Separation anxiety is a normal phase of development in babies and it usually disappears with time. Usually beginning at about eight months, separation anxiety resolves by one year and reappears at two years of age again to resolve gradually on its own. Here are some important pointers for new mothers on dealing with separation anxiety.
What is separation anxiety?
The concept of object permanence begins forming by the seventh month in a child. Changes such as weaning or a family move can affect the child drastically, often manifesting in anxiousness upon separation from the primary caregiver, mostly the mother. This is seen as panic and screaming as soon as the mother is separated, resulting from the child being unsure of when and if she will return.
Dealing with separation anxiety
Once your baby learns your patterns of coming and leaving he will also grow to understand that others can care for him too. To ensure this emotional growth occurs in your child, you will have to reassure them of your return and abide by it to establish trust. Here are some of the ways of dealing with separation anxiety.
- Keep the other things familiar
Try to keep your child at your home with the caregiver or grandparents so that things do not suddenly appear strange to your little one. If you have to take him away from home, keep him close to his siblings, his blanket, or a favorite toy. Try keeping the baby’s routine unaltered even in your absence.
Just because your child is too young to understand you, this crucial step cannot be left out when dealing with separation anxiety. Reassure your child again and again of your return in a soothing voice and comforting tone. Try to keep your promises of returning on time, so the baby learns your patterns. For kids under the age of three, you can try giving a heads up with a detailed explanation for your longer absence periods, so they can adjust themselves to the longer gaps as well.
- Say goodbye before you leave
Leaving when a child is napping or distracted may cause havoc to the child’s emotions. When he suddenly realizes that you left, he may start crying and panicking on waking up.
- Familiar group of caregivers
Try to maintain consistency in the people that care for and interact with your child while you are gone. Having a regular group of people that your baby can trust around him will help alleviate his stress.
- Try practicing at home
Try shorter durations at first and then slowly go for longer gaps in your presence. A simple way to practice at home is by letting your baby crawl to another room, that is baby safe, and giving her time to be on her own before you go to her.