SeparationFebruary 2, 2017
Tips for Caregivers
- Read their cues.
- They may not want to be passed to people the way they once did (even grandma!)
- They are in distress when you leave, even for short periods of time
- It’s normal.
- Many children experience difficulty with separation
- Be patient.
- Separation anxiety is a phase and will come and go throughout early childhood
- Don’t sneak away.
- Leaving the house when your baby isn’t looking isn’t helpful and makes your baby feel unsure of things
- Practice saying goodbye.
- Try phrases like “mommy (daddy, grandma, etc.) always comes back”
- Be positive.
- Try saying, “I came home and I can’t wait to hear about your day” instead of “I missed you so much.” This shows children that separation is normal and healthy, and not something sad.
- Stay calm when your child is crying – though it may be intense and feel awful, their reaction is usually short and they are easily distracted.
Tips for Providers
- Prepare for it
- Know that separation anxiety can peak around 8 months and warn families about what to expect before it happens. Knowing that it is normal can relieve a lot of unnecessary stress on caregivers.
- Object permanence
- The idea that disappearing things come back is critical to handling issues with separation. Playing peek-a-boo can help develop this skill and can be modeled for caregivers in the visit.
- Lead by example
- Telling children what is coming next, who is coming in and what to expect is a great way to model for parents the importance of clear communication and allow children to feel in control.
- Approach gently
- Try avoiding eye contact with children when they feel afraid and don’t force separation. Encourage children to stay on a familiar lap or ask them to a hug a caregiver while you examine them.
For more information on Separation, click here.