The crying toddler at the door screaming, and trying to run out if anyone opens it is an all too familiar thing at any child care center. Toddler separation anxiety can be stressful and challenging for both the parent and child. Parents often feel guilt, worry, and anxiety when they can't calm their child and get them to stop crying. Although it is hard to leave your devastated child , there are some things that you can do to help calm your child's fears and help them work through their anxieties. This article is going to talk about some things a parent can do to help soothe their child when they are worried about separation from their loved ones.
The very first thing I always tell parents not to do is leave with out saying good-bye. I have seen many parents try the sneak off when they aren't looking method. Although this is easier for the parent, since they don't have to leave when their child is crying, it is not better for the toddler. The toddler will still start to cry when they notice the parent is absent. They will look around for them and wonder where they went and when they will return. In the end, this will cause more toddler separation anxiety because the young child doesn't know when their parent will be there and when they won't. They might cling to a parent that does this because they are afraid to turn their backs. When you are dealing with toddler separation anxiety it is important that your child understands that you are leaving and will be back. They need to feel safe and secure and have an understanding of what is happening.
Another very important thing, is setting up a routine. Like I mentioned before, the child who is dealing with toddler separation anxiety needs to have an understanding of what is happening. Set up a drop off and pick up routine. That way your toddler will know when you are leaving and when you will return. It is also something special you can give them when they are away. I have seen parents who use separation books, like “The Kissing Hand” that tell a story about separation, and they use the same techniques that the mom in the book use. Children do well relating to story book characters. I have also seen kids who enjoy watching their parents car leave and return. They like going to the window and waving good-bye before they start playing. Set up a routine and stick with it. Toddler separation anxiety is scary for a child and having a routine will help transition them through their day.
Toddler separation anxiety can come from the parent too. This means the parent can be causing the child some of the fear and anxiety by the way they are acting. It is important to be reassuring and calm when your child is suffering from toddler separation anxiety. Let your child know what is going to happen and then do it. If the parent goes back and forth or stays with a child for too long, it can make the whole process harder. Your child will feed off of your emotions. If you are calm cool and collected, it will teach them to be the same.
To sum it up, toddler separation anxiety can cause a lot of emotion from both parent and child, but it is a very important milestone in child development. By following the tips I have given you can help your child transition through the fear and anxiety. The screaming child who is suffering from toddler separation anxiety will soon be the independent two year old that can't wait to play with their friends.
By: Jennie Berendson
For more information on child separation anxiety go to separation anxiety Jennie has been an early child educator for over 10 years.
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