Infant Insights! February 2014

Infant Insights

Coping with Separation

As a parent it can be very hard to leave your child with another person.  This becomes more difficult if your baby is experiencing separation anxiety. Separation anxiety usually occurs between 9 and 12 months.  The intensity and length varies from child to child.

Although it is a very normal stage that a majority of children go through it can be very traumatic for you as a parent.  Even if your baby has been attending the same center for months it is not uncommon for them to suddenly become clingy at drop off.  It is an important part of a baby’s development and is happening because your child is realizing the concept of object permanence.

There are ways that you can make this difficult period easier on your baby.  Make departures as short as possible.  Start a routine that is consistent each morning such as sitting them down in a center, giving them a kiss, saying goodbye, and then leaving for work.  Do not sneak out because that approach tends to make separation anxiety more intense and occur for longer periods of time. Also make sure that you keep your emotions in check when you are leaving your baby because they can feel it if you are nervous.  Keep in mind that this is only a stage that will pass in time.  You and your infant will get through it even though it won’t feel like it at the time.