We often associate stress and anxiety with adulthood but did you know that children can feel it too? Babies as young as 6 months can start to feel anxiety. It can last for up to 2-3 years and is commonly known as separation anxiety (1). Separation anxiety makes them clingy and cranky every time they are separated from their parents or caretakers. Due to the times we live in now, everyone is under a lot of stress. As a parent, you would want to enjoy some alone time, but if you are quarantined with a kid, it becomes quite impossible to do so as they are clingy and follow you around throughout the day. If your kid does not give you the space to enjoy some alone time, it can get quite frustrating and stressful. Let’s look at how to deal with a clingy child and still have some time for yourself:
1. Address Their Concerns
Kids cling to their parents during stressful times because they see them as a rock or a safe base. When times have become so unpredictable, kids find solace and comfort in their parents. They are the constants who will keep them safe and secure. Parents are predictable, and kids like that. So if you’re a parent, talk to them about the situation, how things have changed, and why it’s okay to be scared. Your words of support give them the reassurance that they seek.
2. Chalk Out A Daily Routine
Routine builds discipline. But more importantly, it brings in a structure to their day, which in turn makes them feel safe. Your child might be more clingy because of the changes in their daily routine. Being able to anticipate what the day has in store for them can help them carry out tasks much more smoothly. They feel like they have control over their day, which makes them feel safe.
3. Independent Alone Time
When you prepare a daily routine schedule for your child, make sure you factor in independent playtime. If you can set aside a few minutes of the day to play with your child face-to-face, they will probably be less insecure about not getting time with you throughout the day. You could play word-building games, quizzes, or simply join them when they play with their toys.
Who doesn’t like to be appreciated when they do something nice or good? We all do! Children tend to repeat behaviors, positive or negative, when they get attention for it. So, do not forget to praise them when they do the right thing or exhibit good behavior. When you see your child playing by themselves, praise them, and give them recognition. However, if you ignore good behaviors and give your kids attention for the negative ones, they tend to repeat those behaviors.
5. Talk About The Current Situation
Children might have a lot of questions about the way the world is right now. Instead of dismissing their questions, try to explain the situation to them. Tell them about the virus and how it has affected the world. You could also address the fears and concerns they have about the coronavirus, so that they can understand it better. Explaining the situation to them will furthermore enforce good behaviors like washing hands, sanitizing, wearing face masks, and other precautions that need to be taken during this time. Besides, it reassures them that you’re keeping them safe.
While the whole world is stressed at the moment, it becomes an added pressure on the parents to keep up the demands and expectations of their child. Everyone needs a break, including parents and kids. Enforcing the right habits and behaviors in your child will help you and your family cope with the situation in a less stressful manner. What do you do to deal with your child? How do you manage to enjoy some alone time? Comment below and let us know.