Scary Separations

Blog Kathie Sarles

Scary Separations:

“It’s natural for your young child to feel anxious when you say goodbye. Although it can be difficult, separation anxiety is a normal stage of development”.

Separations are hard on both, the parent and the child. Babies need our complete care and attention. We do everything for them and respond to their differing cries and celebrate their milestones. We build an attachment over time with our child that is like no other. When the time comes to separate from one another, even momentarily, it can be very difficult. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is to allow your child’s independence to grow.

“A baby will naturally become an independent toddler, so it is not your job to make them independent, but rather to provide a secure environment that allows them to become an independent toddler. “ Dr. Sears

Here are some suggestions on how to prepare both yourself and your child for separation.

If your child has trouble with ALL SEPARATIONS, begin with just walking out of the room when he/she is calm and happy. Tell him where you are going and that you will be right back. If she cries, remind her you will be right back and go out of sight and come back in a minute. When you come back, remind her that you said you would and be happy. This can become routine and soon the length of time will increase.

If possible, have a friend or family member, who is familiar, stay with your child for a short time, while you go on an errand or take a walk or shower. Prepare your child for this short caregiving time. Allow for the emotion… sadness is real. Reflect that she is sad, but that you will be coming back; and then go. ( Never walk away without saying goodbye). When you come back make sure you remind her that you told her that you were coming back, and you did.

Prepare your child for child care by visiting the place, taking pictures of the caregiver and creating a “story” that will help your child feel comfortable. Read that story often beforehand.

Prepare yourself: if you show confidence in your decision, he will respond better. If you are obviously sad or anxious, your child will be too.

Give your child an item of yours to hold and care for while you are gone. Even a picture of the two of you might be good, talk it over with the caregiver. If your child has a comfort item, bring it.

Leave after saying comforting words and giving hugs. Do not linger.

“The pain of this initial separation will be balanced by her and your awareness that she needs to separate. The attraction of other children and group activities balances the pain of leaving the safe coziness of home” T Berry Brazleton

When your return you can say, I bet you are so proud of yourself, you stayed here and had fun!

Find out from the caregiver what she did for that day that made him happy and remind him of that activity tomorrow when you separate again.

“Children this age can still flip-flop between wanting to be independent and needing to run back to the comfort and security of Mom or Dad’s arms. Still, helping your child cope with separation now will make future separations easier. That’s especially true if your child has a shy, anxious, or timid temperament, since he may be more sensitive to separation”. www.