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Baby Development Care to Teach Independence
Separation anxiety is a normal part of child development.
About the time your child can start spending part of his days
with other children and caregivers, he will realize that he
only really feels safe with you.
The causes of
separation anxiety haven't been definitely established, but
there are ways to handle the situation that can minimize stress
and pain for everyone. Some children are quite happy crawling
across the floor as long as they can turn and see Mommy on the
other side of the room; others cling, cry and won't leave their
parent's side. Children who start their infancy with multiple
caregivers and lots of family around, who are used to being
passed from adoring cousin to aunt, tend to be more comfortable
adapting to new situations where they can derive comfort from
someone other than a parent. Children who are especially
sheltered, only children with parents who aren't highly sociable
may have more trouble getting used to other caregivers.
Since this is also about the time (two years after giving
birth) that Mommy would really like to get a sitter, go to
dinner with another grown-up and watch a movie that doesn't
involve the Care Bears, separation anxiety can cause
problems at home. Every year, millions of parents walk down
the driveway with lowered heads as a small child wails at
the window, shaking off the loving hands of a well-paid
babysitter and crying like he's never going to stop. It's
tough on the kid (although most children stop crying within
five minutes of the parents leave-taking) and it's hell on
parents, who have plenty to feel guilty about already.
Paradoxically, children who also don't mind being alone also
have fewer problems with separation anxiety. When parents let
their babies hang out in the crib or cradle on their own, babies
learn the important art of self-soothing. Instead of crying and
expecting someone to come running to entertain them,
self-soothers (as long as they're not hungry, wet or teething)
can be alone without being frightened or angry. You can hear
babies who self-soothe talking, singing, cooing and generally
amusing themselves when they're left alone in their rooms or
cribs. These children establish an early measure of independence
in playing along that keeps them from being utterly reliant on
the presence of their parents.
Some children experience separation anxiety because their
parents want their children to cry and miss them; parents' own
insecurity can create separation anxiety! To minimize separation
anxiety in your child, read these five steps and follow them to
1. Socialize your baby early with plenty of play dates, Gymboree
or Mommy and Me. If you hate baby-related activities, take her
out to lunch with other people once in awhile.
2. Encourage your baby to allow herself to be held and
interacted with by family, friends and neighbors.
3. Make a baby-safe room and let your child practice crawling or
toddling away from you and then back again. Send the message
that you'll always be around, even if you aren't immediately to
4. Don't let your own anxiety affect your baby's growing need
5. Both parents should put the baby down for naps, feed her and
change her. The more family resources she has, the more secure
she will feel,
Continue reading more baby tips about
Swaddling a Fussy Baby
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