Do you think my daughter has separation anxiety?

Alicia - posted on 07/08/2011 ( 70 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 10 months old now and I am a stay at home mother (although our friends and their 3 little ones are staying with us because they hit a rough spot financially. Their our Godchildren and all like family). My issue is that my daughter freaks out and screams and cries anytime I have to leave her sight for even a minute. It feels so much like she has separation anxiety to me but I am not sure if that is what it is and if so, what can I do to help her get over this? It makes it tough for me to get all of the housework done. Any advice would be great. Thanks!

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Neva - posted on 07/08/2011

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As frustrating as this is for you when you need to get things done, the fact is that separation anxiety at this age means that your daughter is right on target developmentally. It is also a good indication that she has bonded with you and that too is a good thing. Children that don't bond have a much harder time with all kinds of relationships as they get older. She is going to freak out when you leave the room, but sometimes you just have to. It is okay if she cries, she will most likely eventually start playing with the other kids or become involved with something else, and then start crying again when she sees you. This is all normal. Its okay to leave the room when you have to and let her cry for a while. Don't rush back to her as soon as she starts crying, though, because that will be reinforcement for the behavior. When you do come back, pick her up and hug her, then let her play again. The repeated leaving, and then seeing that you come back will eventually make her see that she is okay without you in the room. Yes, it does take patience and time. Separation anxiety usually peaks sometime after the first year and then gradually gets better. Some children may still be clingy at times through toddlerhood, depending on their personality, if they are shy, outgoing, etc. Like all stages, this too will pass, just don't react immediately to the crying which will prolong the stage.

Dr. Karen - posted on 07/10/2011

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Certainly she is feeling anxious about being separated from you, not to worry, what a normal part of her developmental stage! It is not something to be alarmed about in the "clinical sense" of "separation anxiety disorder". Rather look at it this way: it is normal to feel anxious when 'a-part' from mommy, as she is still in the learning stage of development that leads a child to wonder: "will mommy return to me" and "I want my mommy right now and all the time". Her reaction in behavior shows those words. Babies are on a journey of attachment and detachment. Therefore, your baby is in the process of developing her style of attachment. In addition she is learning about her relationship with you every day (e.g., what she can expect from you, where she stands in her relationship with you, her position in the household with all the people there). Her reaction is the only way she knows to get you to fulfill her needs. What a smart baby huh, she has learned that if she "freaks out" as you said that you will stop whatever you are doing and come to her (and in my clinical opinion, you are doing the right thing by stopping what you are doing and going to her, even though it is exhausting).

It is my belief that babies should learn that mommy is there for them as it makes them feel special and that their "voice" is being heard. (I actually used the example of infants crying for a parent as an example in the parenting book that I published where I discuss the importance of "hearing one's child's voice". I recognize it is a controversial belief as some believe not to attend to their baby every time, I believe a parent should). Certainly if you are not already, with your body (e.g., hugs) and your actual words/what you say to your baby, and tone - do reassure her which is what she wants, and deserves.

If she does not "freak out" she learns that you will be busy doing something else, whether it is cleaning, or communicating to one of the other members in your house etc. Which of course, as a mom myself, I do understand, as all moms do, that we all sometimes do need to take care of other responsibilities too. As a family therapist providing counseling for 18 years specializing in the relationship dynamics between parent and child, parenting issues and marriage issues, I will share with you that she is speaking the only way she knows how to in an effort to express to you that she needs you right now and is longing for your connection. Her desire and longing for connection to you and with you and not to be separated from you in and of it self is a VERY normal part of and stage of her development. The fact that her reaction you may feel is severe, the hope is that over time she will feel more at peace and the intensity of her attachment in behavior will decrease. Remember, babies are developing their style of attachment with each experience they have with their parents. It is those experiences and how as a parent you respond to your child is what informs that style of child-parent attachment.

With your patience, nourishment, support, and reassurance in your interaction with her when she longs for you during her freak outs, as well as when she is not freaking out, spending time with her where she feels like she is truly number one in the house to you, and that she feels like she is the most special and important person in the world to you is important for your child. Whether it be when you give her a bath, change her diaper, read to her with her on your lap, spend hug time with her, play time with her, the goal is for her to feel nourished that you value and relish parenthood with her. The assumption and hopes shall be that she will indeed learn that you are there for her and that she is indeed number one (some babies do struggle and react with more intensity than other babies and their reactive responses are not all exactly the same). As nature and nurture impact a child, of course if it continues to be a struggle for you and you are concerned, do not hesitate to contact your support network to discuss further (e.g., friends, family, family doctor, health care practitioner, etc.).

If you wish to read any of my articles on parenting please do not hesitate to check out my website as I have lots of free informative articles as well as radio and TV interviews on varied parenting topics, as I sincerely value helping others.

Best of wishes to you, and to any mom that is struggling with this. I hope my thoughts are helpful.

Warmly,
Dr. Karen Ruskin, PsyD, LMFT
http://www.drkarenruskin.com

Luayn - posted on 07/09/2011

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When my daughter went through this I wore her in a baby carrier to do housework. Ergo has some great ones...for up tp 35 pounds.

Mary - posted on 07/19/2011

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Remember to understand what is going on with your child, look at the total picture. What is going on in the environment? What has happened in your life recently? Children are very sensitive to change in their environment and the dynamics of people interactions. They are like a little monitor of what is happening in their lives. Is your time with your child been changed since you have more people join your family? A child is sensitive to changes in their relationships and their schedule. At 10 months, her development may not adapt well to these changes that have happened and she does need to know that you are nearby. She may need that for awhile and you may have to allow her to adjust before you can separate from her. Although children are resilient and can bounce back, they still have to go through the process and know that they will be ok, you will be ok and that you both are safe.

Alisha - posted on 07/18/2011

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You just need to ignore her when she screams because you left the room. Yes it is separation anxiety and this is a good sign! It means she trusts you and has a special bond with you. She will get over it soon.

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Candi - posted on 07/25/2011

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Whether you’re going on a date night with your spouse or you’re returning to work after staying home with your little one for some period of time, you may find your child is crying and acting unwilling to let you go. How do you help your child through this separation anxiety?

1. Choose a babysitter that your child knows and is comfortable with. For example, you may want to have your child be present during babysitter interviews. You can observe how the babysitter candidates interact with your child and an initial connection can develop before your child is alone with the babysitter. If your child is old enough, your child may actively participate in the selection of his new babysitter.

2. Choose a babysitter that will be an enduring presence in your child’s life. Your child will likely develop a bond with his babysitter, and if the same person babysits him year after year, a sense of security and comfort will develop.

3. Choose to keep your child in a familiar environment. Rather than taking him to the home of a babysitter he just met, consider having the babysitter come to your home. For your child, and for most of humanity, there is comfort in familiarity.

4. Choose your departure times wisely. If he is hungry or needing a nap, or if he is experiencing stress or restlessness for any reason, he will be more prone to separation anxiety than if you departed after nap and snack time, for example.

5. Develop a consistent routine that your child can rely on. For example: your babysitter arrives; you hug and kiss your little one; tell him where you will be, when you will be back, and that you love him and look forward to seeing him when you return home; you provide relevant information to your babysitter; and then you depart. (No sneaking out when your child is not looking.) If your child comes to know that this is the routine, a sense of security develops. (Note: if you deviate from your routine, his confidence may be shaken. You can minimize this to some degree by explaining to him what the deviation is and why it exists. For example, if you are running late in returning home, you can call home, speaking with both the babysitter and your child, to let them both know of the revised return time and the reason for it.)

6. Be empathetic but firm. As you prepare your child for each babysitter visit that may generate separation anxiety, acknowledge how difficult it is for him and remind him how brave/strong/independent he is. Remind him of other things he has done which fit the descriptive(s) you have used. Draw a parallel between his situation and how he thinks his hero (a fictional or real character that he esteems) would handle the situation. Do not make fun of or punish him for his feelings. Also, do not attempt to bribe him out of his feelings.

7. Stay away in progressively longer periods of time. It is recommended that you begin using a babysitter before your child is six months old. When you first use a babysitter, plan a brief outing. Go out for dinner with your spouse and return within two hours. As your child adapts to being babysat, you can increase the amount of time you spend away. So, where you may use a babysitter for date nights virtually from the time he was a few months old, you may, perhaps, have a full-time nanny when you return to work full-time by the time you return to work (which you timed with his entry into kindergarten).

8. Make sure that you exhibit love for your child as soon as you return home (or as soon as he wakes up after you return home). Tell your child that you missed him. Ask him how he spent his time while you were apart.

By consistently employing these strategies, you can successfully ease your child through his separation anxiety . . . and you and your child can more effectively cope throughout this phase as well.

Julie - posted on 07/20/2011

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Take her with you when you can - she is very fearful of these people who are now in your home. Tell her you are heading into the kitchen and will be right back -
Possibly sneak right back in (in case something is going on behind your back!)

Jocel - posted on 07/20/2011

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I think this is normal for their age because they believe that they can get comfort with us as a mother.Try to have some kids in your house where she can enjoy playing with until such time she learn to be at is even when your not at her side.

Jivika - posted on 07/20/2011

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My little girl is 11 months old now and is doing exactly the same thing. She howls even if I leave her with her dad just to shower... I find myself putting her down for a nap whenever I need to do anything and it's becoming more and more difficult by the day. I'm also a stay at home mum. Keeping an eye on your post for any help... All the best Alicia!

Crystal - posted on 07/19/2011

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I do think she has anxiety it sounds a lot like my girl did when she was little and still at 7 years does at night if I am not in the same house as her. I was told to live her with someone I trust for a few hours at first and if she started crying don't stop and pick her up because she is then learning that if she does that it will make you stay. If you call after 15min I sure you'll find she is ok and no longer crying good luck it is hard to see them feel sad:(

Angel Yip - posted on 07/14/2011

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put ur dotter in the big baby case nearby u, then when u do housework u can always guide n c her!

Henao - posted on 07/13/2011

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This is part of developing....let her cry for a few seconds but keep an eye on her

Carolyn - posted on 07/13/2011

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I have the same problem with my 18 month old. Cannot leave his sight to even go to the bathroom.

Megan - posted on 07/13/2011

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she doesnt trust you that you wont abandon her. this is something to talk to a doctor about, it will only get harder and harder for you both to break this habit.

Candi - posted on 07/13/2011

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Whether you’re going on a date night with your spouse or you’re returning to work after staying home with your little one for some period of time, you may find your child is crying and acting unwilling to let you go. How do you help your child through this separation anxiety?

1. Choose a babysitter that your child knows and is comfortable with. For example, you may want to have your child be present during babysitter interviews. You can observe how the babysitter candidates interact with your child and an initial connection can develop before your child is alone with the babysitter. If your child is old enough, your child may actively participate in the selection of his new babysitter.

2. Choose a babysitter that will be an enduring presence in your child’s life. Your child will likely develop a bond with his babysitter, and if the same person babysits him year after year, a sense of security and comfort will develop.

3. Choose to keep your child in a familiar environment. Rather than taking him to the home of a babysitter he just met, consider having the babysitter come to your home. For your child, and for most of humanity, there is comfort in familiarity.

4. Choose your departure times wisely. If he is hungry or needing a nap, or if he is experiencing stress or restlessness for any reason, he will be more prone to separation anxiety than if you departed after nap and snack time, for example.

5. Develop a consistent routine that your child can rely on. For example: your babysitter arrives; you hug and kiss your little one; tell him where you will be, when you will be back, and that you love him and look forward to seeing him when you return home; you provide relevant information to your babysitter and then you depart. (No sneaking out when your child is not looking.) If your child comes to know that this is the routine, a sense of security develops. (Note: if you deviate from your routine, his confidence may be shaken. You can minimize this to some degree by explaining to him what the deviation is and why it exists. For example, if you are running late in returning home, you can call home, speaking with both the babysitter and your child, to let them both know of the revised return time and the reason for it.)

6. Be empathetic but firm. As you prepare your child for each babysitter visit that may generate separation anxiety, acknowledge how difficult it is for him and remind him how brave/strong/independent he is. Remind him of other things he has done which fit the descriptive(s) you have used. Draw a parallel between his situation and how he thinks his hero (a fictional or real character that he esteems) would handle the situation. Do not make fun of or punish him for his feelings. Also, do not attempt to bribe him out of his feelings.

7. Stay away in progressively longer periods of time. It is recommended that you begin using a babysitter before your child is six months old. When you first use a babysitter, plan a brief outing. Go out for dinner with your spouse and return within two hours. As your child adapts to being babysat, you can increase the amount of time you spend away. So, where you may use a babysitter for date nights virtually from the time he was a few months old, you may, perhaps, have a full-time nanny when you return to work full-time by the time you return to work (which you timed with his entry into kindergarten).

8. Make sure that you exhibit love for your child as soon as you return home (or as soon as he wakes up after you return home). Tell your child that you missed him. Ask him how he spent his time while you were apart.

By consistently employing these strategies, you can successfully ease your child through his separation anxiety . . . and you and your child can more effectively cope throughout this phase as well.

Pamela - posted on 07/13/2011

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My suggestion is to use a baby pack (front or back) that will allow her to travel with you while you do your work. It may be the "extra bodies" in the home that you must also pay attention to that is causing her "anxiety" so just honor that and get a baby back or front pack if you do not already have one. I was never a "stroller or buggy Mom" because I like being held and touched in a loving manner and felt that my sons would like that too.

Kimberly - posted on 07/13/2011

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At 10 months old, babies do not know the art of manipulation. Please do not think that of your little one. All babies know is if they are hungry, uncomfortable, tired, need changing or need you. After all, they have no idea how things work in this world.

Kimberly - posted on 07/13/2011

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If you don't attend to your babies' cries they will grow up feeling they cannot depend on you. The brain in this early stage of life is making connections based on what input it is receiving.

Jude - posted on 07/13/2011

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sounds very much like separation anxiety to me. Our girl is nine months and she had a couple of weeks when she even screamed when I turned my back at her briefly. It's a little better now, I just took her to every room with me... I know it's tricky because you need eyes in the back of your head. If it's not super urgent maybe leave the washing up til she's asleep - other chores like hoovering can just about get done with the baby on the hip ;) Other ideas (from a friend) are to put her in a high chair close to something interesting (in her case the bathroom sink whilst having a shower) etc - there's ways, but it requires a lot of creativity ;)

Paula - posted on 07/12/2011

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Alicia, your little one is manipulating you and making you answer to her every time she screams..Put her on the floor and let her find you.Her screaming is only a an attention getter not separation anxiety.Give her stuff in the kitchen like a wooden spoon and a pot and she will keep busy while you cook or clean..assure her and hug her but continue your routine..she will learn mummy has things to do..

Heidi - posted on 07/12/2011

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It sounds really normal. Separation anxiety is a normal part of early child development. The house needs to be functional, not immaculate and others can pitch in as well. You will never get the time back with your baby girl. Taking the time to hold her and be with her in the early months will let her know that you are there for her and she can move on to being adventurous and challenging and all of the other stages of her development without having a lasting insecurity that children can develop when their parents aren't willing to give them what they really needs as babies... you!

Eleanor - posted on 07/12/2011

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my daughter did the same thing at that age. I talked to her about she needed to obey and I was going to keep her safe. she is 2 1/2 now. We keep a bucket of toys for the different rooms, so when I am cleaning or working in another room she can be close by. These toys stay only in those rooms assigned. The crying lasted several months. but she did finally become less anxious now she goes even over night without any problem.

Eden - posted on 07/12/2011

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My daughter is like this now and she's 2 years old.....I WISH I would've broken that at 10 months. I miss work because she won't stay with anyone else I can't do anything without her crying for me to pick her up or come along. I'm starting to just let her cry and scream.... And she's learning that I'm coming right back.

Alexandra - posted on 07/12/2011

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all babies have separation anxiety at some point one way or another. but it scares me that you say for even just a minute she freaks out. i would speak to the pediatrician. and i would try to figure out if there is something else going on. you must try to change this behaviour, in my opinion. so that it is good for both of you.

Sandra - posted on 07/12/2011

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baby carriers work great. Yes, I think she has seperation anxiety, and I think most 10 months olds do and it is normal.

Jareen - posted on 07/12/2011

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What I did Alicia when my youngest was a baby he did the samething, I put on some clasical music and shut the door, in time she will get use to being alone, for after she's feed and washed she needs to learn that she has to be alone sometime. And as for you being there for your friends in their time of need, God is going to truly bless you, for these are trying times, and everyone doesn't have friends like you. I pray that the friends don't take advantage of you and I pray that they realize how bless they are to have a friend like you. Don't worry about your daughter she is going to come out real good, look at who she has for a Mom. Bless you Alicia. You are indeed a great Mom, and a wonderful friend.

Torri - posted on 07/12/2011

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I personally don't think of separation anxiety when I read this. My daughter (12months) still cries when I leave the room (she goes to daycare). I think it is their stage of development. The best advice I can give you (I know it sounds bad) but let her cry. I have found with my daughter if I am trying to do dishes I just walk away and let her cry and within a few minutes she is happy playing with her toys and forgets that I am gone. Trust me it hurts the most the first few times but afterwards you will be so thankful you did it!

Ella - posted on 07/12/2011

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no one else can hold my baby either :) They just go through that clingy stage. Try spending some time asway from her she has to learn eventually

Rachel - posted on 07/12/2011

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My daughter is 11 months old & she's really bad with sep anxiety! I just try to tell her where I'm going when I have to leave the room & reassure her that I'll be right back when I have to go somewhere. Otherwise I try to limit anxiety as much as possible by being with her. I'm told that this is a normal phase that will pass in time...hopefully soon!

Rachel - posted on 07/12/2011

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My 11 month old is really bad too but she will also scream if anyone else tries to hold her so I really get nothing done. I've been told this is a phase and it passes. I try to comfort her as much as possible and I try to tell her what I'm doing when I leave the room and reassur

Debbie - posted on 07/12/2011

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Sounds normal to me.Babies up until 18 mths think that they are still one with you.You need to get out more often.

Brennis - posted on 07/12/2011

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While leaving the room talk, sing do anything with your voice to indicate that you are still there, she just can't see you. Also, play a game like peek-a-boo. she will eventually learn that just because she can't see you doesn't mean you aren't there.

Sylvia - posted on 07/12/2011

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Try talking to her gently for a minute or so, then give her something of yours that's safe for her to hold, then stand just outside the room for 10 seconds & if she gets distressed go straight back to her, cuddle her & reassure her, then try again, & as she gets used to the idea that, even though you've gone out the room, you ARE coming back, you can lengthen the amount of time, very slowly, & you'll find that she comes to realise she's no cause for worry, because you always comes back> It worked for me with my son. Hope it works for you too!

Jacklyn Rose - posted on 07/11/2011

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i think all kids go through that stage. what you could do is try to keep her busy also while you are doing your housework. make sure once in awhile you peek on her so she knows you are just somewhere nearby. the funny part about me is when i had my first child i was still in college so i had to leave my daughter home so i can go to school. when i got out the gate and heard her screaming for me i was the one who started crying. but the need for me to finish college and for her to realize that i can't always be by her side at all times made me determined to leave. the hardest part for a mother is letting go sometimes and knowing that their child would be okay.

Karen - posted on 07/11/2011

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No. I think that she just needs to be acknowledged well and given some attention.
I had a similar situation. What I did was whenever my daughter would get upset I would sit down with her and play for a bit and then let her know what I was doing and explain each thing to her so she could understand. If she got upset again I would put her attention on objects in the room. Have her look at things like a plant, the couch a toy her hand etc and I would do this until she was cheerful and interested. If she is going through something continuing to have her look things to get her attention out a few times a day helped until finally she was more comfortable with the stuation. Plus, really ensuring she understood I wasn't going anywhere and she could play with toys where she could see me etc. Hope this helps!

Tamra - posted on 07/11/2011

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When my first child was a baby, he would cry just because he wanted me to hold him. I don't mean just occasionally, but he wanted to be held all the time. Since it was my first baby, I asked the doctor. He recommended that when he did that to put him in his crib & just let him cry. He told me to turn on a radio or something so that I couldn't hear him. Obviously, you need to check in on her occasionally to make sure she's not hurt, but it helped. Also, I was a stay-at-home mom (although I also ran an in-home day care), but when my youngest was 10 months old, I became a Pampered Chef consultant. This forced me to leave the house 1 or 2 evenings per week and the caretaker role defaulted to my husband for that time. My kids are now 23, 20 and 15, and in retrospect, it was one of the best things I did for my family. It gave me some "grown-up time", but it created such a bond between my husband and the kids. That bond is still there to this day. It could be Pampered Chef, or Tupperware, or anything, just a part time job that forces you to leave the house for 1 or 2 evenings per week. (And also, let's face it, who couldn't use a little extra money?)

Elizabeth - posted on 07/11/2011

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It's normal, don't worry. You may have to just let her cry it out some. She needs to learn how to calm herself and she will have to teach herself that or she will have a hard time calming herself when she gets older.

Cindy - posted on 07/11/2011

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Classic sepration anxiety, This too shall pass, but get used to doing things with a child on your hip!

Tia - posted on 07/11/2011

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Most kids get separation anxiety around 9 months. It's a pretty normal phase. Not a fun one though. Make sure you daughter is safe and knows you'll come back and the phase should pass. Sometimes playing a game where you leave the room for a minute and then come back can help her understand that you will always come back.

Layla - posted on 07/11/2011

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Hi there, I went throught his with both my boys at around 9/10 months old. It is just a phase of development that they suddenly become aware that they are seperate from you and that sometimes you are not going to be around. The best thing to do is to carry on as you would normally so that they learn that you being out of sight is no big deal because you always come back. Playing peek-a-boo helps with this and playing hide and seek games with everyday objects with a lot of verbal dialogue to interact with her. It teaches them that things can disappear and then come back again. It is a form of separation anxiety but as you are not actually dropping her off at a nursery or a child-minders it makes it difficult for you to get on and do anything. Maybe think about finding a little childminder for her to get used to and to give you a break. My 2nd son started going to one when he turned 1 and he used to cry when I left him, but it didn't last long. I used to sneak out when he wasn't looking so he wouldn't cry and even when he did cry I had to just leave quickly because as soon as I was gone he would calm down and get on with playing. Now he's 2 1/2 yrs old he always asks if he can go to the childminder's even when he's only ever done 1 day a week. Allow other adults to calm her when you are out of sight so she learns that it's not just Mummy that can comfort her, don't rush in to help her as soon as she cries because it's really important for a child to learn to manage their emotions and to learn to calm themselves, even from a young age. I hope this helps give you some peace of mind. ps I also work with early years and we cover a lot of this with our training.

Jennifer - posted on 07/10/2011

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Okay, I have a one year old, and because you have the new people in the house, she does have the separation anxiety. However, she is also going through a lot dealing with the changes. So, my suggestion is do what I do. I will put him in the same room with me on the floor and let him crawl around. If he wants to stay at my feet, I let him, but I make sure I know where he is at every second to be sure I don't step on him. I get all my work done, at least as much as I can with my health. BUT, I make sure he knows that I know he is there. Sometimes he fuses profusely and cries hard, but he has to learn that it is okay to be apart from me. He can still see me, but does not have to be held all the time. He is a year old, but having some developmental issues. But, I still make sure he understands that he needs independence or he will never hit his other milestones. Just be patient and keep her in the same room, but do what you have to do. Just try to deal with the crying. She is going through a lot, and at her age she does not understand why...be patient and when done with the housework, pick her up, hug her, and nurture her. That goes a long way for her to feel like you still care, but you still have to do your stuff.

Lori - posted on 07/10/2011

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Get a room at the local motel....giver her some space...she is overwhelmed with people. She liked her "mommy" time...I remember my kids back then...they were so happy to be back in my arms in QUIET TIME in our own space. If you chose that life than you have to give your child time to adjust and it won't be fun.

Kimberly - posted on 07/10/2011

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Dr. Ruskin! I LOVE your book! I always responded to my baby's cries - realizing she wouldn't be if she didn't need me for something. It was sooooo true! She wasn't a fussy baby at all, only cried when she needed something, and to this day, does not cry for "hours on end" for anything. We have a very close relationship (my daughter is now 5) and I am grateful for your advise!!! Just had to write a "thank you" to you for your wonderful words, and I hope more parents follow them. Best to you, Kimberly

Ashley - posted on 07/10/2011

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It sounds pretty normal... most babies do that at her age. I stay at home and both of my kids did the same thing. My first born would cry if I left her sight, but if I sat in the chair in her room, she'd play and totally ignore me. I would put her in a safe place and tell her I'd be right back. Unfortunately, it does make it difficult to get stuff done... the good news is they grow out of it.

Amy - posted on 07/10/2011

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I have the SAME EXACT PROBLEM with my son who is the same age! Sometimes its even if I put him down and stand up like im going to walk somewhere he freaks out! It is very frustrating.

Shannon - posted on 07/10/2011

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You're probably not going to like my answer, but this is totally normal. Different children go through it at different times. She will most likely grow out of it, especially since she has so many "siblings" around to play with.

However, you might try 'training' her a bit. Leave for just a few seconds at a time, and make it a game: "Mommy will be right back" (hide behind a door) "Here I am!!" Then, after a few days, make for longer stretches of time until you are up to five or ten minutes, or in another room. It's a process and will take a while. But, between her development and you training her, it will work!

Alberta - posted on 07/10/2011

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Did this start after the other children moved in? It could be a reaction to the change in her living situation

Keri - posted on 07/10/2011

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There's a lot of new stimuli in your house right now. She's adjusting to it all and wants to make sure you're there to help her when she needs it. I wouldn't call it separation anxiety though - that is usually deeper-seeded and comes from the repetitiveness of being left for long periods of time.

Kimberly - posted on 07/10/2011

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You can put her in a "walker." They have the stationary ones. Then just have her in whatever room you are in. She is playing right along side you. I used to do that with my daughter. I am a stay-at-home mom. My daughter was quite clingy, but it's good. She learns how to develop relationships. She eventually grew out of it. The times I could be out of her sight became longer over time. First I'd set her up with stuff to play and play with her. When she was engrossed. I would tell her I'd be right back. I'd leave for a minute and come back. Play more. Then leave longer. I would start with 5 minutes at a time. (Enough to load the dishwasher.) Then I could be gone longer and longer. Now at 5, she can play by herself the whole afternoon, and she is an only child. Relax about the housework. Your daughter will be in kindergarten before you know it and you will have wondered where all the time has gone. Be glad for the time you get to have with her. Eventually she will grow out of it. Start mommy and me classes with her to help her build her self-confidence. The best thing we can spend on our children is our time.

Diana - posted on 07/10/2011

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In a child development class I took at PSU the professor explained that separation anxiety is a well documented stage that comes and goes throughout childhood. If I remember right the first time is at 6 months. When I remember it is just a stage, a valid stage, I can love my children through it. This too shall pass. Maybe it will help to remember that there will come a time when she doesn't even notice when you're gone, or worst, she can't wait until you leave. Cherish each moment she wants you around.

Tina - posted on 07/10/2011

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It is normal. I did day care for 11 years and my kids did it and all of my daycare kids did it as well. Even call the doc. and ask. What a good mom.

Virginia - posted on 07/10/2011

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We had a foster baby that did the same thing and he did have separation anxiety. No one could go near him except me. I thought I was in prison but loved him and wanted to help him. I had to have some time away and he had to learn to trust other people so I made myself put him in the nursery at church even though he would cry the whole time I was gone. He had to learn that I would come back and it would be ok. He did learn that and became so much more confident and independent but it took a lot of prayer and letting him cry. I pray this helps.

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