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It is normal for a baby to get upset when they are separated from you. Separation anxiety can begin as early as 6 months, when the baby has got to know and love you as their main carer. Even though it's difficult, take it as a sign of their healthy attachment to you. Your baby will learn that they can trust you, and will develop important skills on their way to independence.
Separation anxiety usually peaks between 13 to 18 months, but of course every child is different. You can help your baby be less anxious by:
- Making your goodbyes short and sweet - a hug and a promise to be back soon.
- Make your departure casual. Don't build it up or appear anxious yourself.
- The goodbye should be the same everytime so that it's predictable.
- Choose family members or someone familiar to look after your baby if you can.
- Give your baby time to get to know new caregivers before you leave. They will be reassured if they have seen you together.
- Show your delight when you are re-united with your baby.
Talking is one of the most important skills your child will learn. It seems to happen naturally, but in fact you have a very important role to play. Your baby will learn to talk by hearing other people talk. The more you talk with your baby and respond to their noises and babbles, the more you help them learn to communicate. This will help them in every aspect of their life.
Songs and rhymes are especially good for children as the rhythms and repetitive language make it easier for babies to learn language skills. Babies love songs and rhymes, especially hearing the sound of your voice. This is a great way to help your child to talk and listen. Rhymes with actions explain what words mean - "pour me out" in "I'm a little teapot". You can also create sound effects when you are singing songs and saying rhymes. Use your hands to clap, your fingers to click and your mouth to make playful sounds and whistles.
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