Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Parent to Parent: Clingy Kids
Saying bye is hard to do, and for toddlers, that separation can seem like torture. So how do you ease the angst? Dr. Debbie has the answer's in tonight's Parent To Parent.
WSVN-- It's that early morning shriek, the finger pry, and what seems like endless tears. For many parents, when it comes time to drop off at daycare, leave for work, or put their baby to sleep, the battle begins.
Jaime Illes: "I feel like the worst mom, when I have to leave them and they're crying."
Jaime Illes knows the daycare drop off drama all too well. Her five-year-old daughter, Maya, can't wait to get out of the car.
But morning goodbyes can be very different for two-year-old Alex.
Jaime Illes: "Alex is very clingy. And you have to peel him off of you basically when you got to school. Because it's not that he's not gonna have fun, its just he doesn't like me leaving him."
Although it doesn't feel like it, experts say separation anxiety is healthy because it shows you and your child have a strong bond.
It happens most often between the ages of one to three, but you can make it less difficult on your child by following some simple advice.
Dr. Debbie: "Take a look at what's going on in your child's life because sometimes clingy behavior can increase if there have been changes or even some stress, whether it's the arrival of a new baby or starting a new school."
That's why Dr. Debbie says before dropping off your little one, prepare them for it. Remind your child who will be taking care of them. You can do that by posting a photo of your caregiver.
Dr. Debbie: Show it to your child. This concrete visual image remember, we're going to see poppy today and hold up a picture and that can really go a long way for some kids.
Next, during the dropoff, make sure you don't linger but never sneak away.
Dr. Debbie: "Sneaking away might produce a more peaceful separation at the beginning because after all you won't hear them protest, but in the end it really can send the message that mom or dad could dissapear at a moment notice and in fact, the side effect of that may be that your child becomes more clingy."
Instead acknowledge your child's feelings, but then be matter of fact.
Tell your child you're leaving now and exactly when you'll be back.If possible, get them busy immediately by having them play a game. And make sure to leave them with a comfort object.
Finally, tell them you love them, give them a kiss and walk away.
Dr. Debbie: "Turn around and walk out the door, but it's critically important to check in with your child's caregiver by phone for example, how is he doing?"
Jamie does just that. She even goes one step further.
At her son's daycare, Oxford Academy in Davie, they have a secure viewing system, so Jamie can look in on her kids via the internet, anytime of day.
Jaime Illes: "He opens the door holds it and says bye mom and its so much better. Its like your day goes by so much better. If it can go like that everyday you have perfect days at work and you're happy."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. DEBBIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
DR. DEBBIE GLASSER'S WEBSITE:
Dave And Mary Alper Jewish Community Center at the Jay Morton-Levinthal Campus
11155 SW 112th Avenue
Miami, FL 33176