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Painful transitions: a study of 1-year-old toddlers’ reactions to separation and reunion with their mothers after 1 month in childcare



In this paper, we present findings from the filmed observations of 12 1-year-old toddlers in 10 different Norwegian childcare centres during separations and reunions with their mothers. Separations and reunions are sensitive situations, especially around the age of one, when separation anxiety normally peaks. The observations were conducted when the toddlers were between 13 and 15 months old and had been attending childcare for 1 month. The video recordings were analysed in light of attachment theory, emphasizing expressions of protest, despair and detachment among the children. Findings indicate that all the toddlers struggled with separation anxiety in different phases during the observed transitions. Few employees present in the early mornings and late afternoons often made the transitions more difficult. Implications of the findings are discussed.
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Early Child Development and Care
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Painful transitions: a study of 1-year-old toddlers’
reactions to separation and reunion with their
mothers after 1 month in childcare
Trine Klette & Kari Killén
To cite this article: Trine Klette & Kari Killén (2018): Painful transitions: a study of 1-year-old
toddlers’ reactions to separation and reunion with their mothers after 1 month in childcare, Early
Child Development and Care, DOI: 10.1080/03004430.2018.1424150
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Published online: 11 Jan 2018.
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Painful transitions: a study of 1-year-old toddlersreactions to
separation and reunion with their mothers after 1 month in
Trine Klette and Kari Killén
School of Nursing, Diakonova University College, Oslo, Norway; Center for Welfare and Labour Research, Oslo and
Akershus University College, Oslo, Norway
In this paper, we present findings from the filmed observations of 12 1-
year-old toddlers in 10 different Norwegian childcare centres during
separations and reunions with their mothers. Separations and reunions
are sensitive situations, especially around the age of one, when
separation anxiety normally peaks. The observations were conducted
when the toddlers were between 13 and 15 months old and had been
attending childcare for 1 month. The video recordings were analysed in
light of attachment theory, emphasizing expressions of protest, despair
and detachment among the children. Findings indicate that all the
toddlers struggled with separation anxiety in different phases during the
observed transitions. Few employees present in the early mornings and
late afternoons often made the transitions more difficult. Implications of
the findings are discussed.
Received 4 December 2017
Accepted 2 January 2018
Toddlers; day care; filmed
observations; separation
anxiety; attachment
After childbirth, Norwegian parents are entitled to 49 weeks of parental leave with 100% wage com-
pensation. When the child is 1-year old, families are also entitled to publicly subsidized child care. In
2016, more than 90% of Norwegian 1-year-olds spent, on average, 40 hours a week in paid care
outside the home. This was an increase of almost 30% since 2000 (Statistics Norway, 2017). Many
studies have shown that transitioning from home to day care is stressful for small children, and
that it is crucial that care providers help the children manage their responses to this stress
(Ahnert, Gunnar, Lamb, & Barthel, 2004; Ahnert & Lamb, 2003). Negative experiences with early
care influence the hypothalamicpituitaryadrenal axis, which is a major part of the system control-
ling among others, our responses to trauma, injury and stress. Significant differences in daytime cor-
tisol levels have been found in toddlers when they are in day care compared with when they are at
home (Ahnert et al., 2004; Drugli et al., 2017). The normal diurnal pattern is for cortisol to be highest in
the morning and gradually decrease during the day, but in day care the opposite has been seen
(Gunnar & Quevedo, 2006; Levine, 2005).
One of the most consistent findings in childcare research is that the quality of the care matters
(Vermeer, van IJzendoorn, Cárcamo, & Harrison, 2016). Childcare quality is often assessed via struc-
tural features, such as childstaff ratio, group size and care provider education and training, and
via observations of interaction, emphasizing sensitivity, responsivity and the richness of language
(Klette, Drugli, & Aandahl, 2016; McCartney, 2007). A recently published study found that the
quality of care in Norwegian childcare centres was just above the minimum (Bjørnestad & Os, in
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Trine Klette
press). Long hours in care have also been seen to constitute a risk for developmental problems
(Vermeer & van IJzendoorn, (2006)). Long hours combined with stressful parentchild relationships
have been associated with angry aggression in pre-schoolers (Belsky, 2001; Vandell, Burchinal,
Clarke-Stewart, McCartney, & Owenm, 2007).
The emotional quality of our earliest attachment experiences may be the single most important
influence on human development (Datler, Ereky-Stevens, Hover-Reisner, & Malmberg, 2012; Sroufe,
Cooper, & Marshall, 1988). When there are daily interactions with the primary caregiver, an attach-
ment-related behavioural pattern is usually developed, organized and observable starting from
about 8 months. Sensitive and predictable availability from at least one stable person is essential
for infants to be and remain securely attached (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). According
to attachment theory, during the first years, attachment needs in humans are almost exclusively
directed at one primary caregiver (Bowlby, 1960). These years are also of prominent importance
with regard to the extent and speed of development, and this is especially true of the brain,
which normally doubles in size during the first two years. Sensitivity, availability, predictability,
empathy and the ability to provide comfort appear to be key features in the care for babies and tod-
dlers (Ainsworth et al., 1978; Crittenden, 2000; Klette, 2007).
During the past 60 years, attachment theory and research has given rise to a huge amount of
methods and practices. Today the theory is widely viewed as one of the most influential and impor-
tant when it comes to understanding human development (Cassidy & Shaver, 2008). Underlying the
theory were numerous observations of separations and reunions between parents and young chil-
dren (Bowlby, 1960; Robertson & Robertson, 1971). Some of the observations were published as com-
mercial films, such as the now classic A two-year-old goes to hospital(Bowlby & Robertson, 1952;
Robertson, 1952). In this film, we see a little girl, Laura, during a 9-day stay at a London hospital to
undergo a hernia operation. Parents were not allowed to stay with their hospitalized children at
that time. We can see Laura protesting intensely when being separated from her mother on the
first day. After a while, however, she becomes resigned; she stops crying and screaming, and
seems to settle in. But an increasing sadness and passivity is visible in the little girl. After a few
days, she withdraws from her mother when she comes to visit, and later she openly rejects her
mothers offerings. At that point, we are also told that Laura has started to wet her bed again, and
we also see her hitting a doll quite violently on several occasions.
The process observed in Laura, and in many other children who were separated from their parents,
has been described as occurring in phases, called protest, despair and denial by Robertson (1952), and
protest, despair and detachment by Bowlby (1960). Bowlby, among others, preferred the term detach-
ment, because it was a natural counterpart to attachment. In his view, separation anxiety was inborn
and primary to humans, and a prerequisite for love. He described it as the other side of the coinin
relation to attachment and as essential for our ability to form deep and lasting relationships (Bowlby,
1960). Separation anxiety is first expressed in babies about 28 weeks old, and the vulnerability to sep-
aration from the primary attachment figure does not diminish until the child is about 2 years and 9
months old. The fear of separation is thought to peak between 8 and 28 months, although there are
considerable variations, according to Bowlby (1960).
When separation anxiety is activated, the most prominent sign of the first phase protest is the
childs acute distress. The child cries, screams and throws him- or herself about, and the behaviour is
agitated and intense (Bowlby, 1960; Robertson & Robertson, 1971). The protest phase may last from a
few hours to weeks, but if the parent fails to return for long, the behaviour will gradually disappear
and be replaced by expressions of the next phase despair. In this phase, an increasing hopelessness
and passivity becomes visible. Active physical movements diminish or come to an end, the child with-
draws, is inactive and makes no demands on the environment. Bowlby (1960) described this phase as
the quiet phase, and he noted that the quietness is often mistakenly taken to indicate a diminution
of distress. If the separation continues, the despair is gradually replaced by detachment. The hall-
marks of detachment are often welcomed as signs of recovery, as the child no longer protests,
cries or rejects care, food or toys. Alternatively, the child may smile and be sociable. But when the
primary caregiver returns, there is a striking absence of the behaviour characteristics of strong attach-
ment seen at the infant/toddler age (Ainsworth, 1973; Ainsworth et al., 1978; Bowlby, 1960; Sroufe
et al., 1988).
The long-term effect of toddlersexperiences with daily separations from the primary caregiver in
day care is not yet fully understood. Studies of small childrens behaviour in care are still rare, and the
findings are inconclusive (Datler et al., 2012). There is, however, broad agreement that long hours and
low quality of care pose severe threats to childrens development and welfare. In the present study,
we investigated the reactions and behaviour of 12 toddlers during the transitions in day care. We
asked the following questions: (1) What characterizes the toddlersreactions and behaviour during
separations and reunions with their primary caregivers? (2) How do the care providers meet the tod-
dlersneeds during the transitions?
The participating families were recruited by public health nurses in a Norwegian municipality, during
the spring of 2014. To make the group of toddlers as similar as possible, the health visitors were asked
to invite only families with an only child to participate in the study. The toddlers were considered to
be generally healthy by the health visitors, and none of them had any special needs. They were all
about 1 year of age and about to attend childcare in autumn 2014. We asked for the children to
be observed with their primary caregivers, which resulted in 12 mothers participating. The study
was approved by the Norwegian Social Science Data Services.
Data collection
The children were between 13 and 16 months when they were observed for the present study and
had been attending day care for a month. Data were gathered through filmed observations at the
child care centres, and each child was filmed individually on the same day. Appointments with the
mothers and care providers were made well in advance of the observations. Day and time were
decided in accordance with the motherspreferences. Depending on their working hours, the
mothers would bring the toddlers to the centres between 7 am and 9 am and pick them up
between 3.30 pm and 5 pm We arrived before the mothers, both in the mornings and in the after-
noons. After greeting and introducing ourselves, we found suitable places and started filming with a
small camera. Depending on how much time the mothers spent at the centres, the filmed obser-
vations varied in length from 10 to 30 minutes.
Data analyses
The footage was initially reviewed by the two authors independently and later discussed. To get an
overview, we first watched each film separately, making observational notes. We then observed the
footage again, focusing mainly on the toddlersattachment behaviour and signs of separation anxiety
(Ainsworth et al., 1978; Bowlby, 1960; Robertson & Robertson, 1971). This approach was chosen
because of its relevance for the study, its theoretical perspective, and the authorsprior experience
with attachment-based methods and observations of toddlers (Bick, Dozier, & Perkins, 2012; Killén,
Klette, & Arnevik, 2006; Klette, 2007; Klette et al., 2016). When analysing the care providersbehaviour,
we focused on their availability and comforting behaviour.
According to Bowlby (1960), the protest phase may last from a couple of hours to weeks in tod-
dlerhood. All crying, clinging, agitated behaviour and attempts to follow the mothers were noted.
Because the phase of despair may follow the protest phase after just hours in toddlers, we also
observed and noted expressions of hopelessness, inactivity and withdrawal, as well as immobility
and self-soothing among the target toddlers. In the phase of despair, the child seems to be in mourn-
ing, is silent and does not make any demands on the surroundings. If the mother takes too long to
return when the child is in this phase, the detachment phase may set in. In this phase, the child may
appear happy and content, eating, playing and joining in readily, giving the impression of having
settled in. But upon reunion with the mother the child fails to show any of the strong signs of attach-
ment that are normal at this age; far from greeting her, he seems hardly to know her, far from cling-
ing, he may remain remote and apathetic, instead of tears, there is a listless turning away(Bowlby,
1960, p. 90).
Information about the children, parents and childcare centres
Six girls and six boys were randomly included in the study. At the time of the observations, they
mainly used sounds, signs and cues to communicate, although some of them were able to use a
few words. Ten of the children were able to walk (rather unsteadily) alone, and two needed
support or had to be carried. They had all been through a short adaptation period (usually 3
days), and at the observation time they spent an average of 40 hours a week at the centres. The
mothersages ranged from 28 to 38 years. Ten of the mothers were either married to or living
with the childs father, and two were single parents. Eleven were employed, and one was a
student. Their average income was 48,000 GBP (5,20,000 NOK), which is above the national mean
income (Statistics Norway, 2016). Ten of the mothers were native Norwegians and two were from
other European countries. All spoke Norwegian fluently.
Ten different childcare centres participated in the study. They were randomly included, depending
on the municipalitys offers and the parentschoices. Two of the target toddlers attended the same
group at the same centre, and two others attended different groups at the same centre. Three of the
participating centres were in public ownership and seven were privately owned. They were either
organized in traditional groups (3), open groups (3), or as home-based care (4). The smaller groups
ranged from 9 to 32 children in each group. At 5 of the centres there were fewer than 25 children
in total, and at the other 5 there were between 50 and 140 children. The childstaff ratio was
greater than 3:1 at eight of the centres. The educational level and training among the care providers
varied considerably (Klette et al., 2016). More than half of the observed providers were not native Nor-
wegians and had language problems.
The findings are presented with illustrative examples from the study observations. The examples
were mainly chosen because they demonstrate common features among the toddlers concerned.
The separations
Five of the toddlers showed protest-related behaviour during the separations, and six children
demonstrated signs of despair. One girl did not show any visible attachment behaviour during the
separation from her mother.
Protest-related behaviour
Three of the boys and one of the girls cried during the separations. Two of these children started to
cry shortly after arrival at the centre, and two only started when their mothers signalled that they
were about to leave. The crying continued for 210 minutes after the mothers had left.
The little girl starts to cry when her mother undresses her in the cloakroom. She refuses to leave her mothers lap,
continues crying, and the mother takes off her clothes while sitting. The girl, still crying, is then put down on the
floor, but the mother picks her up again and walks with her in her arms into another room. The little girl stops
crying for a short while, but when her mother tries to put her down, she starts again. The mother then carries
the child into the main room and sits down with her on the floor with some toys. The child cries loudly. At this
point, a care provider approaches and sits down beside them. The girl cries even louder, she sobs and leans
against her mother. The mother lifts the child up and hands her over to the care provider. She cries and sobs
louder as her mother leaves. The care provider carries her to a table with crayons, and sits down with her
there. Gradually, the girl stops crying and starts to examine the crayons.
The same toddlers who cried also clung to their mothers during the separations. One girl held on to
her mother, but she did not cry or protest when her mother left.
The mother enters the child care centre, carrying the little girl. She puts the child down on the wardrobe floor and
starts undressing her. The girl leans against her mother and clings to her leg. The mother takes the girls hand and
they walk into the main room. No care providers have appeared yet, and there are many other toddlers arriving at
the same time. The mother tries to engage the girl with some toys and other children, but she clings to her
mothers leg. The mother sits down with the child and stays with her for a little while. When she signals that
she is about to leave, a care provider approaches. The mother talks with him while the girl clings to her leg.
She then lifts the girl up, hands her to the care provider and leaves. The child does not protest. She is quiet
and passive and has a sad expression on her face. She keeps her arms stiff at her sides, but she refuses to be
put down. The care provider carries her around for some time.
None of the toddlers tried to follow their mothers during the observed separations.
Despair-related behaviour
Two girls and four boys showed signs of despair during the separations. Passivity and silence were domi-
nant among these toddlers, and their faces were almost expressionless. Two of them used pacifiers.
Mother and child arrive at the child care centre, and the mother undresses the little boy in the wardrobe. When
this is done, she gives him a cup with handles, which he takes and drinks from. Then the mother takes the boy by
the hand, and they walk together into a larger room, where a care provider greets them. The child signals that he
wants to sit at a table and eat, and his mother lifts him up on a high chair. She then kisses him and says bye-bye.
As she does this, he turns away from her, and he does not reply. When she leaves, she waves to him. He looks after
her, but he does not wave back. He then turns to the table and eats.
Detachment-related behaviour
One of the observed toddlers failed to demonstrate any attachment behaviour towards her mother
during the separation.
When she is put down, the girl swiftly runs away from her mother into the centre. The mother says goodbye and
waves to her, but the child neither looks at her nor responds. The mother leaves, and the child shows no reaction
to her leaving.
The reunions
Five of the children approached their mothers when they returned in the afternoon. When picked up,
three of them also leaned well into their mothers, smiling and uttering sounds of delight. Seven of the
target toddlers remained inactive, silent and withdrawn throughout the reunion.
Protest-related behaviour
Two of the boys and one of the girls started to cry when their mothers returned. Two of them started
the moment they saw their mothers, and one boy only began after some time. All three continued to
cry throughout the reunion.
The boy has been standing by the gate for some time, whining and trying to open it, when his mother arrives.
When he sees her, he brightens up and runs towards her. While running he makes some strange, complaining
sounds, and then he starts to cry. His mother picks him up and holds him close. He points at something and
pulls a little away from her, still crying.
None of the observed children clung to their mothers during the reunions.
Despair-related behaviour
Five of the boys and two of the girls neither smiled, made utterances nor approached their mothers
when they came back. They remained passive and silent and did not greet their mothers. When
picked up, they tended to draw away from their mothers. Two of them were almost immobile
throughout the reunion, with a peculiar stiffness in the arms.
The girl is sitting on a care providers lap when the mother arrives from behind. She turns and looks at her mother
for a moment, then she points at something and looks down. The mother sits down and pats the child, but the girl
keeps her head lowered. When the mother lifts her up, she still keeps her head down, and there is no eye contact
or other visible exchange between them. The child appears sad and tired.
Detachment-related behaviour
The toddler who had run away from her mother in the morning also ignored and rejected her when
she returned.
The girl, who is sitting alone outside when her mother comes, does not appear to react to her arrival. She looks
briefly at her mother when she says hello, and then she looks away. She makes no attempt to get up. Her mother
sits down on a bench, a bit away from the child, who still does not look at her. Neither of them makes any further
approaches for some time, but after a while the child gets up. She starts to walk towards her mother, who is still
sitting on the bench. But suddenly she turns and walks in the opposite direction. The mother gets up and follows
the child. She bends down and tries to give her daughter a hug, but the child turns away and walks away. Again,
the mother follows, but the girl seems to ignore her and gives no response to her questions. After a time, the girl
turns and signals that she wants to be picked up. The mother lifts her up, but the child keeps her arms down and
her body away from the mother. There is no eye contact between them.
The main finding in the present study is that after 1 month in childcare, all the observed toddlers
demonstrated signs of separation anxiety. In the mornings, five of the children showed protest-
related behaviour, and six showed signs of despair. In the afternoons three demonstrated protest
behaviour, while seven showed signs of despair. One of the toddlers demonstrated detached behav-
iour during both transitions. Although they all showed clear signs of separation anxiety, the observed
toddlers appeared to be in different phases after 1 month in care. This might be understood in light of
individual and family factors as well as adaption time, length of days and staffing. Half of the boys
demonstrated protest-related behaviour during the separations, but only one of the girls protested.
This may be random or due to individual differences and daily variations, but it may also reflect that
boys are more enduring in their protest than are the girls. In the reunions, some of the toddlers also
demonstrated mixed behaviour. Two of the children, who initially approached their mothers, suddenly
moved or turned away when she came near. Another child signalled to his mother to be picked up, but
when he was lifted, he drew back from her and avoided eye contact. These observations may indicate
that the phases of separation anxiety are better understood as moving dimensions than as fixed cat-
egories. The fact that none of the toddlers tried to follow their mothers at any point during our obser-
vations may indicate an experience-based recognition of the futility of even trying.
From about 8 months, attachment behaviour and separation anxiety are visible in most children. If
separated from, or threatened with separation from, their primary caregiver, toddlers tend to demon-
strate strong feelings and reactions (Bowlby, 1960; Klette, 2007). Whether and how their needs and
anxiety are addressed and handled is believed to have a huge impact on their development and
further functioning, especially with regard to their regulation of emotion and stress (Ahnert et al.,
2004; Bowlby, 2007; Drugli et al., 2016; Gunnar & Quevedo, 2004, 2006; Levine, 2005; Luecken, 2000).
Adequate staffing, with relevant knowledge and experience, may help toddlers to tolerate and
come to terms with the daily separations, through sensitive interaction. In our sample, however,
only 2 of the 10 centres had the recommended 3:1 ratio. Ratios of 4:1 or more were normal, and in
the mornings and afternoons the ratio was often even higher. At one centre, a care provider (who
was inexperienced and untrained) was looking after eight children during the morning transitions. It is
a paradox that at most of the observed centres, the staffing was at the lowest in the early mornings and
late afternoons, when the toddlers were at their most tired and vulnerable.
Social interaction and learning to walk and talk are just some of the tasks toddlers must handle. At this
time of life, being separated from the main source of security and knowledge for long hours on a daily
basis poses a major challenge. However, research has shown that toddlers do form attachment bonds
with their care providers (Ahnert, Pinquart, & Lamb, 2006), and that the quality of care is important
(McCartney, 2007). The target toddlers who cried did eventually get some attention, but there were
often too many crying children and too few providers present. Although some care providers would
offer to hold or carry the toddler for some time, the number of children in distress often prohibited
the one-to-one interaction that might have soothed them. The staffs attention also tended to focus
on diversion rather than comfort as the staff often tried to distract the children by using objects. The
silent and passive toddlers were easily ignored and left on their own. For example, two of the children
were observed wandering alone for almost half an hour, without any attention from the providers
present. Low staffing, lack of education and formal training and varied language skills, may help explain
some of these observations. For toddlers to develop secure attachment in childcare settings, access to
stable, sensitive and empathic carers is a prerequisite. Recent studies do, however, indicate that the
quality of care for toddlers in Norwegian child care is low (Bjørnestad & Os, in press; Klette et al., 2016).
The present study is small and the findings cannot be generalized. Only 12 children were observed
during 1 separation and 1 reunion with their mothers. Observations at other times at the same childcare
centres may have given different results. However, the families were recruited randomly from different
areas in the community, and there was also a variety in types of childcare centres. One could also argue
that the toddlers, caregivers and providers were affected by being observed and filmed. However,
based on prior experience, one-year-old toddlers tend to accept and forget observers quite quickly,
and behave as usual. If our presence had made any impact on the caregivers and care providers, we
would have expected to see increased interactional efforts during the transitions.
Overall, our study indicates that 1-year-old toddlers undergo a dramatic and painful transition when
adapting to childcare. All the observed children demonstrated signs of distress, compatible with the
phases of separation anxiety. Although the study is small, it points to a need to discuss how separ-
ation anxiety among toddlers in day care is handled. Longer and more flexible adaption time, shorter
days and better staffing, especially in the early mornings and late afternoons, appear to be important
measures to implement. To prevent development of despair and detachment among Norwegian chil-
dren, there is a need to rethink the provision of care for toddlers in childcare facilities.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Notes on contributors
Trine Klette received her Ph.D degree in Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway in
2007. Her research interests include prevention of child abuse and neglect, attachment development through life and
relationships between early interaction and health.
Kari Killén received her Ph.D degree at Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo in 1988. Her research interests include child
maltreatment, adult child interaction and attachment.
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rating scales: A meta-analysis of international studies. International Journal of Early Childhood,48(1), 3360.
... Uma das perguntas frequentemente feitas por pais, professores, pesquisadores e pessoas envolvidas nesse início de compartilhamento dos cuidados e da educação de bebês com uma IEI é: quanto tempo dura essa transição? A análise da revisão não indicou uma definição acurada desse tempo por parte dos pesquisadores, na medida em que esse período se mostrou extremamente variável nas pesquisas, que apontavam desde os dez primeiros dias de frequência (Ahnert, Gunnar, Lamb, & Barthel, 2004;Datler, Datler, & Funder, 2010); o primeiro mês (Klette & Killén, 2018); ao longo de três meses (Amorim et al., 2000); e até por 24 meses (Bernal, Attanasio, Peña, & Vera-Hernández, 2019). Com essa diversidade e sem indicações de hipóteses quanto ao período, os trabalhos não possibilitaram uma definição do tempo de processo. ...
... No começo da frequência à instituição, Peixoto et al. (2015) mencionam a importância dos bebês portarem objetos de conforto e defendem a necessidade da entrada da criança ser realizada segundo uma calendarização pré-estabelecida e em acordo com a família. Nesse sentido, um aspecto bastante enfatizado por vários se refere a um menor tempo de permanência inicial dos bebês na instituição, com aumento gradual ao longo da primeira semana de frequência (Grande et al., 2017;Klette & Killén, 2018;Peixoto et al., 2015), a depender das condições da criança, contando com uma organização flexível em relação aos horários. ...
... Em meio a esses processos, um aspecto destacado é a necessidade de se organizar para que o momento de chegada e saída dos pais e da criança às IEI seja feito de forma não abrupta (Comotti & Varin, 1988). Autores compreendem que esses momentos, além das refeições, são os mais críticos na nova rotina dos bebês, para os quais deveria ser disponibilizado um maior número de profissionais (Klette & Killén, 2018;Rapoport et al., 2018), além de garantida a participação de uma pessoa de referência na sala, para apoio das crianças (Mauvais, 2003). ...
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Resumo Como consequência do complexo, multifacetado e contraditório processo de aquisição de direitos das mulheres trabalhadoras e das crianças, tem havido grande aumento de frequência de bebês em instituições de educação infantil. Interrogou-se, assim, como a literatura discute a transição de cuidados/educação mais centrados em contextos domiciliares para os compartilhados com a instituição. Esta revisão bibliográfica sistemática utilizou termos transição, adaptação, bebês e creche em cinco línguas e em seis bases de dados. Os resultados indicam crescimento da temática nas duas últimas décadas, com maior produção no Brasil e nos Estados Unidos. Atentando-se à complexidade do processo, autores focalizam processos e ações antes e após o ingresso nas instituições, além de mudanças de longo tempo. Discutem-se questões teóricas, relação família-instituição, papel do professor e estratégias de acolhimento.
... Positive interactions with others are key for infants' well-being in ECEC (Dalli & Buchanan, 2011). During infants' transitions, one-on-one interactions with teachers have been found to promote secure attachment (Jung, 2011;Klette & Killén, 2019;Recchia & Dvorakova, 2012). Nonetheless, during transitions, having positive interactions may be challenging for children with greater levels of distress and/or social inhibition (Bernard et al., 2015;Suhonen et al., 2018). ...
... Unlike the transition to primary school and beyond (Dalli & Buchanan, 2011;Degotardi & Pearson, 2014;Harrison & Sumsion, 2014), transitions to and within ECEC have received less attention. Literature addressing the transition from home to ECEC is mostly concerned with young children's well-being, reactions to out-of-home care, and adaptation to the new setting, with special focus on attachment and separation (Dalli, 2003;Datler et al., 2010;Datler et al., 2012;Klette & Killén, 2019;Nystad et al., 2021). In Finland, hardly any studies have addressed infants' first months in ECEC. ...
... Research suggests that a secure relationship with a teacher provides young children with the security needed to interact with others (Degotardi & Pearson, 2014). In the field of infants' ECEC transitions, one-on-one interactions with teachers have been found to support secure attachment (Jung, 2011;Klette & Killén, 2019;Recchia & Dvorakova, 2012). According to Hännikäinen's (2015) empirical lap research within a Finnish ECEC center, the teacher's lap serves as a place of physical proximity, safety, affection, bonding, attention, and emotional comfort. ...
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The transition from home care to early childhood education and care (ECEC) is a period of intense change and development in young children's socio-spatial worlds. This article focuses on infant–teacher lap interactions during this transition period. This investigation applies a relational approach to the study of infant–teacher lap interactions. In doing so, it highlights the inherently social and contextual nature of interaction. From a relational perspective, actors, context, and situation are seen as constitutive of each other, and their interrelationality is considered central to the emergence of interactions. The data, regarding infants' first months attending ECEC in Finland, is composed of teachers’ interviews and participant observations in the form of videos and field notes. The results illustrate infant–teacher lap interactions as constructed in the interplay among actors, context, and situation. This research advances an understanding of transitions as relational processes that develop through time and are constructed within a network of temporal, agentic, contextual, and situational aspects.
... Algunas investigaciones muestran que el tiempo de acogida representa un hecho traumático o crítico para niñas y niños de escolarización temprana (Klette & Killén, 2018). Ante el sufimiento de las criaturas, han existido numerosos intentos por mejorar el tiempo de acogida (Little et al., 2016). ...
... Desde este nuevo discurso se humaniza a las personas protagonistas, reconociendo sus vulnerabilidades y sus capacidades. Coincidiendo con diferentes estudios en los que se constató que no hay un periodo de adaptación universal .Las profesionales de la RMEI explican que la separación que conlleva el inicio en la Escuela Infantil provoca sufrimiento en algunas criaturas, como se ha encontrado en algunos estudios (Klette, & Killén, 2018). y . ...
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Esta investigación analiza el proceso de reflexión colaborativa llevada a cabo por las educadoras de la Red Municipal de Escuelas Infantiles de Vitoria-Gasteiz para definir en su Proyecto Educativo los aspectos claves del periodo de adaptación, y su manera de entenderlo. Se ha realizado una investigación-acción desplegada en cuatro fases. En esta ocasión se presenta la tercera fase, en la que se reflexiona sobre lo que se hace actualmente durante el periodo de adaptación y cómo se deben transformar el lenguaje y los modos de acción en el futuro. En el estudio, toman parte 115 personas docentes de educación infantil, 12 investigadoras y 6 técnicas participando, en 8 grupos de trabajo para reconstruir el conocimiento gracias a diferentes estrategias. Las conclusiones evidencian que el tiempo de acogida, a diferencia del periodo de adaptación, supone aceptar a cada niña y a cada niño con lo que afectivamente traen a la escuela, para que se creen nuevos vínculos afectivos que les den seguridad, en lugar de obligarles a adaptarse a una estructura rígida prefijada con anterioridad.
... Furthermore, infants and toddlers showed more behavioral discontent, as indicated by more crying, fussing and clinging to caregivers during the first month after transitioning into a new child care group (Cryer et al., 2005). These observations are in line with attachment theory, which has shown in abundance how trying separations from primary attachment figures can be for (young) children (e.g., Klette and Killén, 2019). Less is known about parental distress during transitions. ...
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As a consequence of the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) child care facilities all over the world were temporarily closed to minimize the spread of the virus. In Netherlands, the first closure lasted for almost 2 months. The return to the child care center after this significant interruption was expected to be challenging, because earlier studies demonstrated that transitions into child care can be stressful for both children and their parents. The current paper retrospectively examined the distress of Dutch children (aged 0–4) and their parents during the first 2 weeks after the reopening of child care centers, and what factors accounted for individual differences in distress. In total, 694 parents filled out an online questionnaire about stress during closure and distress after the reopening of child care centers. Furthermore, questions regarding several demographic variables and child care characteristics were included, as well as questionnaires measuring child temperament, parental separation anxiety, and parental perception of the child care quality. Results showed that younger children and children with parents scoring higher on separation anxiety experienced more distress after the reopening, as reported by parents. Furthermore, children were more distressed upon return when they attended the child care center for less hours per week after the reopening, experienced less stress during closure, and grew up in a one-parent family. With regard to parental distress after the reopening, we found that parents scoring higher on separation anxiety and fear of COVID-19 experienced more distress. Moreover, parents experiencing less stress during closure and mothers were more distressed when the child returned to the child care center. Finally, concurrent child and parental distress after reopening were positively related. The results of the current study may help professional caregivers to identify which children and parents benefit from extra support when children return to the child care center after an interruption. Especially the role that parental separation anxiety played in predicting both child and parental distress deserves attention. More research is required in order to study the underlying mechanisms of these associations and to design appropriate interventions.
... The few extant studies on first transition from home care to ECEC setting tend to highlight the emotional experience of the infants themselvesin isolation of the emotions of their relational others. For instance, Klette and Killen (2018) examined one-year-old infant reactions during ECEC arrivals and departures one month after their initial transition. Their psychoanalytical analysis revealed levels of distress consistent with phases of separation anxiety, emphasising the importance of stable, sensitive and empathic carers. ...
Although a large body of literature recognises the impact of parent-teacher relationships on infant everyday experiences, less is known about the emotional experience and associated expectations of the adults themselves during earliest transitions. In the context of a multi-site international investigation across five countries – Brazil, Finland, Scotland, New Zealand, and the United States – the present paper examines teacher and parent interviews to reveal expectations prior to and after the transition to ECEC, highlighting the associated emotions that arise during this process. Irrespective of whether expectations are met, parents universally express insecurities and fears in relation to the transition. Parents are aware of the impact that the various aspects of the ECEC setting have on their child, and acknowledge difficulty in relinquishing control of the care of their child. Despite these concerns, parents consistently articulate their strong trust in the institution and the professional expertise of the staff. Correspondingly, teachers are keenly aware of the importance of their role in supporting families, and hold certain expectations for how the transition experience will play out accordingly. Regardless of country of context, the study shows that clear communication surrounding both centre and parental expectations establishes high levels of trust and ameliorates anxiety. Teacher-parent dialogues concerning routines, preferences, and anticipations are seen as pivotal in supporting a positive transition for all.
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The report describes the Scandinavian, empirical early childhood education and care research for the years 2018 and 2019, in addition to the development from 2006–2019. It is based on research registered in the database Nordic Base of Early Childhood Education and Care (NB-ECEC).
The research project Searching for Qualities (2012–2018) has studied the quality in Norwegian kindergartens for children under the age of three years. Through a variety of methods, the complex concept of quality is elaborated. The results from the research conducted challenge the reputation of high quality in Nordic kindergartens and offer suggestions for how to enhance multiple qualities in Norwegian kindergartens. The findings indicate a need for greater knowledge about toddlers in kindergartens, and increased competence regarding educational content for toddlers in group settings. Further, structural aspects, such as staff-to-child ratio and group size, seem to affect the quality in toddler care. From a Nordic perspective, future joint research efforts could contribute to the exploration and development of qualities in Nordic kindergartens.
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The study investigated the quality of interactions between childcare providers and toddlers during a lunch in childcare centres. Meals in childcare centres are semi-structured adult-led situations where the children not only eat, but are also provided with opportunities for implicit learning and interactions. Participants were 13 toddlers aged about 18 months in 11 different childcare centres in a Norwegian municipality. Video recordings were analysed for organization and structure, relational climate and childcare provider–child interactions, weighting provider sensitivity, language support and facilitated exploration. Findings indicated good quality regarding the organization of meals and relational climate in about half of the centres. Sensitivity, language support and facilitated exploration showed low quality across the different centres and are a cause for concern. Implications of the findings are discussed.
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Artikkelen presenterer funn fra en undersøkelse av mor–barn-samspill i løpet av barnets første år. Den er en del av en mer omfattende studie med et longitudinelt design. I alt 293 mødre og barn er blitt fulgt fra barna var tre måneder til de var 4H år. Utvalget omfatter mor–barn-dyader fra et distrikt hvor sosioøkonomiske belastningsfaktorer generelt er lave, og dyader fra et distrikt hvor belastningsfaktorene generelt er høye. I tillegg inkluderer det mødre og barn hvor barna var akutt somatisk syke og fra mor–barn-institusjoner. Hensikten med denne delen av studien er å gi økt kunnskap om samspill i ulike populasjoner. Metoden som er anvendt, Care-Index, er utviklet innenfor den tilknytningsteoretiske referanserammen. Det er et skåringssystem som anvendes til å analysere samspill på grunnlag av video-opptak. Det var også vår hensikt å validere Care-Index for norske forhold. Vi fant en statistisk signifikant forskjell mellom de to normalutvalgene og de fra mor–barn-institusjonene.
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The current study provides a systematic examination of child care quality around the globe, using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). Additional goals of this study are to examine associations between ERS process quality and structural features (group size, caregiver–child ratio) that underpin quality and between ERS and more proximal aspects of child care quality (caregiver sensitivity). Furthermore, we consider possible differences in ERS associations arising from scale characteristics (infant vs early childhood version, original version vs revised scale, full version vs shortened version). The reported meta-analysis combines results of ERS child care quality reported in 72 studies from 23 countries across five international geographic regions. Group center care appeared to be of average quality with higher quality levels in Australia/New Zealand and North America. Our results suggest that: (1) ERS characteristics are not associated with differences in ERS scores and (2) ERS scores are related to indicators of proximal quality of care (caregiver sensitivity) and, to a lesser degree, structural quality of care (caregiver–child ratio). The meta-analysis provided cross-cultural comparisons on child care quality on a common instrument as a means to advance discussion on child care quality internationally.
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This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the impact of early parental loss on adult physiological responses to stress is moderated by the level of perceived caring from the surviving parent. University students who lost a parent during childhood were compared to students raised by both biological parents. Salivary Cortisol samples were collected immediately before and at 5 and 20 minutes following a stressful speech task. Perceptions of parental caring (Care) during childhood were measured using the Parental Bonding Instrument. Repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance revealed a significant (p = .01) three-way interaction of Loss by Care by Period (baseline, task, recovery) such that participants who lost a parent and perceived low parental caring showed higher Cortisol levels following stress relative to other participants. These findings indicate that childhood loss of a parent is associated with long-term neurohormonal consequences only if the quality of the bond with the surviving parent is poor.
The purpose of this study was to explore the quality of toddler childcare in Norway using the Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ITERS-R; [Harms, Thelma, Debby Cryer, and Richard M. Clifford. 2006. Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scales Revised Edition. New York: Teachers College Press.]), drawing on a sample of 206 toddler groups. Possible associations between quality (as assessed using ITERS-R) and selected structural features in toddler classrooms were investigated. Those features are as follows: ownership, the presence of qualified teachers, the staff-to-child ratio and group organization. According to the results, Norwegian toddler care scored at the minimal level of quality. The presence of qualified teachers, high staff-to-child ratios and small and stable groups all seemed to have positively impacted quality. Detailed analyses revealed that Norwegian toddler classrooms did not fulfil the ITERS-R requirements for hygiene, safety and access to play materials. Because of the good reputation Norwegian childcare enjoys, these results were unexpected and suggest the need to enhance the quality of Norwegian toddler care.
Meta-analytic evidence suggests that children have higher cortisol levels in childcare than at home. In the present study change of morning to mid-afternoon levels of cortisol was explored at home and in childcare in a Norwegian sample of toddlers. Further, analyses of associations between change of cortisol levels in childcare and child-, family-, and childcare factors were conducted. One hundred and twelve children attending 85 childcare centres were included in the present study. Saliva samples and observations in childcare were conducted 5–6 months after the children entered childcare. Linear mixed-model analyses revealed a statistical significant difference in change of cortisol levels during the day in childcare as compared at home. An increase in cortisol levels during the day was found among Norwegian toddlers in childcare, in particular for children with long hours in childcare, but not at home. Implications for practice are discussed.
Ethological attachment theory is a landmark of 20th century social and behavioral sciences theory and research. This new paradigm for understanding primary relationships across the lifespan evolved from John Bowlby's critique of psychoanalytic drive theory and his own clinical observations, supplemented by his knowledge of fields as diverse as primate ethology, control systems theory, and cognitive psychology. By the time he had written the first volume of his classic Attachment and Loss trilogy, Mary D. Salter Ainsworth's naturalistic observations in Uganda and Baltimore, and her theoretical and descriptive insights about maternal care and the secure base phenomenon had become integral to attachment theory. Patterns of Attachment reports the methods and key results of Ainsworth's landmark Baltimore Longitudinal Study. Following upon her naturalistic home observations in Uganda, the Baltimore project yielded a wealth of enduring, benchmark results on the nature of the child's tie to its primary caregiver and the importance of early experience. It also addressed a wide range of conceptual and methodological issues common to many developmental and longitudinal projects, especially issues of age appropriate assessment, quantifying behavior, and comprehending individual differences. In addition, Ainsworth and her students broke new ground, clarifying and defining new concepts, demonstrating the value of the ethological methods and insights about behavior. Today, as we enter the fourth generation of attachment study, we have a rich and growing catalogue of behavioral and narrative approaches to measuring attachment from infancy to adulthood. Each of them has roots in the Strange Situation and the secure base concept presented in Patterns of Attachment. It inclusion in the Psychology Press Classic Editions series reflects Patterns of Attachment's continuing significance and insures its availability to new generations of students, researchers, and clinicians.