Could you go away

Why does my child have separation anxiety?

Most parents notice the change in their baby around the 8th month of life: The child is suddenly very clingy and does not want to be alone. In this phase your child has separation anxiety, it is said: The baby is strangers or has eight-month anxiety. But toddlers too often struggle with separation anxiety. Here you can find out why your child suffers from separation anxiety and how you can deal with it.

Why do children have separation anxiety?

This fear is greatest between the 8th and 18th month. Babies around the eighth month of life (hence eight-month fear) go through a major developmental step: They learn that they are independent beings. Before this stage of development, they assume that they are part of the mother. With the realization that they are individuals and independent persons, comes the fear that you may go away. Maybe forever. In this phase separation anxiety arises, colloquially as well strangercalled.

How does your child show separation anxiety?

Many babies become very clingy during separation anxiety. They are very insecure and show great fear when you move away or when strangers approach them. Even if you leave the room for a moment, your child will likely cry and scream to protest loudly. It turns away from strangers and is perhaps less open-minded than before. Problems can also arise when sleeping. If your baby has slept well so far, he or she may start crying as soon as you step towards the door.

Separation anxiety is important to your child

Even if on the one hand it is a nice feeling that the baby does not want to leave your side: It can also be quite exhausting if you cannot shower for ten minutes without your child panicking. The best thing to do here is to keep making it clear to yourself that it's just a phase that will pass again.In addition, the foreign phase is absolutely necessary for the development of your child. Your baby learns that it is an independent personality and builds a secure bond with you. Because it learns that you don't leave it alone, but keep coming back to it. It decides for itself which people it accepts and which it does not. If your child rejects grandma, grandpa or even dad during the stranger phase, this is usually only temporary - the people concerned must not take the rejection personally under any circumstances.

This is how you can help your child with separation anxiety

Even if you find it difficult: You should never just sneak away when your baby is distracted. When they then notice that you are suddenly just gone, they panic and their fear is confirmed. This will prevent your child from getting rid of their separation anxiety.

The following tips can help you to get through the foreign phase better:

  • If your child needs you and calls for you, you should come to him without hesitation, even at night. This gives him the necessary security to overcome his fear and he can learn to let go.
  • If you go away, even if it's only briefly, a set ritual will help. Go to eye level with your child and explain that you will go away for a moment, but will come back shortly. Even if your child is crying, you should be consistent and really leave the room. This is the only way you can learn to deal with separation anxiety together. When you come back, you can say, for example: "Mom is back." It is important that you are reliable.
  • If you are in another room, hearing your voices can help your child. You can sing a song or tell a short story. That gives security and trust.
  • In this phase, a cuddly toy is very important for comfort. If your child doesn't have a steady cuddle friend yet, now is the right time.

Separation anxiety after the second birthday?

When babies become strangers, they go through a process of detachment. But even with older children who have already passed this phase, separation anxiety can occur again and again. Possible situations are, for example, starting kindergarten, entering school or the first class trip. All of this is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Even in such situations it is important to talk to the child, have a little farewell ritual and build trust. Avoid sentences like "Do you have to cry again?" and instead meet your child with understanding and love. Then the goodbye will be less bad for you both and the reunion all the more beautiful.

Your child has very fine antennae and can feel when you have a bad feeling yourself, for example when you say goodbye to kindergarten. Here you should try not to drag out the farewell, because that will only make it harder for your child. Make sure that your child has fun and is comfortable in the hours leading up to your return. When you pick it up, ask the teacher how long it took for your child to calm down again. In most cases this happens pretty quickly :-)

What experiences have you had with your child with separation anxiety? We look forward to your comment!

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