Managing Separation Anxiety as a Parent
Bearing and rearing your own child from birth is not just an important milestone in adult life that many people only dream of, as most of all, children can be our source of joy, pride, and fulfillment throughout their lives with us and even beyond that. While it is true that looking after your newborn is truly challenging and exhausting especially in the initial months where their sleeping pattern is typically irregular, having to go away after being with them for months can be an emotional challenge not just for the baby but also for parents.
At one point or another, parents will have to be away from their children especially if there is a job waiting for them, which can be even worse if they work in a farther location that means they will have to be gone for a long time, but even if this is without a doubt emotionally challenging for the parents, children and babies are more prone to worse effects, and can even cause trauma in worst cases. While it is of course unavoidable unless you have the luxury and resources to be a full time parent, parents can always do some steps to lighten the burden of anxiety and make each instance of separation acceptable for their children in order to turn it into a regular routine that they can eventually accept and not have to keep worrying about.
During the stage of infancy, engaging your child in games that help their developmental stage, such as peek-a-boo activities, can significantly help in developing their understanding when it comes to separation and trusting their parents or caregivers each they have to be separated from them for some time. If you are planning to leave for a significant period of time, leaving your baby with someone they know whom you can also trust when it comes to their welfare will help a lot in putting them at ease if ever they start to feel agitated once they notice you have been gone for a while already.
Reassuring them with your words even if they do not speak yet, well ahead of time before you go away will also help to make them feel safe and for them to start trusting that you are coming back every time you leave them so they can understand it is only temporary. Allowing them to stay in a place they are already quite familiar with will also mean a lot especially when they have their favorite toys or baby comforters around them to keep them entertained and help them sleep better when they need it.
Building trust between you, your child, and their babysitter is important when it comes to managing separation anxiety effectively especially in the first instance. Taking time to practice the process will also help for you to see how they will really react once it happens, so you can also address problems that may arise which you will probably not anticipate if you had not practiced ahead with your child.
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