I know what you’re thinking, how can my little one have separation anxiety? Put in a much less scary way, separation anxiety is when your little one acts as if they will never see you again. They cry, cling and create a huge scene whenever you leave. Sound familiar at all? If not, congratulations, because your baby is the exception to the rule as it’s very common.
Why it happens
As little ones become more independent and are now on the move, they realise how easily they can be separated from the person that makes them feel safest- that’s you! One more thing to keep in mind: Some little ones (just like some adults) are naturally shy and have a tougher time dealing with change or stress. Even as little of a change as you popping out to the shop for milk and bread!
Separation anxiety typically occurs in the last few months of the first year and often lasts well into their second. But all little ones are different; some will go through it earlier, others later. Just try your best to be mindful (and very patient) and they will eventually learn to separate without fear. And they will learn that when you leave, you’ll come back!
How you can help:
Get your baby used to the idea of you leaving by playing peekaboo! then progressing to disappearing behind a door for a second, then into another room for a couple of minutes, and finally gradually working up to leaving the house for longer periods of time.
Practice the three C’s: Calm, Confidence & Caring
If your baby/toddler cries, don’t get angry, tease, or get annoyed (imagining yourself in their cute little shoes may help you keep your cool). Reassure them by telling them you understand how they feel-“I know you want me to stay, but I’ll be back soon. I love you.” Then exit stage left.
Never sneak out on the sly
It’ll only make your toddler feel more anxious the next time you need to separate.
Give them a Mum-reminder
Some little ones like having a photo of your beautiful face, or some other personal memento/something of yours (like your scarf or glove).