Separation anxiety in children is a common concern that almost every parent will deal with at some point. However, it is most prevalent during infancy for children aged 8 months to 10 months and is generally considered a normal part of early childhood development.
To help you tackle ongoing separation anxiety in infants, toddlers, or pre-schoolers, this article highlights three methods that will ease the anxiety of your child during separation.
Managing your child’s separation anxiety effectively
When you discover that your little one is experiencing separation anxiety, you can help them by doing the following:
1. Practice separation for a short interval
Instead of leaving your child in an unfamiliar environment at once, practise staying apart for a shorter period of time. You may leave your child with a trusted friend or family member and observe how things work. This will help your child to build trust in their independence, warm up to new faces and spaces, and gradually minimise anxiety.
2. Comfort your child to reduce their fear
When you leave your child, pay attention to what they are trying to communicate, and be compassionate when responding to them. Focus on their non-verbal cues (clinginess or fussing), and try to comfort them by doing the following:
- Assuring them that you will be back soon
- Allowing them to participate in a favourite activity of their choice
- Depart quickly with a simple goodbye ritual; as if you allow this to linger, their anxiety might increase.
3. Gradually introduce a new place to your child
Whether it’s a childcare centre or kindergarten, arrange about two to three short-term visits to a place before you leave your child there. This simple process not only fosters the self-esteem of your child but prepares them for confidently staying away from you. At Montessori Academy, children can experience this during the initial tour and orientation session, before your child’s first day.
Saying goodbye is never easy at first (for the child or the parents), but staying relaxed, calm, and positive can make a world of difference to the separation anxiety of your child.
For more tips and tricks on how to best deal with separation anxiety, feel free to ask your tour guide when you visit a Montessori Academy childcare centre.