Separation anxiety refers to the feeling of uncertainty and fear that stem from the idea of being separated from one’s loved ones, home, or something they are passionate about and emotionally invested in. While it is possible for anyone to experience separation anxiety, it is most common in infants.
Infants have to actually go through separation anxiety as a normal and healthy part of growing older. While they are initially hesitant when they cannot find their parents around them, they eventually get used to being by themselves.
While kids learn how to accept and cope with separation, parents and caretakers have to figure out how to deal with their emotions, and this guide will tell you how to do just that.
1. Understand their emotions and address them
Children look up to parents and caretakers as the only people they can rely on- they depend on them for everything. In a completely helpless world where they do not know how to care for themselves, children are likely to be scared of not seeing the familiar trusted faces around them.
Separation is stressful for them, and hence it should be addressed and acknowledged. Parents and caretakers should interact with children to tell them that they will be leaving them, and that it might scare them but nothing is going to happen.
2. Make them comfortable in their environment before leaving
Kids must know who they are being left with and should be introduced to their caretakers by their parents before separation takes place. Seeing the parent interact with this person whom they do not know very well makes children think they are also reliable.
It is imperative to leave children with friendly looking faces, and with those who are genuinely kind and sweet so that children learn the positive experience of interacting with others. They should be left with ample activities, games, and other choices to keep them occupied while away from the parent.
3. Leave swiftly and smoothly
Setting boundaries can help a child grow out of separation anxiety sooner as they begin to understand that their parents will keep their word and leave, and then also be back. It is important to tell children honestly about how long they are going to be away and assure them that it is going to be brief.
Once that is done, parents should leave swiftly without prolonging the separation process which might be just as anxiety inducing for parents as it is for children.
4. Reassure them while away
To make sure kids are comfortable and content, parents should call them on the phone or maybe over a video call to see them and remind them that they are not forgotten but loved thoroughly. It is also important to ask them how they are feeling as this helps them remember that parents still care about them immensely while away.
5. Praise and appreciate them for their behavior
When reuniting with kids, they should be told how well they behaved and dealt with their separation. While hugs and kisses are great, open verbal appreciation for their bravado is also crucial for them.
While intended for toddlers, these tips apply to adults also and can be tailored to meet the needs of any individual to make them feel safe and comfortable. It is crucial to be patient and kind to anyone with such separation anxiety; they are anyway dealing with much and the best way to aid their feelings is to validate and understand them.