Every parent needs a break from time to time. Mommies and Daddies need an occasional night out or even an hour or two to shop for groceries. Many parents work full-time and day care is an everyday event. Whatever your situation, you may have experienced the stress and heart ache of separation anxiety. There is nothing worse than a sobbing child clinging to your leg and having to pry them off.
Most toddlers and young children will experience this at one time or another. Don’t worry! The effects are short-lived and the trauma soon forgotten. Often, it can be more stressful for the parents. Feelings of guilt can be overwhelming. The reality is that children are resilient beings. They bounce back stronger than before and time apart can be a good thing.
Don’t think that sneaking out the back door will make it any easier. Once your child realizes you are gone, they will feel betrayed and mislead. Foster a sense of trust with your child, by always being open and honest with them. Reassure your child that you will be back. Let them know where you are going. Explain who will be caring for them and what activities they will do, while you are gone.
Always try to remain calm and pleasant. Never show that you are upset or start to cry yourself! Is there a special blanket or stuffed animal that gives your child comfort? Try sending it with your child to the daycare ( if it is allowed).
Switching sitters or daycare facilities too often can increase feelings of insecurity. Research your daycare or sitter extensively, before you make a final decision. After that, try to stay the course. Your child with thrive in the refuge of knowing what to expect and who they can count on.
Once it is time to leave. Give your child a kiss and hug. Turn and walk out the door. Don’t look back. Don’t respond to their cries. At that point, it is up to their provider to give the comfort. If you vacillate back and forth, it will only cause confusion. You don’t want your child to think that if they just scream loud enough, you will change your mind.
If separation issues don’t go away, you might want to take a closer look at the day care. Maybe there is something else going on that you are not aware of. Maybe , it is time to look into finding a place that will give your child an experience that is positive and enjoyable. Day care and babysitters can be fun! What does your child need and how can you find care that will meet those needs? Stay strong and don’t let separation issues derail your plans.