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NAVIGATING SEPARATION ANXIETY WITH YOUR CHILD: A PARENT'S GUIDE

Updated: Dec 24, 2023



Separation anxiety is a natural part of your child's development, and it's essential for parents to understand and support their little ones during this transition. As your child grows and evolves, it's important to provide them with the tools and comfort they need to ease into new experiences and situations. In this guide, we'll explore some tips and tricks to help you and your child navigate separation anxiety smoothly.


Slow Down and Gradually Introduce Change

It's easy for adults to forget that every new experience can be overwhelming for a child. We must remember that even seemingly simple changes can be challenging for babies and toddlers. While adults can adapt quickly to new environments and people, young children need time to adjust gradually.

Imagine being in a foreign country where you don't speak the language, and the only person you can communicate with walks away. That's how a young child might feel when left in a new environment for the first time. To ease this transition, it's advisable to go slowly. Spend time with your child in the new space, especially with new people around. This way, your child can become familiar with the new environment while knowing that their safety net (you) is still accessible.


Establish and Stick to a Routine

In the whirlwind of life, especially for working parents, maintaining consistency is vital for toddlers and babies. Flexibility is one of the advantages of being your own boss, but young children thrive on routine. Find a schedule that works for both you and your child, and then stick to it. Pay attention to your child's preferences, like their better mood in the mornings. Once you've identified a routine that suits your child, repeat it consistently. The repetition helps your child adapt to the new schedule, making transitions easier.


Maintain a Calm and Confident Demeanor

Children, especially babies and toddlers, are incredibly sensitive to their parents' emotions. How you feel when leaving your child significantly impacts their emotions as well. It's important to bid goodbye calmly and confidently, rather than sneaking away, which can lead to distrust. When your child sees that you trust the situation you're leaving them in, they are more likely to feel secure. Keep in mind that separation anxiety can be challenging for parents too, and it's okay to acknowledge your own feelings.


Avoid the Nap Trap

Scheduling around nap times is crucial, as tired children are often more emotional. As your child grows, their sleep needs change, making it essential to plan your activities around their nap schedule. Ensuring your child is well-rested can make a significant difference in their ability to handle new and exciting experiences.


Create a Goodbye Ritual

The moment of departure can be an emotional one for both you and your child. To make it easier, establish a goodbye ritual that prepares your child for the separation. This can involve a conversation at home the night or morning before, or even showing them a picture of the place they'll be. When you arrive at the location, spend a few minutes playing with your child, offering undivided attention. When it's time to separate, do so calmly and consistently, with a hug, a wave, and a reassuring phrase such as, "I'm going to do some work now, but I will always come back. Have fun!" Creating a consistent separation routine helps your child feel secure and familiar with the process.


In conclusion, every child and parent will have their unique methods for dealing with separation anxiety. At Wiggle & Work, we encourage child-led separation to foster trust and familiarity. Allowing your family to navigate separation at their own pace can lead to a positive and productive experience for everyone involved. We look forward to welcoming you and your little one soon for a day of play and work, where you can both thrive in a supportive environment.


by WorkCastle

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