By the time your baby is eight months you may notice that he/she is like a character straight out of the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One moment they are affectionate, outgoing and full of smiles, and the next moment, they are Terry terrible in the way of being anxious, clingy, cranky and easily scared when around things and people that are unfamiliar or new.
Don’t be dismayed. This definitely does not mean that your kid will develop multiple personalities. It’s just that they have developed a skill that enables them to distinguish familiar from unfamiliar situations.
Anxiety around strangers is a normal milestone for babies around this age and should never be a cause for worry. While they do become a little too clingy when you leave them or when someone they are not familiar with approaches them, there are ways you can help them cope and eventually stop separation anxiety.
The 5 Powerful Tips To help Your Child With Separation Anxiety:
First tip: Don’t leave your baby who’s not yet napped or who’s hungry. A baby is more vulnerable to separation anxiety when they are hungry and tired. If you plan to go out, be sure they’ve taken their nap and are full.
Second tip: Play peek-a-boo with your kid to teach her about object permanence. This means that when Mommy or Daddy go away, they’re not gone and will still come back. Do a variation of this game by playing peek-a-boo with her toys. Try hiding her Baby Einstein Puppet under a pillow or behind the couch and surprise your kid by making it reappear with a cheery shout of peek-a-boo! This will teach your kid that objects still exist even if they are out of our sight and that when Mommy or Daddy goes out, there’s nothing for them to be scared about because they’ll return.
Third tip: Practice short sessions of separation at home. For example, leave your baby alone in a child-proof room with a couple of safe toys for a few minutes. If they cry , don’t hastily come back to comfort them. Let them comfort themselves for a while and then come back when they’ve calmed down. If you immediately rush to their side at their first cry, they will get the idea that it is the way to call on you. When they see that being alone is not so bad after all, they will be able to cope with separation anxiety much more easily.
Fourth tip: When you leave, don’t try to escape through the back door. Be honest with your child with separation anxiety by telling them that you’ll be gone for a few hours and say goodbye. Always reassure your kid that you’ll be back by showering her with lots of hugs and kisses. If you constantly disappear suddenly, this will only do more harm than good and cause more anxiety on them. However, if they learn to trust and be confident that you’ll be back, they won’t have a hard time with you leaving.
Fifth tip: Protect her from strangers. If your kid is anxious about a stranger pinching her cheek, admiring how cute she is, thank the person for the compliment but also politely tell her that your kid is uncomfortable around strangers.
Even though a child’s world may seem so carefree with no problems and only play, a kid also goes through some hard times. Because they’re helpless and only depend on their parents, they have this fear of losing that comfortable shoulder to rely on. That’s why it is important that you help your kid overcome separation anxiety.
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