Separation anxiety is a common and healthy phase of early childhood, but there are steps that parents can take to help make those tough goodbyes a little easier.
Ease into separation with practice. You can start small here – first get accustomed with being in different rooms for short periods of time, and build from there. This practice will help you better anticipate needs down the line, like that first day of school or daycare!
Talk It Out
Practice is an effective way to anticipate needs, and so is conversation! If that first day of school or daycare is coming up, keep the kids informed, ask questions, and encourage questions. A healthy back-and-forth will help both sides gain some valuable and healthy emotional insight.
Establishing a simple goodbye ritual can go a long way. Something as simple as a hug and kiss (bonus points for a secret handshake!) can build familiarity, security and bonding during those tough goodbyes.
“Mom, You’re Late!”
Parents are busy, so those last-minute schedule changes are inevitable. But try be as consistent and timely as possible – that consistency can help ease anxiety for kids. If you’re running late, just the keep family informed, and maybe plan an occasional surprise as a reward for patience!
Building Babysitter Trust
Every situation is different, but frequent short-term babysitters can set-back trust-building and contribute to separation anxiety. If a child feels at ease and comfortable with the caregiver, it helps put the whole family at ease!