How to Help Your Child’s Separation Anxiety
Kids tend to be clingy with their parents, and separation anxiety is quite common. However, when kids start going to school, they develop separation anxiety. They will cry from the absence of their mothers, even if just for a few minutes. Separation anxiety is evident to kids and can even start from infancy, toddlerhood, and preschool.
There are ways to help kids with their separation anxiety. As a parent, we should not let kids feel anxious when we separate from them. They need to feel assured that we will get back to them after some time, reducing their tantrums and crying.
Here are tips on how you can help your kids with separation anxiety.
Have ritual goodbyes. Sometimes, the fun before the separation can help ease the kids’ anxiety. You can create specialized goodbye hand movements, ritual kisses, or leaving a toy or blanket to an infant before leaving. The goodbyes need to be quick and brief so anxiety will not linger.
Consistency. If you have started some rituals before leaving, be consistent with it. If you give your kids kisses, make sure to leave kisses before leaving, whether a short one or a more extended absence. A routine can help diminish the heartache that kids will feel, and it will also allow them to build trust in their independence and parents simultaneously.
Attention. When bidding goodbye, make sure that you give your child the attention they need. Be affectionate and say your goodbyes quicker.
Keep a promise. If you made a promise before you left, make sure that you fulfill that promise. Kids are very particular about the promises you give them, and keeping your promise is building trust and independence for them. Your child becomes confident in their ability to be without you when you stick to your promise of return.
Be specific in a child’s way. Kids sometimes will not understand explanations and detailed instructions. But if you explain things the way kids understand, it will be easier for them to know why you need to be away from them for some time. If you tell them you will be back, give a specific time such as 3 in the afternoon or 10 minutes, and it’s easier for them to get the gist.
Practice being apart. When your kid has grown up with you being with them 24/7, it will be difficult for the both of you to separate. Practice being apart by sending your child to their grandparents for a few hours or over the weekend. Leave them to a nanny or your spouse if you plan to do some shopping or groceries. It will give your child a new experience and thrive in your absence.
Infants and toddlers are more likely to feel separation anxiety. But as they grow and experience other things, it will be easier for them to accept that you are leaving or your absence. They will learn how to thrive alone or get used to other people while they wait for your return.