Screaming, tantrums, and tear-filled goodbyes are common incidents in a young child’s life. When you leave your son or daughter with a stranger for the first time, his or her behavior may be downright scary. Separation anxiety is unpleasant for you and your child, but it is a normal part of his psychological development. Understanding your toddler’s feelings and knowing how to react will help both of you successfully move through this phase.
Why does separation anxiety happen?
When babies reach the age of 4-7 months, they develop the sense of “object permanence,” meaning that they realize that people and objects still exist even if they cannot see them. In addition, babies have no sense of time, so they have no idea when or if you will return. As a child enters the toddler stage of development, and begins to understand emotions, he or she may fear that you are abandoning him or her when you leave.
What should you do?
- Acknowledge that you are leaving – You may think that sneaking out of the house will save your child grief, but this may increase his anxiety. He may think that you could disappear at any time.
- Look to the future – Before you leave, share with your toddler the fun things that he will do while you are gone. If possible, show him a clock and tell him that you will be returning when the hour hand reaches a certain number.
- Use a transitional object – If you will be leaving your child at daycare or with an off-site babysitter, bring something from home. This can be a favorite pillow, blanket or toy.
The most important thing that parents should remember is that separation anxiety will eventually pass. At U-GRO Learning Centres, our toddler programs will keep your child engaged and entertained, while hopefully not missing Mom and Dad too much.
For information about U-GRO Learning Centres, schedule a visit today.