February 2, 2017

Tips for Caregivers

  1. 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
  2. It’s normal.
    • Many children experience difficulty with separation
  3. Be patient.
    • Separation anxiety is a phase and will come and go throughout early childhood
  4. Don’t sneak away.
    • Leaving the house when your baby isn’t looking isn’t helpful and makes your baby feel unsure of things
  5. Practice saying goodbye.
    • Try phrases like “mommy (daddy, grandma, etc.) always comes back”
  6. 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

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.