Tears and tantrum filled goodbyes are most common in a child’s earliest of years. Typically around his or her first birthday a child starts to develop separation anxiety issues, such as, getting upset when a parent tries to leave them with someone else! Even though separation anxiety is a perfectly normal part of childhood development, it can be unsettling for the parents! Trying to understand what your little one is going through and also having some coping strategies will help alleviate those times when you do have to leave your child.
How Separation Anxiety Develops
Oh for the love of babies!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the days of being an infant teacher and being able to bond with those cuties! Something I have noticed over the years is that babies adapt very well to other people and to their caregivers! Parents probably feel more nervous about being separated than infants do! Younger infants know that you, Mom or Dad, are the ones who meet their needs. When they don’t see you because you have gone into the kitchen, to them it means you have gone away. Most won’t understand the concept of time yet so they don’t know when you will be back. Because of this your little one will do whatever it takes to prevent this from happening. Infants, after spending time with people, will adjust easily as long as all of their needs are being met. Sometime between 4-7 months, babies establish a sense of object permanence and start to learn that things and people exist even when they are out of sight. This is when the little ones LOVE to start playing the drop and pick up game-and expecting an adult to pick up anything they drop over the sides of the high chair (which, once retrieved, gets dropped again and again )
Stress Can Trigger The Anxiety
For others, certain life stressors can trigger feelings of anxiety such as a new childcare sitaution, a new sibling, moving to a new place etc…Older children understand the effect that tantrums and tears has on parents. If for example, you come running back into the room every time your child cries and then stay there longer or cancel your plans altogether, your little one will constantly use this tactic to avoid separation. Being in the infant room I totally understand how hard it is to leave your little one when they are upset! But giving the other caregiver the oppurtunity to bond and to let them cuddle and love on your little one will help develop a bond and know that they are safe and loved when getting dropped off at school!