It is perfectly normal for your little one to feel anxious whenever it’s time for the two of you to say goodbye for a certain amount of time. In fact, it is regarded as a normal stage of his or her development, and it’s called separation anxiety. Generally speaking, this is something that goes away on its own as your child grows older.
Certainly, the level of anxiety experienced varies from child to child, as well as the timing of its occurrence. Usually, when children are about to get separated from their parents, they tend to think that something bad may happen to their loved ones while they are not around. They may also worry about being permanently separated from their parents due to certain circumstances such as getting lost or kidnapped.
The good news is there are a few things that a parent like you may do in order to have separation anxiety managed. The goal is to relieve your child of separation anxiety gradually and keep the problem from becoming worse, ending up as separation anxiety disorder. This much larger problem can last for several months instead of just a few days, and requires the help of a professional to have it resolved.
What’s more, separation anxiety disorder is something that can greatly interfere with your little one’s usual activities. For instance, he or she may fear going to school and want to stay home all day. It’s not unlikely for your child to refrain from sleeping, ending up as an insomniac. Prior to separating with him or her, your child may complain that he or she is ill.
So before a normal anxious feeling when parting ways ends up as separation anxiety disorder, it’s a good idea for you to spring into action and carry out some ways on easing separation anxiety that’s very common among kids. Here are some of the things that you may try doing:
• Stay calm while your child is exhibiting separation anxiety. This may also help ease the anxious feeling of your little one. Try to learn as much as you can about separation anxiety so that you may understand your child’s struggle more.
• Refrain from leaving when your child is settled, without saying goodbye. That’s because this may only leave your child feeling upset upon realizing that you’re suddenly gone, making it harder to settle your child the next time you need to leave. Definitely, you should tell your child when you are leaving and when you’ll be coming back. What’s more, refrain from dragging out the farewell process. Just say goodbye briefly.
• Prior to leaving, consider allowing your child to engage in an activity that he or she finds interesting. No matter if it’s watching cartoons, coloring or playing with toys or with a friend, this can help ease or prevent anxiety.
• Make sure that your facial expression is relaxed or happy before you bid your little one farewell. Having a sad or worried face can only upset your child, thinking that you are leaving him or her in a place that isn’t safe.
• It is a good idea to spend some time with your child in a new setting such as a daycare center or the house of his or her friend. This will allow your child to become familiar with the place as well as the person who will look after him or her while you are away. By knowing that the place is safe and the person can be trusted, your child won’t feel as anxious.
• Allow your child to bring something from home, such as his or her pillow, blanket or stuffed toy. Worry not because the item can be phased out gradually as your child becomes more and more settled in the new place.
• Steering clear of being separated with your child can only aggravate his or her separation anxiety. Instead, what you need to do is regularly give your little one some practice. Make sure that both parting and reunion are positive experiences, enabling your child to feel that being separated from each other for good is something that won’t happen.