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 the first couple of months during their infancy is often seen as quite challenging with all the sleepless nights and adjustments, nothing can compare to the feeling of anxiety that even parents can get when they have to say the first goodbye and be gone awhile for a considerable amount of time.
Being separated from your child is something inevitable especially for mothers who need to go back to their work after their maternal leave, and although it is already difficult for parents already, children can suffer more when it comes to separation anxiety issues, sometimes even leading to traumatic experiences. While separation is inevitable, steps can be taken by parents to make the first separation bearable for them and their child, and to help children to understand that separation is only temporary no matter how young they are, so that succeeding separations become an acceptable routine that they can trust their parents about.
During their developmental stage in the first year of life, playing peek-a-boo with babies help them to understand that something or someone that goes away can come back, which is also important since this is also the stage where they start to build trust with people around them. 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.
Speaking to them with a calm voice along with a reassuring body language is also helpful to put them at ease and for them to slowly understand the reason you need to be separated from them temporarily, no matter what age they are in. Making it a point to let them stay in a surrounding or home that they are already familiar with, along with their most favorite belongings like toys and blankets, while away from you, will also help to make them more comfortable.
It is important to understand that trust plays a big role in addressing anxiety problems related to separation, not only between parent and child but also with the babysitter they will be left with. 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.