This is the age when you can’t go out of the room without your baby getting worried. It’s time to start playing a lot of peek-a-boo.
But to some degree, the severity of their separation anxiety is influenced by their personality – some children will find being left behind particularly hard, while others sail through this stage virtually unruffled.
So although your baby is getting older, they seem to need you more and more. Everything’s fine while you’re nearby, but as soon as you disappear from sight a minor crisis occurs. When you disappear, your child thinks you no longer exist – a really unbearable feeling but it’s not harmful. And sometimes mum really does need to go into another room.
To make separation easier, try the following:
• Talk to your baby while you’re out of sight.
• Play a lot of peek-a-boo, frequently.
• Reassure your little one that there’s no danger. Don’t make a big deal out of their anxiety. You only went into another room – and you’re coming back. Let them know it’s completely normal for mums and dads to disappear now and then, and that they come back quite soon.
• Radiate calm and reassurance. Act normally.
• Lavish your little one with love and hugs and fill them up with reassurance on their more anxious days.
• Let your baby shadow you, following you everywhere if they want.
Smile when your child makes a move away from you. Encourage her to explore her surroundings. But don’t push things. Let them know that you’re nearby and that everything’s fine.