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When separation anxiety hits

22 January 2015, 13:20

Nairobi - The one thing about separation anxiety is that it can hit when you least expect it. Just when you thought that you will not have to deal with it because you skipped baby phase completely; it might come and creep up on you during the toddler phase.

When does it happen?

It can also happen really quickly, today you will be happy and saying bye to one another like normal and then tomorrow comes and as you’re leaving for work your little one is holding onto leg because “you cannot go to work Mommy!”

Is it a bad thing?

It generally isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something all working parents would love to avoid. Not because you wouldn’t want your child to be attached to you, but rather to know you can have a reasonable understanding with them from a young age.

What should I do to try and avoid it?

According to Sarah Abbot, associate director of the Family Resource Counselling Centre in Los Angeles, start by introducing your baby to his/her alternative caregivers, like a sibling or babysitters at an early stage. Allow them to understand that they can be relaxed around those caregivers when you aren’t around.

Example: Leave them alone for a while, even if you just leave the room and let them bond over a game of peek-a-boo or building blocks.

Start from a young age with creating happy rituals when saying goodbye, do not drag out the process- keep it short.
Example: A little peck on the forehead and a “see you later” should be fine.

Have routines when they are a bit older.

Example: A hug and a high five and watch them walk through preschool’s doors. The repeat motion will allow them to get into a routine where they go their way and you go your way for just a bit.

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Introducing a new sibling

This is a critical stage where separation anxiety can creep up on you. The feeling of coming second and getting less attention is so strong, says Parenting.com.

One way to deal with it according to a professor pr psychology, K. Mark Sossin, is spending extra one on one time with your eldest.

For example, take them out for lunch to her favourite restaurant and watch them play in the playpen.

- Health24


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