It is not unusual for parents to have to return to work at some stage in their child’s first year. As hard as it is for your little one to separate from you, it is sometimes harder for mom and dad. There can be a few tricky repercussions of this separation anxiety – your little one may be a whole lot more needy and not want to be apart from you; he may refuse to go to anyone else and in some situations his sleep can be very negatively affected.
These are simple strategies to help you decrease separation distress and prevent sleep problems related to separation anxiety:
- Choosing a nanny or daycare will be an important part of you feeling less anxious and distressed. Once you have chosen the person you are most comfortable leaving your baby with, you should educate that person on your little one’s signals and preferred routine. This will make you feel secure and assist with the transition.
- Take time to establish a doo-doo blanky or comfort object for your little one. Something that he can comfort himself with when you are not around.
- When you get home, turn off your mobile phone and all technology and sit on the floor with your little one and a few select toys. Play with him and his toys at his pace and following his lead. This quality time together will really help you to connect to your little one and meet your and his emotional needs.
- Move bath time a little earlier and use this time to sit and play quietly with your baby. After bath, do not to take your baby out of his room but to sit quietly on the floor reading a book with him. Your baby will love this undivided attention and will stay calmer before bed. You may be concerned by how little time you will spend with your baby if he goes to sleep so early but keep in mind that more constructive relationship time will be possible in the early morning when he wakes.
Connecting with your little one is all about the quality of your interactions. Do not let guilt and distress overwhelm you as you start work again.