Babies under six months old get by just fine without mom and dad for a night or two, but by seven or eight months, they have learned object permanence. Object permanence is the concept that things and people exist even when they are out of our sight. Baby knows you’re somewhere, so he feels stressed because you aren’t with him. If your baby fusses and struggles when you leave, here are some tips on dealing with his separation anxiety.
1. Create a good-bye ritual.
Create a simple ritual that you perform every time you leave for the day. Make it something memorable. You could sing a short rhyme, give hugs and kisses, and then leave. Do not return. If you return because you see or hear your child crying, you’ll just make it harder in the long run.
2. Practice leaving.
Games like peek-a-boo help and “Where’s Mommy?’ give your child some separation practice. Practice leaving for short periods of time by going into the other room while another caregiver watches baby. Perform your good-bye ritual and step into your bedroom for a few moments.
3. Socialize with the sitter.
Ideally, your regular daycare provider would be someone you interact with often, like a grandparent or close friend. You want baby to be close with this person so he doesn’t feel alone when you leave. If you’ll be putting your child in daycare, opt to spend a few hours at the facility with baby so he spends time with the care providers.
4. Provide a consistent pattern.
Kids thrive on predictability. If you usually drop your child off to daycare in the morning, continue this routine even on days where you don’t work as early.
5. Offer a sense of control.
Ask your child if he wants to play with the blocks or the coloring books when he gets to daycare. It doesn’t matter what he answers, but by choosing something, he has gained an element of control over his day and won’t feel powerless.
6. Keep calm yourself.
If your child sees you struggling with the separation, he isn’t going to handle it well himself. Keep your emotions in check and stay positive.
7. Meet all of your child’s needs before leaving.
Separations are harder when your child is hungry, sick, tired or needs a change. Solve all of these problems beforehand and leave when your baby is usually happy and alert (typically mornings).
8. Send some favorite items.
If the separation is taking place outside the home, pack along some favorite items that make baby comfortable.
Guest Blog by Julie Tabor Thompson, Founder & President of Bounce Innovations, Inventor of PullyPalz
As a mother of two, Julie found she was continuously retrieving dropped pacifiers, because even though they spit them out, they still want them immediately! She called it "the pacifier game," and, at times, it was difficult to play. One day, she thought, 'I wish somebody would invent a ...' A what? What could make it so babies can keep up with their pacifiers? Clips help parents keep up with pacifiers, but they don't help the baby. Babies don't understand when it's behind their shoulder or around their side. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. She started by making the first prototype in her kitchen (which included melting molding plastic, an instruction manual for her sewing machine, and YouTube videos). Several designs later, the PullyPalz were born... The first ever pacifier toy that - with the help of baby's interaction - keeps pacis coming back!
Her goal is to offer unique products that make life and parenthood just a little easier, and ultimately more enjoyable. Compatible products (teethers and toys) will be coming to market soon. Julie also offers product development and consultation services for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
For more information, visit www.pullypalz.com.
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