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You may be able to get to the root of the problem by asking yourself a series of questions: How does your daughter act once you've finally pried yourself away from her and left for work? Is this one of the many situations, for instance, where a mother is miserable half the day and her child for half an hour, or does she continue to be sad and distracted long after you've left? Most important, how do you feel about this daycare setting and about your new work arrangement? If you're basically happy with the place and confident that your work-home balance is okay, your daughter will probably adapt quickly. If you aren't sure that the quality of her care is very good, or that you've embarked on a workable lifestyle, your child will likely remain unsure as well – and perhaps she should.
Depending on the answers to these questions, there are steps you can take to make the process easier for your child – and for you. The first is to get a better idea of your daughter's day away from you. Dropping her off in the morning and picking her up hours later doesn't give you a good picture of what she does when you're not there. You need to see her at different, unplanned moments in the day – without her seeing you. Some daycare centers have video cameras installed so parents can see from outside (a few even have a live Internet feed you can view from your office!). Most have a particular window or door-crack that's an accepted, non-intrusive parental vantage point. Failing that, you may just have to peek.
Next, talk to your child's care provider (as well as your boss) and, with their cooperation, start the process of settling your daughter into daycare all over again. This time, however, do it much more gradually. Over the course of a week, stay there with her one whole day, not leaving her at all. The next day, stay until she's reasonably comfortable, then leave for a half-hour or so (while you pick up a few things for dinner or grab a cup of coffee, for instance). The day after that, leave for a couple of hours. During the last two days of the week, spend half the day with her, and then leave for the other half. While you're at her daycare, make an effort to show your child that you and her caregiver get along, that you trust her, and that her caregiver always knows where you are. Also use your new knowledge of the place to bring home and daycare closer together – every duplicated book and toy will help your daughter feel more comfortable when she's away from home.
Finally, consider whether the stress of actually seeing you leave might be responsible for a good part of your child's grief. The easiest way to find out is to arrange for her father or a close friend to take her to daycare. This way, she leaves you where she likes to think of you: Safely at home.