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Well, once again I am writing about something I have basically no experience with. Separation anxiety. In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg discusses separation anxiety. I thought I would list some of her ideas here since many times moms come looking for advice on the topic, and I don’t really have much to offer.
I don’t know the percentage of Babywise babies that have obvious separation anxiety that interferes with living life normally for mom and baby. My guess is that a routine will help prevent it, or at least minimalize it. Tracy Hogg seems to think so also, discusses how attachment parenting can lead to insecurity in the child. However, I do know that some Babywise children do have separation anxiety.
Hogg states that between seven and nine months old, children experience normal separation anxiety. The child has an improved memory but her brain is not mature enough to know that when mom leaves, she will return. Hogg states that handled correctly, separation anxiety goes away within a month or two (page 80).
Signs of Separation AnxietyFor those with extreme separation anxiety, you have no question if it is separation anxiety. You know it. If your baby is whining when you leave the room or having problems with naps or nighttime sleep, she might be starting separation anxiety. The parent can affect how long and how intense it is.
Factors That Prolong Separation Anxiety (pages 80-81)
- Overattentive parents
- Hovering parents
- Not allowing baby to become frustrated
- Baby doesn’t know how to soothe himself
- Baby doesn’t know how to play independently
- Parents respond too quickly to cries. They are fretful in reassuring baby, thus reinforcing fears
Strategies That Improve (or Shorten) Separation Anxiety (page 83)
- Comfort child with hugs and words, but not picking him up
- Respond to cries in a relaxed and upbeat manner. This means that you go back to your child with a smile on your face, not a look of concern.
- Don’t mirror his panic
- Once baby is calm (or more calm), distract him
- Play peek-a-boo to help teach him about object permanence. I have read to do this with you and also with other objects. You can put a favorite toy under a blanket and ask, “Where is the toy?” then lift the blanket and say “there it is!”
- Give your child time without you. You can leave him with a sitter or with your spouse
- Have your child wave to you as you leave. He might not be happy, but wave and be happy yourself.
My Added Tips
- Have other people care for baby. Don’t have just one parent change every diaper and feed every bite of food. Start this at a young age–but it is never too late to start.
- Establish independent playtime. This will teach your child to be happy alone. Again, it is good to start this young, but it is never too late. If baby starts to have a hard time with this, cut it back to 5 minutes, or more if baby can handle more. Once the separation anxiety is over, you can work on building the time length out again.
Please share your tips and experiences with separation anxiety. Even if it is just to say, “It lasted two months then went away…” it is helpful for moms to see other kids go through it too.
RELATED POSTS/BLOG LABELS
- Benefits of Independent Play
- Independent Playtime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/independent-playtime.html
- Independent Playtime Lengths
- Resistance to Independent Playtime
- Word to the Weary: Independent Play: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/word-to-weary-independent-play.html
- Non-BW Tips and Tricks: Teamwork: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/non-bw-tips-and-tricks-teamwork.html
- separation anxiety (blog label)
- independent playtime (blog label)
- baby whisperer (blog label)