Tips for Parents to Help with Separation Anxiety
Updated: Apr 26
As any parent knows, there are times when your infant or child cries uncontrollably and throws temper tantrums when they are separated from you. This is very normal for children to experience, and it usually happens anywhere from 10 to 18 months of age. Separation anxiety usually fades by the time the child is three. However, in children with developmental disabilities, separation anxiety can last for much longer and be more severe.
Inland Respite in Southern California offers respite care for children and adults with developmental disorders. Our mission is to help parents, family, and other caregivers get the break they need from the daily care requirements. Our compassionate in-home caregivers undergo a rigorous screening process that entails a criminal background screening, as well as an evaluation of their experience as a companion caregiver. We have a heart to help you on your journey to raise your child, so give us a call when you need us. Below, we'll offer up tips for parents to help with separation anxiety. Contact us today!
TIPS FOR PARENTS TO HELP WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY
Begin with Small Time Frames
Separation anxiety is an emotional attachment to someone, so when they are not around, the child becomes anxious and fearful. One of the best ways to begin to help with separation anxiety is to leave your child for small periods of time. Begin with maybe a minute, then increase to five minutes and so on until your child is able to go for longer periods of time. This gradually teaches your child that they will be okay when you are away, that nothing will happen to them, and that you will return.
Use Positive Words
Children are much more intuitive than we give them credit for. When you say things such as, "Your mother left," children interpret this as you are never coming back. Children with developmental disabilities and separation anxiety do much better with positive language and definitive reference to time. By saying, "I'll be back as soon as school is over," you are giving your child reassurance that you will return for them.
Have a Comfort Item
Many small children naturally develop a comfort item as a small child. They often use this to soothe themselves when you are away. Items such as a teddy bear, a favorite dinosaur, or a blanket are soft and cuddly and are portable, so your child can take them everywhere. This constancy is what reassures them. Similarly, you can give your child a comfort item for when you are away. Items that are small are best, such as a bracelet that they can wear or a small toy that is not too noticeable.
There are many systematic ways to help your child slowly let go of separation anxiety. Therapies such as ABA therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, and play therapy are all great ways to help your child with developmental disabilities learn how to be by themselves. These therapies work by addressing the behaviors and the thoughts behind the behaviors and working to change those in order to relieve separation anxiety. Inland Respite recommends finding a good therapist who can recommend the best course of action for your child with developmental disabilities. There are many wonderful therapists in Southern California to help.
Make Good-Byes Easy
Oftentimes, parents can inadvertently send the wrong signals to their child. In the case of separation anxiety, parents can make a big fuss over the entire ordeal to the point that the child picks up on that fuss and then acts out accordingly. When you are leaving your child, be as nonchalant as possible. Make it quick and to the point; a quick hug or kiss and a good-bye is all you need to say and do and then walk away. You can let your child walk away from you first, too, which then gives the impression that they are making the decision to separate. Try to keep your emotions in check, and stick to your guns.
CHOOSE INLAND RESPITE FOR ALL YOUR IN-HOME RESPITE CARE TODAY
Inland Respite is proud to partner with parents in order to give them the time they need to accomplish tasks or to just take a break away from their children with developmental disabilities. We are happy to partner with you in your quest to help your child with separation anxiety. In fact, companion care is a great way for parents to sneak away for a couple of hours and practice being away from their child. Plus, our companion caregivers will be there to help keep your child busy while you are away. We are dedicated to helping you with many non-medical services, such as daily care and daily living needs.
If you are interested in partnering with our companion caregivers in Southern California, then give us a call today!