How to deal with separation anxiety
Some tips for when you need to leave your little one behind.
Being separated from you for short periods will further enhance
that sense of attachment as your child begins to understand that you will
always leave them in safe hands and that you will always return to collect them
again. In turn, the confidence that comes from this knowledge will give
your child the courage to explore his or her environment freely and to face the
big wide world head-on, knowing that he or she will always have a secure base
to come back to.
Separation anxiety generally peaks at about nine months of age,
but may crop up again at several other periods during the toddler and
pre-school phases. It can be shocking and heart-breaking for parents to
see their children so distraught by the thought of being away from them.
Here are some ways in which to help your child with separation anxiety:
Prepare your child:
Tell your child what to expect by explaining where you are
going, who will look after them and when you expect to be back. Say
things like “Mommy will drop you off with Granny before my meeting and then
I’ll come pick you up again at lunch time”.
Make it quick:
Be careful not to prolong the separation process with long
goodbyes or to show your child that you are upset. Your little one is sure to
pick up on your anxiety and might incorrectly interpret your resistance to
leave her as a sign that she is being left in an unsafe environment. Give
your child a quick hug and a kiss and assure them that they’ll be well looked
after before you get on your way again. Don’t ever leave without saying
goodbye to your child first though.Provide a comfort object:
Small children may find great comfort in keeping a special
object, such as a soft toy or clothing item that smells like you with them
while they wait for your return. You could also give your child a
laminated photograph of the family and encourage them to look at the photo
whenever they are missing you.
South Africa's leading programme for Early Childhood Development (ECD). Click here to
join the programme.