Question: I am a single parent and I’m having trouble leaving my son with someone when I need to run errands. The only other person he’ll stay with is his father. He does not stay near to us so it becomes a big problem cause he screams and cries until I get back. What do I do to make him feel comfortable when I’m not around.
It is a good thing he lets you know he doesn’t want to stay with others. If he didn’t I would be terribly concerned about his attachment to his parents.
To make things easier, leave something with him. An article with your smell on it, a picture of you. And limit your time away.
Realize that children have no sense of time. They do not understand the concept of time until they are in elementary school. When you leave him 10 minutes is a long time to him. For adults the time just flies because we are so busy. Being separated from your parents when you are 18 months old and they are your entire world upon which you are dependent for ALL of your physical needs and your Life literally depends upon them is SCARY.
Let him know when you will be back, not in time, processes or routines. You will be back after he has dinner, nap time etc….he needs good routines to tell him what to expect out of his day. Then make sure you show up when you said you would. You are developing TRUST by being dependable to him. Eventually he will outgrow his separation anxiety. When he fusses remind yourself it is Healthy. He loves you, he doesn’t want you to leave.
Also, if he is screaming until you get back, find out what is going on when you leave. Most children will be distracted by games and toys and will spend sometime being happy. Are your caregivers experienced. Do be cautious in choosing a caregiver. Parents are horrified when I mention child predators however they are not usually strangers, they are people we know, people we trust and people we love. Predators will ingratiate themselves upon other who have children to gain access to children. I am not saying this is the case this is just an additional cautionary statement to share with you as you seek out caregivers.
Also, if you do not presently incorporate a daily massage you may want to do so. Massage calms the body’s nervous system and the chemicals in the body which are produced during fearful situations. The calmer he feels the better he will feel and act.
My daughter also uses essential oils in the air (diffuser) or on some of the bedding and clothing (NEVER ON A CHILD) which promote calming. (If you are interested you can find peace & calming and gentle baby at http://www.youngliving.org/katie214. She says it really helps my grand-daughter fall asleep and be peaceful. She also uses special CDs which have heartbeats and nature sounds in the background. They are very calming. You might want to leave that type of music on when you leave him.
M Kay Keller