It is 8am and you put on your shoes to leave for work; you grab your coat to go out to dinner; you zipper your suitcase to catch a flight for a work conference; or you simply get up from the couch to go the bathroom. Your child becomes hysterical. Crying, screaming, clinging to your leg. Begging you not to leave.
Most parents have experienced this scenario in some form. You need to leave your child with a caregiver (or another parent), but you can't help feeling sad and guilty leaving your child in hysterics. Maybe you even feel a little embarrassed in front of the sitter or another family member. This situation is stressful and upsetting for parents.
Below are some tips and other useful information to help parents ease the problem of the dreaded goodbye meltdown.
The Behavior is Normal
As sad as you may feel watching your child cry, it is important to remember that your child's behavior is normal. Separation anxiety starts as early as 8 months. It is at this time that young children can understand that parents are separate individuals and can leave. However young children cannot yet grasp the concept that a parent will return. It is your job to help them understand that parents come back.
Introduce Other Caregivers
The first step to easing separation in children is introducing other caregivers. By the time your child is 6 months, parents should introduce other caregivers so the child can practice being without the parent. Another caregiver will act and speak differently than the parent. Being around other caregivers will minimize separation anxiety when the child goes to school or other times when the parent is not around.
Read the rest of this article at Verywell.