11 Ways to Help Your Baby Deal with Separation AnxietyLauren Jimeson
There is nothing worse than having to leave your little one and seeing them upset that you are going away. Avery is just now hitting the stage of major separation anxiety. I leave a room for one second and it’s like her world is coming to and end.
Separation anxiety is very common for babies and is a natural part of their development. I went through it with my oldest daughter, Harlan, about the same age as Avery is now. The only difficult part with Harlan was that I had to go to work everyday and leave her at daycare. Although she had been going to the daycare since she was 12 weeks old, it didn’t make it any easier. Leaving her crying did not make for a pleasant drive to work.
Although I don’t leave Avery as often, there are times when I do have to leave her with someone else. It’s during those times that I carefully and strategically plan how to make the process easier on both of us. I don’t want to leave her very upset only because it will make me feel horrible and guilty for leaving her and then we will both be unhappy.
Over the years of dealing with separation anxiety with both of my children, I have found things that have made the process easier on both baby and mom. Check out my tips below!
Set Up a Mock Situation 1 of 11Before actually leaving, set up a couple of mock situations of you leaving the house and go into another room. This way your little one will slowly get used to you leaving and returning.
Play Peek-a-boo 2 of 11This might sound silly but the game of peek-a-boo is actually really good in teaching your little one the concept of you going away and coming back. I used to do this with Harlan all the time before I had to leave her at daycare. You can start with peek-a-boo with your hands and then slowly move into going into another room to play and popping your head out. This helps them to see that you are gone, but that you are soon returning.
Leave the Baby with Someone They Are Familiar With 3 of 11As you are gradually separating from your little one, it's important to leave them with someone they are familiar with. I try to use the same babysitter or a family member so that Avery is used to seeing the person all of the time.
Be Consistent in Your Goodbye Routine 4 of 11It's so important to be consistent in your routine as you leave. This helps your little one learn what to expect when you are going. If you leave the same way all the time, they know that you will soon return.
Give the Baby Time to Adjust Before Leaving 5 of 11Once your sitter gets to your house, give your little one time to adjust before leaving. You don't want to rush out the door right away, but you also don't want to prolong your departure. Try to find a time that you feel is right to leave.
Leave a Toy or Lovey For Comfor 6 of 11Leave a comfort item for them when you are gone. That way if they do get upset, they can hug and cuddle with their lovey until you return. It helps bring a sense of security to your little one.
Always Say Goodbye 7 of 11It's always important to say goodbye to your little one no matter what. I used to think that sneaking away without setting up the fact that I was leaving was the way to go, but then I soon felt like I was just abandoning my children. I always make sure to say goodbye to both of my girls before I leave so that they know I am leaving and that I will return.
Always Smile as You are Leaving 8 of 11Letting your baby know that you are happy when you leave sets a tone with them. It helps to know that you have a positive attitude about leaving and hopefully your good vibes will rub off on your little one.
Get the Baby Distracted Before You Leave 9 of 11Once you have said goodbye, have your babysitter engage with your little one to keep them distracted while you are getting out of the door. This gets them engaged and fixated on something other than you leaving them.
Don’t Stress 10 of 11It's hard to leave your little one. Especially when they are upset. Don't stress out over leaving them. Your baby will pick up on that stress and will become stressed themselves. Trust the person you are leaving them with and have a good time while you are out.
Always Return with Celebration 11 of 11The sweet time when you are finally reunited with your baby is so special. Return with big hugs and kisses so that they know just how much you love them and that you are back for them.
More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:
Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year.
All images via iStockphoto
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