Has your baby started to cry when you hand her off? It's nothing to be concerned about! Separation anxiety is a normal part of your baby's development and is a sign that you've developed a meaningful attachment with your child. The good news is that there are strategies that you can use to ease separation anxiety for both you and your child. Here are some tips for making it easier on both of you.
Once you know that you will be leaving your baby with a new caregiver (be it a grandparent or babysitter), introduce them to your baby. This is especially important if you are using a nanny or babysitter. Invite the new caregiver to spend some time with your baby while you're present. This gives your child the chance to get to know them, and also gives you the opportunity to see how they interact with your baby, which will give you peace of mind later on.
Part of the reason children develop separation anxiety is the growing realization that you are somewhere, but not with them. In order to ease this, start by practicing being apart in your own home.
“Providing that it’s safe, let your baby go into another room in the house without you,” suggests Edith Hollis, a health writer at Academized and Assignment Services. “If you need to pop into another room, do so. Make sure you tell your child where you are going and that you are coming back. The next step is to leave your baby with a friend or family member for short periods of time. Start off with an hour or two. These experiences will help your child to understand that you will always come back and help to build trust and reassure them.”
You will find that it is easier to leave your baby when they are in a good mood. This usually means finding a time when they have napped and/or been fed. If you are leaving early in the morning to go to work, try to get up earlier and spend some time with your baby before you have to leave.
Some parents think that sneaking out of the door creates less stress for the baby, but in fact it can just confuse your child even more because they don’t know where you have gone. “The key is to make sure that you always say goodbye and tell them when you will be back,” says Helen Dillingham, a mom blogger at Boomessays and Research Papers. “Keep your goodbyes short and sweet. Don’t make a big deal about it. Just give them a quick kiss and go. Even if you’re feeling anxious, try not to show it to your child. You want to create a consistent, quick goodbye ritual. These types of rituals are useful because, over time, they become familiar and reassuring.”
Try to be organized so that once you leave the door you don’t have to come back in. If a baby has already said goodbye and then sees you re-enter the house, it can make them more anxious as they can become confused about what is happening. Instead, aim to pack everything in advance and double-check you have everything you need before you leave.
It might be difficult to leave when your child is wailing or clinging onto you. But in most cases the tears will soon stop within a few minutes of you leaving. If your child continues to cry or remains distressed, know that the caregiver will call you. If they don’t, it’s because your child has settled. If you are still worried, you can always call the babysitter or grandparent later on and check-in on your baby.
Separation anxiety can be as hard on parents as it is on baby. Try not to feel guilty and remember that this is an important step in helping your child to become confident and independent. Creating a regular and consistent routine will help you and your baby to overcome separation anxiety.
Beatrix Potter is a health writer for both State Of Writing and Best Essay Services. She writes extensively about parenting and children. Beatrix is also a regular blogger at Top Canadian writing services portal.