Separation anxiety is common among children of all ages. It’s the normal fear expressed when removed from their mothers or caregivers. It starts as early as 7 months and continues, but we can help ease out that feeling as early as possible. It will benefit both the parent and child by setting up some routine and familiarization on the everyday activities and tasks.
To help you ease your child’s separation anxiety, we have listed 10 tips which might be useful for both parents and child.
- Set up a pattern for the day.
Setting up a routine is important for younger babies it will help them realize that within the day you as a parent will need to do other things rather than always being around. If you need to go every morning for work, set up a pattern for the day that you eat breakfast together and prepare them for the day like washing and dressing up for their daily activities. You can then start your day for work and be back for them and they will see you maybe before dinner. This will be a daily routine for them for the weekdays as you go about your work.
- Say a quick goodbye.
If you’re going to say goodbye, make it quick. Don’t overdo it. Don’t say long goodbyes as they would only trigger the anxiety even more. Keep a big smile and a happy mood that will show them you are confident in leaving them with somebody you can trust looking after them.
- Let your child know when you are leaving and when you will be back.
If you are going away for a few days let your child know of your plan. Tell them in ways they understand like telling them how many days you will be gone in ways they understand. You may tell them that you will be gone for two sleeps, which may mean two nights for them.
- Make sure your child is engaged in an enjoyable activity when you leave.
Let your child do their favorite activity that they enjoy doing when you need to leave them. This will distract them from the stresses of you leaving them. It will keep them preoccupied as they are concentrated on this enjoyable activity. Being with their favorite toy or just watching a few kiddie shows will help them be distracted and you can make your quick goodbye and go.
- Have a happy and relaxed look when you leave.
Put on a happy face and a relaxed look when you leave your child. This could give them a feeling that everything is good and that everything will be the same even if you have to leave for a while.
- Make sure to keep things familiar for your child.
Make sure to keep familiar things for your child to feel comfortable. If you are going to take them to grandma’s house make sure they are together with their siblings or a favorite toy or book and are familiar with the place and people you are leaving them to.
- Tell your child what to expect.
If you are leaving your child at home, tell them that they will be sleeping home with grandma or grandpa and or the caregiver. Explain to them why you need to go and assure them that you will be back soon. If that is for a few days, tell them that you’d be gone for a few sleeps but will be back soon. Then if possible after being away for a few days, as soon as you’re back, spend time with them. Do an activity that you have never done before and ask them what they did while you were away and you can do the same for them.
- Respect and listen to your child’s feelings.
Listen to what your child has to say about his feeling on separation. Understand their feelings and try to comfort them in the best possible way. Assure them that they are going to be alright and that in time he’ll get used to the routine.
- Keep in touch with your child.
Whenever you have a chance to call them, do so. Either a video call or a simple phone call, your child will definitely be excited to hear from you. It will let them know that you truly care for them even if you are far away. Just be brief and ask how they are and what have they done and you can do the same.
- Start early.
It will always be a good thing to start early. Maybe as early as 6 months, you can start practicing being away for a little while. Letting others be with them like Grandma or Poppy, while you do the groceries or do some household chores. They will begin realizing that there are other people there that will be around for them and be familiar.
Separation anxiety could be eased if both of you and your child will have a routine pattern for the day and the best way is to start early on. It’s felt by both parent and child and admit it we can’t always be with them 24/7. Thus, these tips can help out ease that feeling.
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