Your toddler cries as soon as she sees you starting to leave!
He/she hates to say goodbye because you wonâ€™t be seen around. Whatâ€™s going on?
The first sign of this major developmental milestone will be an anxious reaction to unfamiliar people. As your pre-schooler begins to realise, that you are not there by his side, the anxiety steps in and peaks with the duration of 10 – 18 months. Separation anxiety is a common developmental phase which triggers the development of two common fears: a fear of strangers and a fear of being separated from you. This happens mostly when parents are the only caregivers and children tend to trust only on the caregivers. Hence goodbyes tend to confuse and upset them.
Having a few coping strategies can help the child overcome the anxiety. Following are some tips that can help you prepare your child for separation?
- Gently introduce her/him to new situations and people. This will minimise her/his reactions and acclimatise to new places or people and may eventually give her an assurance her that this is normal.
- Let your baby knows that she/he has other caregivers. Give her/him time to play or talk with the caregiver and get comfortable. Babies who are used to having other caregivers get over separation anxiety faster when they enter the preschool or kindergarten stage or are admitted into a new playschool.
- Make goodbyes lighter and quicker. Donâ€™t prolong goodbyes or resort to sneaking out. Itâ€™s best to let your child know youâ€™re going and that youâ€™ll be back soon.
- Take a trial. If youâ€™re leaving your toddler in a day care centre/playschool or plan to leave with a caregiver, first try out for an hour or so. As your baby becomes familiar with the place and the people, you can extend the timing. Eventually, your child will get used to it and will remember that you return after you leave.
- One thumb rule is donâ€™t linger or turn-around to get a quick look while you are leaving. Also, once you leave the baby, donâ€™t go back again to check her/him. This will only make it harder on her/him. You can just call and check if she/he is alright.
- Keep your promises. It’s important that you donâ€™t make false promises. When you have promised to return, follow through it. This is how your child will develop confidence and cope with the separation. This also helps kid develop coping skills and begins to learn the fundamental of what is once committed needs to be followed through.
- Timing is everything. Donâ€™t start a day care when the separation anxiety is at its peak i.e. between the age of 8 months to 1 year. And never force the child to go to someone if she doesn’t want to. When you do this, child’s stranger anxiety will evolve into full-fledged separation anxiety. Let her make acquaintances at her own pace.
- Remember stranger anxiety can be a good sign that you and your child have a healthy attachment, which is essential for emotional development.
To understand this phenomena better listen to Firstcry Intellitots Preschoolâ€™s Expert talk by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2dz14qS