4 Tips to Cope with Separation Anxiety
Hi mamas! We have been dealing with separation anxiety for a little over two months now, and it can be frustrating at times. Anastasija doesn’t let me leave her sight. Like, she will not only call for me but she immediately drops everything she is doing to follow me. And, I am like, brb just going to the bathroom. Hahaha! Yeah, right!
We will be playing in the room, all four of us and the moment I get up to leave she immediately notices. If I try to ignore her she calls for me, repeatedly says mama. She doesn’t really scream scream. But will sometimes cry. I guess depends on her mood.
So in today’s post, I wanted to share (1) our current experience with separation anxiety at fourteen months, and (2) things we have been implementing that have helped cope with separation anxiety.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Come find out this is normal. Normal in a sense that it’s part of their developmental phase and every child goes through it – some more noticeable (Anastasija) and some less (Vasilije & Mateja). In the first few months of their lives they can hardly distinguish between adults, but at about 8 months they start to tell one adult from another, and so they become more attached to mom and dad. As they are slowly becoming independent, they still need their mom or dad so in their mind they think you’ll abandon them every time you leave.
4 tips to cope with Separation Anxiety
So I started looking for ways we can work on separation anxiety, and so far we have implemented these four things. I am not trying to get rid of it, as it is totally normal for babies to go through this. But, I want her to know that when I leave, I will be back and to help ease the separation anxiety.
Follow through on promises
This is important. For example, when I get her ready for nap time or bedtime, I change her into pjs and lay her in her crib. Then I tell her, I will be right back, I am going to get your milk (those exact words, not even kidding). And, she doesn’t call for me. So, I go and grab her milk and come back. I follow through on the promise, which is SO important. Whereas before I would just leave, and not say anything and she would immediately jump up and start calling for me. Even though I had the intention of coming back, she didn’t know that.
Find a transitional toy
Another thing we are doing a little differently is when we are playing in the room and I need to leave for whatever reason, I leave her with a different toy than she had been playing with so that she gets interested in that new to, I just handed over to her until I come back. I do still tell her where I am going and that I will be back, but just give her a new toy to stay occupied. It doesn’t always work, but it has worked way more now than just getting up and leaving.
Always say goodbye
Then, when I need to leave the house I make sure to say goodbye. I tell her where I am going and what I am going to do but always finish with “I will be back”, so that she has that assurance. The more we talk to our children, and get in a routine of saying goodbye she will eventually understand that I will be back. It’s so harsh on them when you just leave. I did it a few times, and to be honest, I prefer to say goodbye. She may be upset for a minute or two, but if whoever she is staying with gets her attention onto something else she’ll be fine.
For Crying Out Loud
And, sometimes it’s just okay to let them cry it out a bit. They are learning about their own feelings, and it’s fine. Shortly after they’ll stop crying. Don’t, however stay and try to comfort them as that makes it ten times worse.
Do Not Sneak Out EVER
One thing I have learned NOT to do is just sneak out and leave, because that just leaves them in fear that you’ll always do that. That at any point in time you’ll just disappear, and they don’t like that. It’s better if you tell them goodbye and they cry for a bit, then if they are always thinking you’ll leave them. Also, if they cry a bit, rest assured in leas than five minutes they’ll be fine. So never just sneak out, always say goodbye.
Then, knowing this is a phase and this too shall pass, I just want to embrace these moments when she only wants mama. When she runs over to me to give me the biggest hug, lays her head on my shoulder and doesn’t move. These are the moments I want to bottle up forever. Oh motherhood.
Thanks for stopping by!