Q: I am a single mother that runs various businesses to make a stable future for me and my child, so usually I leave the nanny home with my child. Recently, my child has become so attached to the nanny that i feel left out. Please give me tips to increase the bond with my two-year-old daughter. Thanks! 

A: Begin by giving yourself a huge teaspoonful of praise.  You have given your daughter two years of security by providing her with a warm nurturing nanny in the comfort and familiarity of her own home environment.  You chose the optimal caregiving situation versus placing her in an outside daycare.

I absolutely understand your feelings.  If the nanny is rivalrous or competitive with you, you may need to reconsider whether she is the best nanny for your family.  Hopefully, your nanny respects and reinforces your position as “Mommy”.

Your goal is to enhance and deepen your bond with your two-year-old daughter. No need to detach your child from her nanny. It is helpful that she has this secondary attachment so that your little girl feels comfortable and secure when you are not there.

Try the following tips to increase your bond with your toddler.

  • Establish a regular daily mommy/daughter bonding time at the same time every day. It should be predicable to your little girl so attach it to a regular activity. For instance, every day before dinner; every morning before Mommy goes to work; or every day before naptime. Choose a time that you know you can deliver. Make special time pure joy. It can last as little as 10 to 15 minutes. Pick activities you know your child will love including scooping her own ice-cream cone, walking hand-in-hand with Mommy around the block, looking at picture books, or rocking in Mommy’s arms. These activities give you the opportunity to build upon and deepen the attachment you established during her first year of life. 
  • Create a new transitional object by offering her Mommy’s soft, old, white t-shirt (unlaundered). Play a game of “Hide Mommy’s Shirt” under your blouse and let her find it. When she does, rub the soft shirt on her cheek and say, “Mommy’s shirt is now your cuddly!” Offer it to her when she eats, lies down to sleep at naps and nighttime. You are enhancing her attachment to Mommy through the smell of Mommy’s skin and soft texture.
  • Visit your little girl at home during your lunch break. You can eat lunch with your little girl and then put her down for her nap. Eating and sleep times are the greatest bonding times. 

Answered by Dr. Fran Walfish