1. Parenting

Video:How to Deal With Separation Anxiety

with Kathy Moore

Separation anxiety is unsettling for both parents and children. These simple habits can help reduce the stress of separation for everyone.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Deal With Separation Anxiety

Hi, I'm Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Separation anxiety is a challenge for nearly every mother and child. This program will offer some ideas on making separation easier and less stressful for you and your children.

Preventing Separation Anxiety

When my children were infants, I was able to leave them with a sitter or childcare provider and I was the only one who cried. Now that they are older they sometimes make a fuss if I have to leave them for work or some other engagement. This problem seems to come and go so I cannot always predict when a child will fuss about my leaving. I have come up with 5 simple tips to limit separation problems at our house.

Step 1: Calm Your Own Anxiety

First, deal with your own anxiety. Your children look to you for clues about how to behave. If you are anxious about leaving them, the feeling will be contagious. Before you go, calmly inform the child of your schedule and plans for the day, and be sure to focus on communicating when you will return and what they will be doing while you are away.

Step 2: Avoid Rushing Out

Allow for some transition time with the caregiver. For example, rather than leaving as soon as the babysitter arrives, stay and chat or participate in an activity rather than rushing off as soon at the sitter arrives.

Step 3: Commit to Your Exit

Do not prolong the good bye. When it is time to leave, wave goodbye and blow a kiss. Do not stay and try to calm a fussing child. Let the caregiver do her job. It will be easier to calm your child if you get out of the picture.

Step 4: Ease Anxiety With Familiar Routines

Have your child's caregiver create a familiar routine during your absence. Whether the routine involves singing songs or making a snack, encourage your child's caregiver to follow the same routine each time you leave so your child gains confidence in the situation.

Step 5: Have a Happy Homecoming

Commit to a happy homecoming. Set aside at least 10 minutes of undivided time with your child after you return. Even though you may want to get started preparing a meal or returning email or phone messages, put those tasks off in favor of spending uninterrupted time with your child. Use this time to find out what he did while you were away and to reinforce the concept that though you may leave, you always come back.

Separation anxiety is a normal and natural part of growing up. The good news is that most kids outgrow it and so do most moms.

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