Separation anxiety is something that no parent wants to go through, because it hurts. Even though we know that our kids will get used to us being gone and that we can’t be near them 24/7, it is one of the hardest struggles that parents face.
Separation anxiety is exactly what it says on the tin, where your child gets very nervous if you are not around or out of sight. While this is normal for all kids, you still need some ways to deal with it and overcome the problem.
First, let’s look at some of the common ages that will have to deal with separation anxiety, and then ways for you to deal with it.
Separation Anxiety in Kids
Infant babies develop something called ‘Object Permanence” where they figure out that an object still exists even if they can no longer see it. That’s why peek-a-boo is so much fun with younger children because they literally think that your face is gone! Once your infant realizes that the parent hasn’t vanished off the face of the earth, but is simply not around to be with them they tend to get nervous.
The best thing to do there is to keep transitions short for young children. Once they get to become toddlers, most toddlers start to get severe separation anxiety and tend to become louder in their objections whenever you leave.
As Preschoolers, they know the effect that separation anxiety has on you. So the best strategy is to ignore them and let them just be stressed. You don’t want them dictating the relationship, and you also need some time to yourself. Plus, you will be able to explain to them why you are leaving and when you will come back, and if you leave and return at the same time they will get used to it.
Taking Care of Separation Anxiety
Along with being consistent to get your children used to the routine, also make sure that you can do more with a routine. You can give them affection, or great goodbye rituals, such as a certain phrase you say, or maybe you always hand them their favorite toy when you leave.
Additionally, you can practice being apart from your child. Send them to playdates, to a relative, or have a friend take them for a day. If you know that you are taking them to a school, make sure that you walk to the school before it starts and practice your goodbye routine. This practice will not only give you some time alone, but it will also allow your child to discover that they are okay without you.
Above all, you need to be firm when you leave. Don’t extend the transition to be too long because that just causes more problems. No matter what your child does, you need to be firm and show them that they can live without you.
Older Separation Anxiety?
Once your child gets a bit older, after their preschool years they should be done with separation anxiety and might even discover that they like being alone. Still, in some cases, older children can have separation anxiety, although this usually happens whenever they have an unfamiliar situation, such as a new school, or need to go to the dentist for the first time alone.
In those cases, you should be able to talk to your children about the situation and answer as many questions as you can. That should help them deal with their separation anxiety and look forward to the new situation without trouble.
Sleep Help in Singapore
If you are struggling with your child’s sleep and you would like a step-by-step customised plan to get them sleeping through the night, then contact Petite Dreamers. Louise can help you.
Get in touch for a FREE 15-minute discovery call. This will an opportunity to discuss your child’s specific situation and come up with some ideas for a solution.
Remember, sleeping children = happy family!