what she is and is clingy with me and that DOES concern me. I know kids are curious so I am ok with her seeing what I am doing on the computer or the phone but she follows me EVERYtime I get up and if I'm somewhere like the bathroom-where I will be for a few minutes-she will wait for me at the door rather than just see what I am doing and going back to her activity. Sometimes if we are playing together and I stand up at random (like to answer my phone) she will grab onto me and I have to pick her up. Her parents told me that she cried and fussed over meeting out of town relatives and refused to be held by them. Her random behavior is possibly me being anal because she cosleeps and uses a pacifier and I will admit it drives me crazy (mostly bc of her age)...she has to be held to fall asleep, won't sleep well if not held (the length of her nap time in bed vs her nap time being held is staggeringly different) and is still always sucking, chewing & putting things in her mouth. She is a good kid and very smart-she already knows all her letters, colors and numbers up to 20. She knows a lot of songs and sings them correctly. She speaks fairly decent (it's mostly babbling but sentences do happen). Am I just being paranoid because my own child was so different? Am I witnessing a "babied" child? Or is this something that needs to be addressed?
On my street we have 4 kids all within a few months of each other age wise. Currently they are all 3 or just approaching 3. The differences developmentally, socially and just plain old personality are really noticeable. Yet, every single one of them is normal. They all do things at their own speed and in their own time. I'm not reading anything that would stand out as an issue for me. I can also say that my child is very different at daycare or in the care of another then he is with us. Sometimes it's almost like 2 different kids..lol. I wouldn't worry, she is just her.
I don't think there is anything wrong with the child. Don't judge her by your child, lots of toddlers won't even let you go into the bathroom alone. In fact, please stop popping out labels like "babied;" lots of kids have binkies and co-sleep, even past age 2. If you can't stop judging how the child is being raised or the results (when the results seem to be a bright kid who can do a whole lot for her age, but you think is somehow too docile and needy?) then please do the parents a favor and don't be the kid's nanny. I would be really distressed if I thought my parenting was being assessed and judged negatively over such benign things as co-sleeping.
I reread my post and realized it sounded like I am comparing my daughter to the child I watch now and I think this girl's parents are morons...which is completely on the opposite end of what I actually think.
Let me try again:
I have been watching a child for over a year now and some of her behavior is starting to concern me. I try to not be overly paranoid because my own child was Tigger-level bouncy at that age and was always into everything and very curious and the child I watch is very complacent and chill and content to read books. I am not sure if I am concerned because I need to be worried or just seeing this behavior as possibly abnormal because it's not what I'm used to.
In my original post I said: "I try not to worry because the child I babysit is calm and I had a VERY active toddler (who is now 6) so it's not what I'm used to but my charge seems much younger than what she* is and is clingy with me and that DOES concern me." The she in this case is the toddler I watch and NOT my daughter. I have worked primarily with children in the 0 to 3 age range and the behavior I see exhibited by this little girl is more in line with what I see in the almost one year olds than with the almost 2 year olds. I don't see these children every day nor do I see the SAME children every day which is why I wanted to get more perspective from people who were seeing toddlers on a regular basis..
I have a genuine concern that she may have autism. I know autism is a serious disease, so before everyone gets all bent about me throwing THAT word around-this came about because my friend, a general medical practitioner (so he doesn't work specifically with kids), saw a video I had made while at work (they are for the parents so yes, I have their permission and I was watching it when my friend came over and that's how he saw it), and commented about how the child in question will wander aimlessly if I am not physically in her presence and step-by-step instructing her through playtime. He, with absolutely no prompting from me, ALSO wondered if she might have autism. That's when I became alarmed.
I have worked with her on the behaviors I apparently am nitpicking and she HAS gotten better but I am watching her do things I see BABIES do all the time and not TODDLERS which is why I am concerned. She almost seems to be going backwards in her progress and regression in behavior is a red flag for autism. It does run in her family (a sibling that does not live with her has it) which is why I wanted to post this question.
As far as the co-sleeping and pacifier use, yes, it does drive me nuts and here's why: The parents routinely complain to me that their sleep is disrupted and they hate how now that they've given her back her pacifier she is back to chewing and sucking on everything. They are allowing her to do things they don't like just so they don't have to deal with it. They are otherwise phenomenal parents but they routinely (and they admit it) allow her to do things they don't want her to, to prevent her from becoming upset and unpleasant to deal with.
If your child wants, and benefits, from sleeping with you or pacifier use and you want, and benefit, from your child co-sleeping and using a pacifier than knock your socks off. But allowing your child to continue behavior that you admit you DON'T LIKE and ISN'T HELPING THE CHILD is a big fat no in my book.
They won't train her to NOT co-sleep because they AND I QUOTE "don't want to deal with her because it's easier." I have to wonder for who because none of them sleep well when she co-sleeps and she has trouble sleeping in her own bed because she isn't used to it. The kid is constantly tired to the point that she will just randomly lay down and fall asleep. As I mentioned she's calm and not running around, which is fine because that's just her temperament and personally, but she's just literally THAT tired and it's not once in a while, it's every time I see her.
There is a significant difference in her behavior when she's allowed to use the pacifier whenever and when she's allowed to use it only for naps. When she was only allowed it for naps she would actually hand it BACK to you if you gave it to her at any other time. At some point in time she started to be allowed to use it again, for reasons I don't know or care to ask about, and now she HAS to have SOMETHING to put in her mouth. I took her to the park the other day and couldn't find her pacifier and she ended up trying to suck on rocks and tree branches. This is a kid that 3 months ago I tried to hand her, her pacifier WHILE SHE WAS CRYING, and she actually stopped crying and told me no thank you. Personal pacifier preferences and alliteration aside, that seems VERY odd to me.
Yes, she is smart and she knows things but I am concerned about the obvious eccentricities of her behavior. When we play I HAVE to start a game. I know she is little but I can bring out all her toys and step back and she will just stand there and stare at them. I actually timed it one day and got up to 20 minutes before it was ME that became bored and I was like whatever let's play. Then I sat down and started playing with toys and she just sat down and watched me. It's the same thing with the bathroom. She isn't in there unrolling the toilet paper or unloading cabinets. She is standing at the door staring at me. Do I expect her to be rappelling off of furniture and trying to ride the dog like my child was? Good, God, NO! She is a different child and I respect that but her lack of engagement, extremely easy distractibility, and obvious fear of being alone is what strikes me as odd and disconcerting.
When I said she jumps up and needs to be held I meant to the point of-and this is personal opinion-what I consider excess. I am aware certain things are probably more a matter of personality than anything else. What I am trying to find out is how MUCH of what she does is just personality related. All of it? 90%? 10%? I have merely made the action of getting to my feet to retrieve something from my pocket and she immediately jumped up after me and clung to me and refused to let me go until I held her. She does it all the time. She has 3 adults working staggered schedules (I'm there if either parent has to work or do errands or chores, the parents switch days off-when I mean she's not alone and has her adult caregiver's full attention for the entire day, I mean that literally) and she has an older sibling; this little girl is never alone, nor is she neglected, so yes, it IS bad that she is clinging to me like that. There should be absolutely no reason for her to be afraid (and she is, you can see it on her face) when I make the gesture of standing up. There ARE different temperaments and some children ARE more cuddly than others but her behavior is not stemming from her being an affectionate child. It is from insecurity. And she wasn't like this before, this all started recently.
I believe most of her behavior does NOT extend from autism but she has started showing a regression in behavior and does hit several warning signs so I wanted to ask around and find out more information and to hear from other parents of toddlers. Maybe I am paranoid, maybe I am not but it never hurts to ask.
As the child's nanny, you have the right (and the responsibility) to lay out the list of what you are seeing, say you are concerned, and ask if they might consider having the child evaluated by a professional. Just don't use language that would make it seem as though you have been thinking for a while that they are being bad parents. If your suspicions are correct, they will have enough issues to deal with.
If you are wondering what I mean about language, for example saying "allowing your child to continue behavior that you admit you DON'T LIKE and ISN'T HELPING THE CHILD is a big fat no in my book" is fine when you are talking to us anonymously on a website, obviously you have strong feelings about it and are frustrated with either the child or the situation and you're saying why. But if that tone is present when you are asking them to do something so sensitive as having the child evaluated, they are less likely to accept what you say as coming from a concerned professional who is bringing something to their attention, and more likely to feel like they have opened their home to a viper who has been harboring secret negative opinons about them. (I mean, maybe you have, but as a practical matter your professional posture is that you have not.) And saying someone is otherwise phenomenal parents but they routinely (and admittedly! AHA!) do something you disapprove of -- well, you can't sweeten the insult by coupling it with a compliment. Don't say anything evaluative about their parenting to them at all. Just lay out what you have seen, ask if they have seen it too, and then suggest they might talk to their pediatrician about having the child evaluated just to take the concern off the plate. If they don't, at least you tried.
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