How to cope when your child or baby has separation anxiety
By: Sarah Veda
Its tough to handle. One day, you have a perfectly happy, social
baby, who knows no strangers. The next day, she wont tolerate anyone
but you. Sometimes, not even her father. Its separation anxiety,
and it is perfectly normal. And, its temporary, so no need to fret.
Separation anxiety usually comes in two forms - daytime meaning
your child doesnt like strangers and only wants you, and nighttime,
when your child has restless sleep because of being separated from you.
Nighttime separation can be easier to alleviate, since there is not a
fear of a stranger, just the fear of being away from you. If your child
who used to sleep through the night starts waking up regularly at around
one year of age, its probably separation anxiety. Try spending a
little extra time with him just before bedtime, rocking, singing or cuddling.
Give him your undivided attention for half an hour and you may find that
he sleeps better during the night. This is particularly important on days
when he has been away from you most of the day.
Separation anxiety during the day is a combination of not wanted to be
separated and a fear of strangers, even when the strangers arent
really strangers at all. In particular, your baby probably raises quite
a fuss when you decide to leave him with a sitter. One thing you need
to realize is that this is partly a manipulation tactic, and partly just
because he is so attached to you that he never wants you to leave. More
than likely the crying stops the minute you are out of sight, because
your little one realizes that there is no further point in crying, because
his audience is gone.
There are a few things you can do to make this parting easier. The first
is to always have the sitter come a little while before you have to leave.
Not only does this give you a little time to get ready, but it allows
the baby to get comfortable with his caretaker. The second and most important
thing is to always say goodbye to your child. Trying to sneak out to avoid
the fuss will only cause more harm in the long run. Your baby might come
to think that you could leave at any moment with no warning. Thirdly,
dont make a long ordeal of leaving. Tell your baby goodbye, kiss
him and remind him that youll be home soon and hell have fun
with the sitter for a little while. Then leave. Dont keep coming
back in to calm him. Just leave. The longer you let it go on, the more
hysterical hell become.
Separation anxiety generally lasts for a few months, and then fades away.
It is a normal stage of development, and though it can be heart wrenching
for you, it is a sign of healthy emotional development, because it is
a sign of bonding. So, take a deep breath, and go on a date with your
husband. Its good for everyone involved!
Sarah is a 41 year old wife and
mother of two boys and one girl. She spent many years as a manager in
the corporate world, and gave it up to be a stay at home mom. www.infantresources.com>
now and get her incredible baby minicourse absolutely free. Article