Written by Pradeep
While it is heartening to have your child love you so much that he cannot think of spending even a moment away from you, it is not a very practical proposition. Having to face a big tantrum and a bucketful of tears every time you need to step out of home or your child needs to go to play school is definitely not an easy thing.
What your child is exhibiting is called separation anxiety. Understanding what he is going through and identifying few coping mechanisms can help a great deal in reducing the heart breaks when you are not around the child.
There are three primary reasons why your toddler feels separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is not something that springs to life in toddler-hood alone. Around the time your child is six or seven months, he develops a concept called object permanence. This means that “something exists even if one cannot see it”. So if a toy falls under his crib, he knows it is there, although he cannot see it. Similarly, he knows you are there even if he cannot see you. And the baby’s attitude would be like “if my mom is around, why cannot I see her NOW”.
For many children, separation anxiety disappears on its own. And for many others, it does not. Knowingly or unknowingly, there are many things you do that contribute to their anxiety. It could be a challenging when a child has to get separated from the parents even for a short duration. It is perfectly normal for a child to feel anxious. Almost all children face separation anxiety and show clinginess to parents, which is normal but how long do they remain in that state could bring a reason to worry. If a child panics at the thought of getting separated from his parents but can get settled down in sometime, then that is a harmless separation anxiety. But sometimes the kids do not adjust to separation at all. When you go out for work, leaving your child with a caregiver, at crèches, or in the school, the child panics and simply doesn’t settle down. You can help your child deal with separation anxiety by:
As important as your child’s separation anxiety, and many times worse, is YOUR separation anxiety. It is you who many at times have problems letting go. So if your child is only 30% worried, he senses your worry (even if you are not showing it explicitly) and immediately becomes 100% worried. So, one task for you is to prepare yourself to be calm, composed and confident.
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