Our daughter is just over 9 months old and has a new developmental milestone that's proving to be harder on mom and dad than any previous one: Separation Anxiety.
As we left the house for a quick work trip recently, June (our daughter), started crying and clinging to my husband's arm. It was utterly heartbreaking. As we fought back tears and eventually left the room, after a few minutes with her grandmother she calmed down and was distracted.
I immediately dove down the rabbit hole of research to help us find ways to help her cope with separation anxiety. Apparently it is a developmental milestone that occurs between 8-10 months, but it can also last up until a child's 2nd birthday (yikes). So, how do you help ease your babies angst? Here are a few tips I came across:
1. Understand that this is a good thing!
As hard as it may be, separation anxiety is a very healthy and normal developmental milestone that is a great lesson for your baby. This means that your baby understands and is connected to you, so this is a good thing!
2. Develop a Ritual
Just like you've developed a night time routine, you should also have a "bye bye" routine. Try and keep this light and cheery because your baby will pick up on your energy while you are leaving.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Practice the "bye bye" ritual at home and leave the room for a minute or two. This way when you leave, your baby will be reassured to know that you will always come back. Just make sure your baby is in a safe place while you're in the other room.
4. Familiarity is Key
Try to have familiar faces look after your little one while you are away. Familiarize them with a babysitter or nanny, or have a relative watch them so they feel safe knowing the person who is taking care of them.
5. Keep Calm
The most important thing to do is to keep your cool. Babies pick up on parent's reactions and actions so if they start crying hysterically and you start to freak out, your baby is going to freak out even more!
How do you cope with leaving your little one? Did they experience separation anxiety and if so, how do you help them navigate this hard time?