Leaving your baby with a stranger can be extremely difficult. However, don’t worry moms, you can do it!
Maternity leave is almost over and you still can’t succeed to leave your baby with a nanny or a family member? Your baby cries and screams whenever someone else is holding them? It might be the fact that your bundle of joy is experiencing what’s called stranger anxiety.
So, can you let a stranger babysit your child? Absolutely! All that your little one needs is a little bit of help to adjust to the new people in their life. Read on to find out what strange anxiety is and how you can help your child overcome it.
What is stranger or separation anxiety?
It isn’t rocket science to understand what your baby is feeling when you leave them with a “stranger”, be it a nanny or relatives. Babies learn to identify their parents since their very first months of life. They start to recognize their parents’ voices, faces, and smell.
After turning 6 months old, whenever someone else, other than their parents hold them, they experience the so-called stranger anxiety. However, fear of strangers isn’t something that new parents should worry about. It is actually a normal stage in a child’s development.
As your bundle of joy grows up, they start to become more and more aware of what surrounds them, including the people. They start to seem interested in other people too and sometimes even engage with them in being goofy and laughing. However, you were the person they have been with since their birth. So, it is natural for them to feel anxious when they know that you are not around.
Stranger anxiety happens as your baby’s cognitive development is reaching a higher stage when they learn to recognize faces, other than yours and your partner’s. So, it is important to note that the anxiety your baby displays has nothing to do with an emotional problem and it is just a sign of normal mental development.
That being said, maybe now it is easier for you to not feel the guilt of leaving your child in someone else’s care.
Help your child feel comfortable
Naturally, although they are very little, babies have a very strong connection with their parents. So, if you feel sad or anxious, it is very likely for your baby to experience the same mood. Whereas, if you display a positive behavior around them, they will also feel comfortable and happy.
So, the key to helping your baby adjust with a stranger is to display a positive and friendly attitude towards the new person. The feelings of anxiety will go away once you help your child develop a sense of safety and trust in other people.
For example, when hiring a babysitter, before leaving your child alone for the first time, spend some time together so that your baby is able to see your attitude towards the nanny. Prior exposure to the situation of being around that person will help your baby gradually get used to the babysitter. Also, remember to display only positive attitudes and behaviors towards the caregiver such as calmness and friendliness. This will help to create a feeling of security for the baby.
However, in order to do that, you must also feel completely comfortable with the caregiver. If you can’t ask a relative to help babysit your little one, don’t panic! There are a number of sites that recommend trust-worthy sitters. For example, UrbanSitter has a number of reviews and recommendations from other parents who are currently or used to work with the caregivers. This way you will make a well-informed and safe choice for your baby.
Create “goodbye” and “hello” rituals
Experts believe that one of the best strategies to resolve the feeling of separation anxiety in babies is to help them develop trust in their parent’s return. And this just makes sense because your baby is anxious thinking that you will never come back to them again. A great strategy to deal with separation anxiety would be to create “goodbye” and “hello” rituals that your baby will associate with your leaving and coming back. As they grow up, babies learn patterns very quickly. So, as soon as after just a few days, your little bundle of joy will understand that when you will be leaving, you will also come back.
Don’t struggle to find a complex ritual, just look for something that makes your little one happy. For example, whenever you are leaving, give your baby triple kisses at the cubby or leave their favorite toy in their cradle. When you return home, provide them with a different gesture to show your love and attention.
However, remember that goodbye rituals should never be too long. The longer you linger, the more difficult it will be for your child to let you go.
Find the ideal nanny
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether your baby is really experiencing stranger anxiety. Sometimes, the reason behind their crying, screams, and agitation can be the fact that they aren’t with the right person.
Leaving your baby with a stranger isn’t easy neither for you nor your baby. And, if you don’t completely trust the caregiver and their skills and knowledge, your baby can sense it too. So, one important step in leaving your baby in someone else’s care is to find the ideal babysitter.
Finding the ideal babysitter takes research and a strict interview in which you will find out whether you have found the right person or not. You can reach out to your community for recommendations such as your friends or work colleagues. Or, if you are looking for an innovative and modern approach, you can shift your focus to the Internet to find online sitter services such as the ones you can find with Sittercity.
Once you have narrowed down your list of candidates, you must observe your child’s interaction with the babysitter and see if your child can overcome their reluctance from the beginning. If yes, you can be confident that your child will be well-cared while you are away.
The trick for surviving your baby’s stranger or separation anxiety demands preparation, finding the ideal babysitter, and giving them time to adjust to these changes.