Experiencing some level of separation anxiety amongst kids, especially toddlers is a very common developmental stage, but when it’s your first baby, mum and dad may have a hard time as well. It can be very intense, especially in the first year, a time when you have just figured out about your baby’s feeding, sleeping and safety yourself and it’s difficult to fathom that anyone else can do it right.
To cope with the stress and hardships that accompany separation anxiety, it’s important that you surround yourself with people who you trust that can help you out. Relinquishing control Is not always easy for first-time parents but it’s an inevitability that all parents must face at some point or another. Accept that it is a part of parenting and prepare yourself mentally, so that you are ready when it’s time to let go.
Continue reading to learn more about how to handle separation anxiety as a first-time parent.
A Word to Parents
It’s important to understand and acknowledge the fact that it’s okay to feel anxious. A healthy and happy bond with your kid can lead to a certain level of uneasiness when your child is not there with you. Don’t focus on getting away from the situation, as these instincts are part of what helps parents to make the best decisions. You’re not the first parent to go through separation anxiety and you certainly won’t be the last, so don’t stress too much and avoid being overly hard on yourself or those you lean on for help.
Accept Help from Others
Using a reputable babysitter, asking trusted family members and friends for help, or using a nanny agency in Melbourne can help to relieve the stress associated with separation anxiety. They may do things differently, but their ultimate goal is to keep your child safe and happy while you’re away.
We understand you have spent a lot of time, months and even years in learning about your little munchkin and no one apart from you, knows them quite as you. However, kids are very adaptive, often more than their parents! Even when they are babies, surprisingly they know that things are different with different people. Whether it’s Mum, Dad, a friendly outsider or even grandparents, it’s often surprising how well even young children can adapt to different carers.
Remember that it’s natural for babies to be cared by more than one carer. As a part of evolution, we humans parented or cared for our kids in groups or communities, thus sharing the difficult task and responsibility of caring our kids. This helps in teaching your kids to trust and accept other people, apart from boosting their feeling and love for the community, also helping them understand that the world we live in is a very safe place.
Look After You
If you need to check in, do so, but taking time away isn’t just for fun, it’s important for your health. If leaving behind your little baby gives you a feeling of guilt or miserable, in the first few months then don’t do it. However, as your little one grows, it’s good for you to put elements of your life slowly back into rotation. That might mean going to an exercise class, having date night, or going for lunch with a friend. These things aren’t you neglecting your parenting duties, it’s you slowly starting to take care of yourself.
What You Can Do For Your Child
There are a lot of ways to help your child feel less anxious and make the entire process of spending more time apart easier for them as well as for yourself. When it comes to enrolling in childcare, start with short visits rather than waiting until you are ready to start back to work. This will make the transition more seamless for everyone involved. If your child is old enough, explain what will happen during their day before you drop them off. Make it attractive, tell them about the friends they will make, the kind carers they will get to know and the fun activities they can take part in. With something to look forward to they’ll be more at ease with the separation.
Don’t linger over drop-offs. While it’s tempting to stay and try to comfort them you’ll only make it worse. If you are anxious try not to show it, just say goodbye and hand them over to the nanny or teacher trusting that they will offer a distraction. Also, fight the temptation to sneak away. Part of teaching your child to trust that you will come back is to let them know you are leaving.
Separation Anxiety is Perfectly Normal
Separation anxiety is not a disorder; it’s a normal part of toddlerhood, as well as parenthood. Attachment doesn’t mean always being right next to each other, which is why several studies show that little kids who spend time in a good daycare are equally secured and happy with their parents.
As the newness of being apart wears off, so too will the anxious feelings of separation. In no time at all, you’ll feel more confident with leaving and coming back to your kids and finding out how everything went great even when you were not there.