Trust me when I say this, as a new mom on a maternity break the only thing that freaked me out day in and day out was the day I would be back to work and leave my daughter at a day care. As working women, we live in constant fear (should I say guilt?) of leaving our child to strangers and letting them learn from real-life experiences of their own.
In my case, I chose to take a sabbatical of two years because I didn’t want to miss my daughter’s precious milestones, such as crawling and standing on her feet for the first time. And I can say, without hesitation, those were the best years of my life. It’s true when they say that if there is anyone who loves you unconditionally (except your parents) without wanting anything in return, it’s your own baby.
But time passed faster than a bullet train (I say bullet train because I was in China at the time), and soon came that dreadful day when I had to start work. I still remember how nervous I was when I dropped my daughter to her daycare, but, surprisingly, she skipped without a single look back to say good-bye.
While this is not something for a mother to boast about, especially considering I was surrounded by palpitating mommies and their crying babies who were refusing to let them go, I am happy I used these two years to let my daughter overcome her separation anxiety. Here’s how you can do it, too.
1. Leave Your Child Alone For Some Time Every Day, Even If It Means Just 15 Minutes
When I say alone, I mean leave them with anyone else except the mother. It can be difficult in the beginning, but trust me you will find it therapeutic, especially if you have no nanny and are taking care of your child all by yourself. I started by leaving my daughter for 15 minutes every evening with her father or grandmother (whoever was available), but only when she was six months old and had started eating solids.
2. Set Up Play Dates With Friends Or Trusted Neighbors
Another way to ease separation anxiety in babies is by leaving them with other infants. This also helps build their immunity as they have been living in a virus-free environment so far. My daughter was extremely happy to play in indoor play areas (they are especially a blessing in the cold winter months) meant for infants and it was there that she would mingle with other children her age. Gradually, it became routine for her and every evening at five she would look at the door and jump with joy, signaling me that it was time to go to the park.
3. Start Early, But Leave Your Child Only For A Couple Of Hours In The Beginning
I was lucky to have a baby care facility in the neighborhood center and they were more than happy to help me sail through the transition. Initially, we agreed to leave my daughter for an hour and gradually increased the time every couple of weeks. By the time my daughter was 20 months, she got into a routine and had adapted to the change quite well.
4. After You Start A Day Care, Remember To Spend Quality Time With Your Child
Quality time doesn’t have to be hours playing in the backyard or reading stories to them. A five-minute back massage or a 10-minute TLC session works just fine. Just remember to complement it with uncountable hugs and kisses to reassure your child that they mean the world to you. Now, who wouldn’t like that?
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