Don’t fret if your baby cries if you leave their side. Separation anxiety is completely normal and common among little babies. It does not mean that your baby will grow up to be clingy or overly dependent on you. Remember that separation anxiety happens to everyone — even grownups! — and it’s natural for babies to feel this way because they are strongly attached to you.
If you think about it, separation anxiety is good news. Your baby is being emotional when you leave their side because they recognize you as someone they trust. They just love you! However, it can be crippling to not be able to move around to go to work, run errands, or have some alone time without a screaming baby.
Fortunately, there are ways to ease separation anxiety in kids and babies.
6 Simple Ways to Ease Separation Anxiety in Babies
1. Help them become familiar with their secondary carer.
It definitely helps to help your baby understand that you are leaving them with another person that they can trust rather than a complete stranger. This is why it is necessary to help them become familiar with their secondary carer. Whether it’s their grandma, a babysitter, or a daycare center, your baby will have a better time adjusting to another familiar face.
2. Let your baby use a security object.
If your baby is attached to, like their blanket for example or their favorite plush toy, then let them use it. Let your baby take their security object when spending the day at their grandparents’ or inform their babysitter or daycare center about it. A security object is helpful because it gives your baby a sense of security and reminds them of you and home.
3. Create a goodbye ritual.
To make your baby feel better about saying goodbye to you, create a cheerful goodbye ritual, which will also help your baby feel secure about your returning. You can hug or develop a special wave, or you can also create a short melody about seeing each other later. Don’t sneak away when your baby is distracted because it will only leave them feeling confused!
4. Practice at home.
Practice makes perfect, and for the little ones, practice helps them adjust and cope with different situations. Easing separation anxiety in kids and babies can become easier if you start “training” them for your absence. For example, you can leave them alone in a safe area and tell them that you will be back in 5 minutes. You can gradually progress and leave for longer periods of time (making sure that your baby is always safe) and show them that you always come back.
5. Be quick and be consistent.
Sometimes, separation is harder on the parents (you!) than for the baby. It’s even possible that your baby is fussing because they can feel that you feel bad about leaving them. Remember that your baby is an empathetic being and can mirror how you feel, so do your goodbye rituals without drama or lingering.
It is a lot better to be quick in saying goodbyes. Don’t act sad or cry in front of your baby. Also, don’t forget to be consistent. Drop them off and pick them up at the same time each day to build your baby’s trust in you.
6. And create happy reunions!
Finally, remember that separations should always end in happy reunions! Aside from goodbye rituals, also create happy reunion rituals like hugging and a bit of dancing and singing. You may also give your child something you have picked up along the way, like a pretty flower or a cool-looking rock to let them know that you are thinking of them while you’re gone.
Goodbyes are never easy, especially if they are between a new parent and a little baby! But it doesn’t have to end dramatically. Instead, it’s best to help your baby understand that goodbyes happen but so do happy reunions. Help ease separation anxiety with these simple tips!