Separation anxiety

Once your child is old enough to know who is who in her/his life, leaving the house without them, especially the mother will not be the same. Even when you are out of sight they panic and throw a tantrum. Though it feels good to know that they trust you and have grown attached to you, seeing them crying every time you leave can be stressful. It is perfectly normal and most children go through this stage but the following tips can help in making your goodbyes easier.

  • Help them get used to other caregivers – if you are about to go back to work or you have a new house help, start practicing ahead of time. First leave them with another person they know for a few minutes, and then build on that.
  • Do not say your goodbyes when they are sleepy or hungry – let us face it, sleep and hunger make children cranky even with you there. Therefore, time your departure after they are well fed and rested.
  • Always say goodbye – don’t sneak out -Having a simple goodbye routine, which can be a hug and kiss, can settle their anxiety through time and assure them that you will be back.
  • Be consistent – often times it is the parent who suffers from separation anxiety more than the child. Coming back to check on them after saying goodbye or changing your mind when you see them crying will not help the situation.
  • Keep your promises – ‘I will come back once you finish counting up to 10.’ ‘If you don’t cry, I will bring you sweets when I come back.’ We have heard so many of these false promises from our mothers when we were children. This creates trust issues in the long run. It is better to teach your child honesty from a very young age.

 

If all these tips do not help to settle your child through time, pay attention to their behavior and other details when they are to be left with other people.

This first appeared in The Standard on 23 October 2016

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