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August 10, 2010

Book Review: The no-cry separation anxiety solution

Title: The no-cry separation anxiety solution
Author: Elizabeth Pantley

This is a book I would absolutely recommend to anyone--especially if you are about to start daycare/preschool or leaving your child with a caregiver. The tools that the author provides are great and she also gives gentle reminders to parents to help ease the transition. As with any parenting book--you only take what you agree with but this book I found had a lot of helpful tips.

My son doesn't suffer from major separation anxiety but I found that this book provided some really great ideas for our daily separation and also provided some great tips for when we have more trouble.

Here are some tips from the book that I thought were really great:

1) Allow Your Baby The Separation That She Initiates--if she goes off on her own to investigate a toy or something when she is having relaxed play--let her be. If your little one crawls or toddles off to another room, don't rush after her! This practice will help deal with future separations.

2) Preintroduce your baby to new people--especially family. Before you go visit great-grandma or an aunt--show your little one pics of the person so they recognize them.

3) Monitor Your Responses--this is a hard one. The author says to downplay your return. This is something I struggle with. At the end of the day I want to cover my little guy in kisses but the author says to hug and give a friendly reunion without going over the top. If you make the reunion a big deal then that means that separation is in fact a big deal and we are trying to show our little ones that separation is not a big deal. Develop a routine for your return as children thrive in routine.

4) Don't Plant Worry Seeds In our effort to reassure our little ones we sometimes inadvertently increase their concerns. "Don't worry" and "everything is going to be ok" might make a bigger deal out of the separation and ultimately make them wonder "should I worry??" From my personal experience--with younger ones don't make the separation dramatic. Say goodbye and have a routine if possible. We used to wave to each other at the window when I was leaving for the day but it upset my little one more to do that. So now it's a quick goodbye instead of dragging it out and planting worry seeds through my actions.

5) Provide ample chill time We are all busy and sometimes we get caught up going to daycare to home and then to an activity...a child with inner peace is less likely to be anxious. Same goes for sleep--children who are more well rested are less likely to become anxious.

6) Appreciate That It's not a Now or Never Choice It's perfectly fine not to separate from your child during peak phases of anxiety. Child can gradually mature toward independence on her own timetable.

7) Avoid an in-arms transfer handing your baby to another adult is a dramatic announcement of transfer and cues them to object. You don't want them to physically feel like they are being taken away from them. Playing on the floor or introducing a toy is a good time to step away.

8) Make your time together count Your child needs to feel satisfied with the time you do have together in order to better let you go.

I focused mostly on separating from really young ones but the book has some great tips for older kids including a magic bracelet (my library copy didn't come with it but the author describes it) and even deals with adults feeling separation anxiety too (which sadly applies to me at times!).

Pick it up from the library and read some of the tips! I think that it can be helpful for separation anxiety through all the stages. The way she has written it as well you don't have to read it cover to cover but I found it to be a quick read.

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