Stages when separation takes place
- During weaning when baby start taking solid foods and gets separated from the mothers breast.
- The baby starts crawling and walking and need lesser help of the mother carrying the baby.
- Further separation takes place when the toddler starts going to school.
- The child sleeping in a separate bed from the parents.
- Arrival of a new sibling in the family.
- When one or both the parents leave him. (divorce of parents).
- Who has little exposure to others and never been cared for by anyone but his parents.
- Child who is experiencing other stress in life e.g. moving, a new child care situation, or the arrival of a new sibling.
- Some kids who are shy, quiet experiences separation anxiety in a exaggerated manner.
- When parents leave the child overnight for long periods.
- Parents should understand the anxiety of the child and react to it with understanding, patience and confidence. Comfort your child by words such as–I know you don’t want me to leave, but I will be back soon. I love you. Never be in a hurry and say frustratingly words like–You are silly to cling to me like this.
- Don’t take the anxiety too seriously. Just stay calm, sympathetic, unmoved by the child’s hysterical behavior. You can tell him that you love him, but don’t add that you will miss him.
- Your toddler should feel secure when you are around. Give him lots of love and attention. A child adjusts faster when you are sensitive with him.
- Start with the short separation like disappear behind a door and going into another room and gradually work up to leaving the house for shorter periods. This helps the child to view the separation as temporary.
- Don’t try to be tricky like slipping out of the house when your toddler is not looking or fast asleep. It will only make him more insecure.
- Don’t be too anxious. Younger children pick up the parental anxieties. Your anxiety will only make the child more insecure. You should always have a confident smile on your face while leaving the toddler.
1) Develop a habit in your child to sleep in a separate room
- Make sure that the child has enough time before school to wakeup. Be sure that he has his morning milk and a good breakfast before leaving for school. A tired and hungry child becomes cranky and will cling to his parents more
- Make sure that he is not hurried out of the house without a couple of good warm hugs, some friendly conversation and a reassurance that his parents will be there when he comes back from school.
- If the school allows, let him bring a piece of his home along e.g. a small toy he is fond of or a favorite blanket. If the school wont allow that, then assure him, that his teddy bear will wait for him in the car, until the school is over.
- Separating from you will be easier for the toddler if you give him something of yours for the day like a handkerchief or an old wallet or even a kiss of lipstick on his hand.
- Never admonish your child on the way to school. Keep him in a lighter mood discussing what he would like to do after he returns from school, or ask him the name of his teacher or friends or the nursery rhymes he loves to sing.
- Put on a happy face, when you are leaving the child at the class door. Do not show any trace of anxiety or restlessness, which may make him tense. Do not feel guilty, overly sympathetic. If you waiver at all, he will play to your feelings and feel even worse.
- Arrive a little early to school, and linger on in his classroom and ask him about his classroom toys or the nice pictures hanging in the classroom and compliment them. Make the classroom talk short and sweet, for if you linger longer, he may start clinging to you.
- Leave him with a farewell, and reassure him that you will pick him up as soon as school gets over.
- Pick him up on time. This will relieve him of the daily worry that you might not show up.
Create a bedtime routine for the child. Kiss your child goodnight and just leave the room. This will help the parents to regulate the child’s sleeping hours, by putting the child to bed at fixed time everyday. There should be no looking back. The Child may not sleep immediately but will after sometime.
Initially this can be very difficult for both the parent and the child, as the parents usually get very edgy with the babies cries and keeping the baby away from them. But the parents have to ignore the cries of the baby to set some discipline. However, they have to check the baby from time to time to see if the baby is asleep.
2) Making your toddler getting used to short–time separations e.g. like shopping or going out for movies.
3) Separation anxiety at Preschool
Almost every child cries and protests while going to school in the beginning. The daily transition from home to school is rather difficult in many toddlers. Don’t think that your child’s resistance and unwillingness to go to school is a sign of his dislike for school. As soon as the child gets used to the new routine and school setting there will be a decrease in his clinginess and crying. This process takes longer for some children than the others, and some continue having troublesome home school transition for a year or two into their school careers.
You could help in the following ways
As soon as one knows that a new sibling is to arrive, the mother should start making her older kid independent. This will help the child to be less dependant on the mother and the pangs of separation will be felt less when the time the new baby arrives. It is very important that the mother does not give the impression to the older child, that the new baby has stolen his mother. The mother must ensure that the older child is not feeling left out, or the older child will develop a jealousy attitude towards the new sibling.