It will be your first time to be away from home and your baby. How to make the experience less stressful to your child? PSST.Ph prepares nine strategies to make the separation less nerve-wracking to your kid, and worst be a traumatic experience.
Though at a tender age, a toddler understands things if properly and repeatedly explained to him. It is prudent to inform him that you will be away for a couple of days. Better prepare him than leave the kid totally clueless. He may not fully grasp the idea but your reassuring and caring voice would somehow leave him confident that you will return.
Say real good bye
Most parents would prefer to leave when their toddlers are asleep. Others would even distract a kid, but the poor child would notice his mommy is not there anymore and he would start crying. The kid cries not because you left him but because of deception. It is prudent then to say your real, quick yet sweet good bye. The more you linger, the transition time does as well and so will the anxiety.
Familiarity saves the day and night
It would be wise to leave the child to familiar faces – his siblings or caregiver – to make it not hard for him to adjust. Have his favorite toys, books, and even pillow and blanket near him.
Leave a reminder of you
Leaving something that belongs to you like an unwashed shirt or your pillow. It is true that a child knows the scent of his mother. Leaving something that reminds you would help the toddler deal with his separation anxiety. It is also wise to keep his daily routine the same, especially if it involves his parents. A routine lessens the heartache.
Stay in touch
Phone calls, video calls, and even chat messages are beautiful ways to reassure a child that he is loved and remembered. Keep those calls brief though to not stress the kid and make him realize he misses you that much. When the toddler starts to cry, bid goodbye and ask his guardian to bring him somewhere for a change of ambiance.
Reassure your child that it is okay to miss you. When he does, he may hug his siblings instead. Or he may just hug your pillow or your unwashed shirt. He must be aware that such feeling is possible yet acceptable. He should also realize he needs not to cry if that happens. That is the purpose of those personal knick knacks of yours and of the routine – to calm the child should he misses you.
Be truthful and specific
Discussing your return would surely calm your child. Be specific then when you describe your return. Use the concept of time which the toddler understands. An example would be “I will return after three sleeps” instead of “I will be back in three days.” That way, the youngster would know that his parent will return after spending three periods of sleep in his bed.
Have a countdown
You can also be a little playful and as you bid farewell, leave gifts for your toddler as well. Each night for the three days that you will be gone, he will open each present. The idea is for your little one to look forward to your return and also look forward to opening the gifts you left for him.
Keep your promise
A child trusts his parents more than anybody else. Do not break that trust by saying your absence will only be brief when in fact it would be days. Be truthful. Also, keep your promise. If you commit for a brand new guitar, please be home with the guitar on hand. Because once you fail him, it would be difficult to start the process again especially if you will be leaving again for the second time.
Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety
Though only for a short time, a parent’s absence is still something unbearable for some toddlers. PSST.Ph hopes that with these strategies, the transition of leaving a child until he makes use of it be easier and faster.