Does Your Child Experience Separation Anxiety?
Many parents have to make the painful decision to put their children in daycare even as young as six months old. A change in the environment and surroundings may cause a child to develop separation anxiety and other psychological complications.
Children want to be with their parents, and unfortunately, most households need two incomes to pay basic bills. In fact, among married-couple families with children, 97.5 percent had at least one employed parent in 2019, and 64.2 percent had both parents employed. 1 Millennials believe that both parents should make a significant contribution to the household income, that mothers and fathers should share equally in daily household activities, and that a mom who works outside the home sets a positive example for their children.2 Children as young as six months old are sent to daycare, as per the Maternity Bill (which has recently increased the duration of paid maternity leave up to 26 weeks).3
Many children under five years old receive childcare from someone other than a parent. Almost one-quarter (23.4 percent) of children under the age of five are in organized childcare arrangements, including daycare centers, nurseries, and preschools. 4
Knowing that your child may develop separation anxiety simply because you need to work is something all parents should understand.
5 Steps To Alleviate Separation Anxiety
Develop A Routine - Start your day the same every morning, so your child knows what to expect next. Here is an example: a short cuddle with them when they wake up, make breakfast, sing a song in the car, get your child settled in daycare and then say a quick goodbye.
Set A Positive Tone For Separating - When creating your daily routine, make it positive by smiling, speaking to your child in a happy tone and perhaps sing in the car to set a happy and positive expectation.
Distract Your Child - When you are about to separate from your child, distract them by giving them their favorite toy or ask the caregiver to hold the child to take the focus off of you and then try to leave quickly.
Put A Plan In Place With Your Child's Care Giver - Let your child's caregiver know your concerns about separation anxiety and see what they can do to help. They may already have a plan in place that they use with other children.
- Give Your Child A Security Blanket or Lovey - Science shows that security blankets can help children with separation anxiety. Blankies and loveys are a tool to boost your child's self-confidence level. Why? Blankies and loveys can be a sense of security for children; they can be a way to help them leave their parent or caregiver for the day and to work through the tears of an emotional moment. With the blanket or lovey in tow, they are less shy and more focused than children who do not have security blankets or loveys. Blankies and loveys can help children make connections outside of their parents and help navigate separation for a child. According to Psychology Today5, security objects are "rooted in sensorial elements that lessen the stress of separation, while they soothe and comfort the child." Each aspect of the item from how it smells, to feeling the worn spots, to the faded color is part of the unique relationship between the security object and the child. Blankies and loveys foster independence and security, ease anxiety in new situations, help children transition to different life stages, Create self-worth and awareness, and invite emotional well-being.