It’s a little over a year now and like my son many kiddos are attached to our hip (literally) and won’t let go! While we love the cuddling, hugs, and kisses, we also know it is important to teach them to gradually separate from us during certain circumstances so when it comes time for babysitters, going to preschool, going on playdates, etc. the transition will be easier! Here are some hints on how to achieve gradual separation…
1) Use Language To Explain – Get your child ready for independence by explaining it to them in words. You can say something such as “We’re going to the park now. Mommy is going to be sitting on the bench watching you and you can go into the sandbox right near here. Here is a shovel and pail that you can use with your friends”. If they are older, a visual schedule, book, or social story would also be helpful.
2) Set up Playdates – When you make the situation as comfortable as possible, your child is more likely to separate from you. Set up playdates with children they are familiar with and present them with motivating activities. This will allow your child to not only socialize, but gain confidence in becoming more independent. If they are reluctant to play with their peers by themselves, take their hand or carry them over and model how to play with their friends.
3) Choose a Separation Class – There are classes out there that basically prep you to separate from your parent, vice versa. You meet weekly and the class itself may consist of circle time, music, art, cooking, free time, etc. The consistency allows your child to know what is expected of him or her. The more comfortable your child feels, the more likely they will separate from you. It is also great you are not leaving them in a preschool environment, cold turkey but instead you are easing them into the transition.