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Fear is a natural human reaction to a potential threat coming from outside. People tend to be afraid of what can harm them: the unknown, heights, darkness, and even loneliness. Such fears play the role of a kind of buffer that protects a person from rash acts that can cause serious harm to his health and well-being.
Child’s fear of loneliness – what is it?
The fear of loneliness is one of the first fears of a person, which begins to manifest itself in a child already in the first year of life. This is what nature has decreed, having created us as social beings: communication with our own kind is a vital necessity for a child. As practice shows, babies under one year old, deprived of parental attention (for example, babies kept in the house), are significantly behind in development. Developmental delay is observed both physically and emotionally. Meanwhile, children of this age living in families do their best to be as close as possible to mom and dad, and sometimes it is extremely painful to be separated from them. As a rule, the fear of loneliness, which first manifests itself at 6 or 7 months, reaches its maximum at 10 to 18 months and gradually subsides by two years. It is at this age that the baby can be emotionally ready for a temporary separation from his mother, although it is far from easy for everyone.
But what about mothers of babies who do not want to let their mother go a single step? Are they doomed day and night to be next to their little one, not for a minute daring to leave his field of vision? Of course not. The correct behavior and patience of adults will simplify the process of parting and solve the problem of children’s fear of loneliness at any age.
Fighting fear together
Sooner or later, every mother has a need to leave the child for some time under the supervision of other people. This may be going to work, attending any courses, sections, or just a desire to spend time with friends, which – mind you – any mother also has the right. Not far off and the first trip of the baby to kindergarten is an event for which you should carefully prepare.
It will take some time to turn parting into a habitual procedure. Do not be upset if the first time everything did not go as smoothly as we would like. A few simple rules will help speed up the process.
Rule one: prepare your sled in the summer
Knowing about the upcoming separation from your beloved baby gives mommy an excellent opportunity to prepare him for this in advance. An excellent way is this exercise: the mother leaves the room from time to time, leaving the baby alone with toys and other adults. Soon she returns, letting the child know that nothing terrible has happened. For the first attempts, it is enough to go out for a few seconds, then the absence time can be gradually increased. Very quickly, the baby will stop being nervous, knowing that mom will be back soon.
Rule two: “You and I are one company…”
The child must be closely acquainted with the person who will temporarily replace his mother, and completely trust him. Before you leave the baby with a grandmother, a friend or a nanny, spend a couple of evenings all in a place so that both parties get used to each other and achieve maximum mutual understanding.
When the first stage of acquaintance is completed, you can try to leave the baby and the person acting as a nanny for a couple of hours alone. If the idea is crowned with success, then everything is going as it should. In this case, the mother can safely leave the baby for a longer time. If the baby was very upset by separation – he is not ready for it yet, give him a little more time.
Rule three: don’t get sloppy
Often, succumbing to the pessimistic mood of the little one, the mother herself is seriously upset at the moment of parting, adding fuel to the fire. Looking at a crying baby, she feels an extraordinary surge of tenderness and compassion, which is expressed in manifestations of pity or, even worse, in tears. Seeing how upset the mother is, the child panics even more, and the circle closes, threatening to turn the separation for several hours into a massive family hysteria.
Do not forget that you are a role model in the eyes of your child. Therefore, the best tactic would be to hug the baby tightly, say that you love him and return very quickly and … leave very quickly, without delaying the goodbye and without prolonging the experiences of the little man.
Set yourself up for the fact that every day the child will be more willing to let you go, gradually getting used to your absence. In addition, most often the situation is not so deplorable in the literal and figurative sense: most children calm down exactly at the moment when the mother takes a step outside the threshold and disappears from sight.
Rule Four: My home is my castle
The kid will feel much calmer and more confident in the absence of his mother in the walls of his house, where he is surrounded by familiar objects and favorite toys. If it is not possible to invite a nanny to the house, we return to the second rule: we introduce the baby not only to the person who will look after him, but also to the territory where both will be all this time.
If you leave the baby in a strange, albeit familiar, house, do not rush to leave immediately. Give him at least 15 or 20 minutes to settle in here in your presence.
Typical mistakes moms make when parting
Often, parents, being at a loss at the moment of parting with a child, make many annoying mistakes. Without knowing it, they exacerbate the situation with their behavior. Consider some of the most common stupid things that parents do when saying goodbye to their baby.
Strict handling of the child
Undoubtedly, in certain cases, strictness bears fruit in raising a child. And it’s especially good when it’s appropriate. At the moment of saying goodbye to the mother, the child is under the influence of stress, and a strict reprimand for “wrong” (read – uncomfortable) behavior is the last thing that can correct the situation. In dealing with a child in this situation, it is completely unacceptable:
- reproach for weakness, cowardice, lack of courage, etc.;
- threaten not to return at all if the child does not calm down this very minute;
- punish verbally or physically.
It is at this moment that the baby needs parental support more than ever, and his trust in the future largely depends on how adults behave now. Therefore, hide your irritation in the most secluded corner of your soul and do not forget to remind yourself that such a child’s reaction to parting is a normal manifestation of his affection.
Return to comfort
It often happens that a mother, worried about the baby, does not dare to finally leave. She hugs and persuades the child for a long time, gives the nanny the last instructions, promises mountains of gold to the baby. Finally deciding to leave the house, she immediately returns, hearing a loud roar behind her.
In doing so, you make at least two colossal mistakes:
- prolong the suffering of your crumbs, who, most likely, after 10 minutes will stop noticing your absence, carried away by toys;
- give the baby a false hope that the mother will not go anywhere.
The farewell should be optimistic and short, without excessive manifestations of emotions – this is the only way you can convey your calmness and positive attitude to the child.
Some parents believe that sneaking away from a child means saving him unnecessary worries about parting. This is a deeply erroneous opinion. Never leave your baby without warning him about it. Such experiments threaten with great stress for the child, who may decide that his parents have abandoned him altogether. In any case, such an act will definitely not benefit your relationship with your son or daughter.
Nighttime parting: how to make the night calm?
As always, the calm and friendly behavior of the mother will help relieve the child’s anxiety before parting for the night. An excellent pastime before going to bed will be reading familiar fairy tales while lying in bed, singing softly (preferably lullabies), calmly stroking the back of the baby.
If the baby is afraid to part with you before bedtime, perhaps you should meet him halfway and stay with him until the moment when he falls asleep.
Insurmountable difficulties and how to overcome them
In parental practice, there are cases when no, even the most proven methods bring results: the baby cries bitterly every day, not wanting to stay with the nanny or chokes with tears, seeing the gates of the kindergarten from afar.
It should be noted that normally this behavior can last more than a week, and this is not a cause for concern – the adaptation period is often delayed. If even the slightest progress is not observed within a few weeks, this is a serious reason to think about changing a nanny or a group in a kindergarten.
To make the right decision, listen to what your loving parental heart tells you. It often gives great advice.