Handling Separation Anxiety with Your Child
Bearing and rearing your own child from birth is not just an important milestone in adult life that many people only dream of, as most of all, children can be our source of joy, pride, and fulfillment throughout their lives with us and even beyond that. While it is true that looking after your newborn is truly challenging and exhausting especially in the initial months where their sleeping pattern is typically irregular, having to go away after being with them for months can be an emotional challenge not just for the baby but also for parents.
Having to leave your baby is something that will eventually happen earlier or later especially for working parents who need to return to their jobs after some time, and while a lot of parents, especially moms, can find this emotionally overwhelming, the effect can be worse for children and may even lead to trauma in some cases. Although separation is unavoidable, there are helpful steps that parents can take to make the separation process, especially the initial one, to be more bearable and less stressful for both them, and for children to better understand that the separation is only temporary, which can also help to make it a routine which they can relax about and trust in.
During the stage of infancy, engaging your child in games that help their developmental stage, such as peek-a-boo activities, can significantly help in developing their understanding when it comes to separation and trusting their parents or caregivers each they have to be separated from them for some time. If you know you will be gone for quite some time away from your baby, planning their care with a caregiver or relative you trust must be done as it is also important that they are left with a person they already know and trust too so that they can be comforted when needed once you are away and they begin to show signs of anxiety.
Talking to your child at least a few days before you leave to explain to them why you have to be away and to reassure them that you will be back soon will also help for them to directly understand the situation as time goes by. Allowing them to stay in a place they are already quite familiar with will also mean a lot especially when they have their favorite toys or baby comforters around them to keep them entertained and help them sleep better when they need it.
Building trust between you, your child, and their babysitter is important when it comes to managing separation anxiety effectively especially in the first instance. A couple of days or weeks before you actually love, practicing with your baby can give you a better idea of how they will really handle the situation, which will also allow you to see potential issues before they even happen or get worse.