Thursday, June 21, 2018

Seperation Anxiety, Toddlers, & Only Wanting Mama


My youngest has been going through a separation anxiety phase.  I didn't realize that at this age they would still have phases like this.  I will be honest, I don't remember my oldest going through it, but then again we had just moved and had a newborn.

I was still possible he went through it, but it wasn't to the same degree and didn't last long.  My youngest has been dappling in this phase for about 6 months.  It started back in February.  Now, granted, it was more easy to take in stride and more easy to help him move past it in the moment.

But about a month ago, it seemed to hit it's peak.  We were full on in, I want mama and only mama, mama has to do it - wash hands, put shoes on, and the list goes on.  From the time he was up and until he fell asleep for bed, it was all mama, all the time or there were major melt downs and lots of tears.

After calling his pediatrician, we determined that yup, this was just a phase.  A little light clicked on and it started, and now we just had to wait for it to click again and it will be done.  Do we have an idea of when?  Nope, not a clue.  At least we know it's not do to getting sick or teething.  He is done teething and he is healthy as can be.

She told us to keep the same schedule and routines, especially at bedtime and it will get better and easier at some point.

It is hard and tiring, draining too to be in this spot.  While I am enjoying the extra snuggles, longer hugs, and rocking with him, the meltdowns, impatience, and only mama all day every day has begun to drain me.

While at this point, we aren't quite through it all the way, I am finding we are on the downside of this phase and almost done.

How can I tell? 
*On a recent trip to visit family he let grandpa take him out of the car seat.  Normally while on road trips (for, like forever) he won't let anyone take him out of the car other dad or me.
*He asked for grandpa to sit next to him at dinner instead of me.
*My car had to go in for repairs while visiting and he kept right on playing when I had to take the car in and he stayed with grandma and his brother.
*One night my parents went to pick up pizza for dinner and he asked to go with to help.

And just today we were visiting a friend and he kept going to her to talk, to show his colorings, and for help like cleaning up his hands.

The hardest part of it all really?  It is the transition time of going down for naps and bedtime.  They are rough.  There are usually lots more I need mama, I want mama, One more hug, as well as some tears.  But he is starting to get back into a normal sleep schedule.  Even going to bed has gotten easier and more smooth.  Nap time, we are still working on, but I also think some of it is due to too early of a start time.  Once we get the timing right, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

After doing a little research and talking more with his pediatrician I learned that at 2 1/2 kids are becoming more aware of their surroundings.  They are realizing that there are still things going on even when they have to go to sleep and they don't want to miss out.  They are beginning to test the boundaries and see where they can push.  They are more active during the awake hours and that sometimes leads to not playing right next to us but nearby instead (within sight lines) and so when they are taking out of the play and moved into sleeping mode they just need a little more one on one time.

So, we are tweaking his nap start time, keeping routines and schedules consistent (especially bedtime and nap time), getting a little more play time in, getting a little more rocking and snuggles in, and seeing where it goes.

Also, the pediatrician had recommend at his wellness visit to start only having his nuk during sleep times as it would mostly likely help with the going to sleep part making it more smooth, but also help during the day as well.  Well, we found he wasn't ready yet for it only just at nap and bed.  I found that not having it as much seemed to add to the anxiety instead.

So now he still gets to have it when he used to, but we put some boundaries on it.  Like if we are playing outside or on certain adventures it stays out of his mouth or if he is going to talk it needs to be out so we can better understand him.  He is beginning to keep it out of his mouth longer and longer on his own.  Sometimes we have to remind him of the boundaries, but more often than not he remembers.

Separation anxiety is hard for all around.  I will tell you that yes it wears on you, it seems to come out of nowhere and before you know it it is gone, but you will make it through this phase just like you did the others.

Is your kiddo facing separation anxiety?  How is it going?  What tips and tricks have you found to help work through it?