Never Can Say Good-bye - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Never Can Say Good-bye

By Aviva Patz, Studio One Networks

It’s exhilarating to be the center of your child’s universe -- until you go to answer the phone or use the bathroom and your child screams bloody murder and clings to your legs. Separation anxiety tends to kick in around the first birthday, when your baby is aware that there’s only one mommy and that you still exist even when you’re out of view. But the tears and tantrums can make a surprise return between the ages of 1 and 3.

“Often, new developmental milestones (such as learning to walk) or life changes (such as a new sibling or childcare situation) may shake a child’s base of security,” says psychologist and early childhood consultant Terrie Rose, Ph.D. “It can require them to go back and check in with earlier behaviors that are familiar and reassuring to them.”

Fortunately, the lapse should only last until your child adjusts to whatever has temporarily rocked its world. And you can help. “The best thing is to give kids sensitive, responsive care to show that you’re still there for them the same way you’ve always been,” Rose says. “Once they get that reassurance, they’ll be happy to embrace new opportunities.”

Rose endorses these tried-and-true techniques for fuss-free good-byes:

  • Time it right A cranky child is a tantrum waiting to happen. Try not to leave your child when he’s hungry or tired and therefore more likely to break down.
  • Practice Rehearse separating from your child at home. Announce that you’re going to the bathroom, for example, and will be gone less than a minute. When you emerge, announce that you’re back. “Those everyday practice opportunities help children understand the concept of comings and goings,” Rose says. “Just be consistent and reliable so your child learns he can trust what you say.”

    With a new caregiver or baby sitter, you might ease the transition by leaving only briefly at first. You might say, “I’m just going upstairs to put on makeup. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Your child may get less upset knowing you’ll be right back, and each successful separation and reunion makes the next one easier.

  • Create a good-bye ritual Get down to your child’s eye level and give your kid your full attention. Smile and say calmly something like, “I’m leaving now. I’ll think about you when I’m not here, and I’ll be back at the end of the day to pick you up.” Give a big hug and add your personal touch -- a secret handshake or Eskimo kiss. Then leave the room and don’t come back.

    For older toddlers, it can help to give a benchmark for when you’re coming back, like after they wake up from nap or after they eat dinner and have a bath. “Since they can’t tell time yet, it gives them a sense of security,” Rose says.

    Don’t even think about slipping out without saying goodbye. “Kids learn that you’re not predictable and that they have to watch you constantly to make sure you’re not leaving,” Rose says. “Saying goodbye helps them manage their expectations and emotions.”

  • Make peace with their reaction It may break your heart to hear your child screaming “Mommy! I want Mommy!” after you step out, but in most cases, the reaction is truly for your benefit. Once children learn that good-bye means good-bye, they’ll likely stop carrying on because they know it’s pointless. “As long as you’re being consistent and reliable,” says Rose, “it’s okay for kids to be upset.”

Copyright (c) 2008 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

About The Author: Aviva Patz has written for numerous national publications including Parents, Parenting, Health, Self, Redbook and Marie Claire.
  • Success by 6More>>

  • Michael Anderson Elementary Wins Book Drive School Challenge

    Michael Anderson Elementary Wins Book Drive School Challenge

    Tuesday, August 20 2013 1:08 PM EDT2013-08-20 17:08:44 GMT
    Michael Anderson Elementary on the Fairchild Air Force Base took the Challenge- so did Windsor Elementary in the Cheney School District. Their mission -to collect books for the Success By 6 Book Bank.>>
    Michael Anderson Elementary on the Fairchild Air Force Base took the Challenge- so did Windsor Elementary in the Cheney School District. Their mission -to collect books for the Success By 6 Book Bank.>>
  • Got A Pre-schooler? Pick Up a Kindergarten Readiness Calendar

    Got A Pre-schooler? Pick Up a Kindergarten Readiness Calendar

    Tuesday, August 7 2012 7:48 PM EDT2012-08-07 23:48:39 GMT
    Got a Pre-schooler? Pick up the Kindergarten Readiness Calendar at any local library! Getting ready for Kindergarten starts long before your child sets foot in their Kindergarten classroom! That's>>
    Got a Pre-schooler? Pick up the Kindergarten Readiness Calendar at any local library! Getting ready for Kindergarten starts long before your child sets foot in their Kindergarten classroom! >>
  • Young Children Learn from Everyday Life

    Young Children Learn from Everyday Life

    Wednesday, August 10 2011 12:26 PM EDT2011-08-10 16:26:51 GMT
    They say kids don't come with an instruction manual, yet parents, especially new parents are bombarded with all kinds of advice from friends and family. There are books and websites offering endless lists, tips and tricks for parenting.  Jill Johnson, Communications Specialist for Family Resources at Community-Minded Enterprises and Success by 6 Board Member says you can teach your children with simple, everyday activities.>>
  • Want Your Child to Love Learning? Let Them Play!

    Want Your Child to Love Learning? Let Them Play!

    Wednesday, February 9 2011 2:08 PM EST2011-02-09 19:08:57 GMT
    Want your Preschooler to Love Learning? Let them play! Gwendolyn Haley, Spokane County Library District Youth Services Manager, and Success By 6 Board Member, says playtime is the most important part of a preschooler's day.>>
  • Your Baby: 2 Months

    Your Baby: 2 Months

    Tuesday, March 13 2012 5:59 PM EDT2012-03-13 21:59:50 GMT
    Our Success By 6 Pediatrician, Dr. Mary Kay Wagner, host of our "Your Baby" series discusses the finer points of living with a 2 month old baby. >>
  • Your Baby: 4 Months

    Your Baby: 4 Months

    Tuesday, March 13 2012 6:19 PM EDT2012-03-13 22:19:00 GMT
    Our Success By 6 Pediatrician, Dr. Mary Kay Wagner, gives parents an idea of what they can expect of their 4 month old baby.>>
  • Your Baby: Six Months

    Your Baby: Six Months

    Tuesday, March 13 2012 6:46 PM EDT2012-03-13 22:46:36 GMT
    Our Success By 6 Pediatrician, Dr. Mary Kay Wagner, says child proofing the house is a priority in a house with a six month old baby.>>
  • What Book is just right for your New Reader?

    What Book is just right for your New Reader?

    Thursday, July 21 2011 4:31 PM EDT2011-07-21 20:31:53 GMT
    What book is just right for your new reader? Mary Ellen Braks, a Youth Services Manager with  the Spokane County Library District says it's an exciting time when your child is starting to learn how to read.>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.