• Help With Toddler Separation Anxiety

    Dear Mom,

    I try to leave my child and the minute I walk out of the room, she starts crying or screaming for me. Please help this gone crazy mom of how I can help my baby let me leave her for just a little bit. I think she has toddler separation anxiety but I just want to know how to overcome this.

    Thanks,
    Carol

    Carol,

    It is normal for your baby to be going through what they are going through. For nine months, they were attached to us 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We were their lifeline and they have to learn their independence from us. Their whole mentality knows they are sensing this whole new freedom from mom, but yet they have reservations about beginning new things. The mom can help teach them independence by taking baby steps and not trying to separate from them without building up the process. You may ask, what steps can we take?

    Start out small. Let them play in the living room as you go to the next room (room needs to be in eye view) to do a certain task as folding clothes. Make sure you are keeping eye contact with them and reassuring that mom is right here. Speak in positive, upbeat words. The first time may not work, but just keep repeating yourself and do it over and over until they are fine with you being in the next room.

    Stretch the time being gone. When dad or another caregiver comes home, go and take a shower or soak in a nice bubble bath. Reassure the child you will be back. Never sneak away from the child as this will leave a bad coping skill with her and think you are never coming back. Give it 15 or 20 minutes and show your presence to the baby. Hug her and let her know you missed her, but will always return when mommy goes. After you do this a few times and she gets used to the ide of you being gone for that short amount of time, try going to the store for a longer period of time. You can continue to stretch each trip until you feel comfortable with the time you are being gone, for example if you are trying to build up to a night out of town with your signifcant other.

    By taking things slowing, it will help you and your child overcome toddler separation anxiety with much less tears, heartbreak and stress. The baby will continue to grow her independence from you and will soon love her new found freedom of having playtime with dad, grandma or grandpa, or other special friend.

    Hang in there mom it will get better and know other moms are going through the same thing as you right now.

    Fellow Mom,
    Jen


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