Child does not let go of mom: what to do

Дмитрий КарпачовДмитрий Карпачов

Child does not let go of mom: what to do
Child does not let go of mom: what to do


In one of her books, Australian writer Kathy Lette said: "The strongest bond in a woman's life is with her child." You don't need to be a psychologist to understand one of the basic needs of a little person who has just come into this world - to be close to his mother. For him, it is the whole universe. Mom is warmth, food, affection, safety, entertainment, and a good night's sleep.

Time passes, and circumstances force us to test the bond between mom and baby: after the end of maternity leave (and possibly even earlier), you need to go to work, which means that separation is unavoidable. What to do if the child does not let go of the mother?

How can you survive this difficult period and make regular separations from your child less traumatic? What to do if the baby does not want to let go of his mother, constantly cries for her, and is sad?

Why does the child not let go of the mother?

The way a child reacts to being separated from his or her mother is purely individual. Some children protest mildly and once, quickly getting used to the new environment. Others can put on "concerts" for years. It is impossible to predict in advance how long it will take your child to adapt.

Three factors affect the severity of a baby's feelings during separation from his or her mother:

  1. Age and mental immaturity. The ability to control emotions is formed by the age of 6-7. Until then, a child simply cannot hide his or her annoyance, anger, or resentment. Therefore, most of his reactions look exaggerated, and deliberately dramatic. In reality, however, adults are experiencing no less intense storms of emotions inside, they just know how to hide them.
  2. Lack of experience with breakups. If a mother has never been separated from her child before the end of maternity leave, then going back to work can be a real trauma. The child is used to the fact that mom is somewhere nearby, and can be called at any time. By the way, the need to periodically contact their mother is a basic need for children under 3 years old. Even if a child is busy with something, he or she needs to run up to his or her mother, tell her something, and hug her. It's a kind of communication check.
  3. Organization of the separation process. If you properly prepare your child for the inevitable separation, you can significantly reduce the degree of his or her emotional reaction. Otherwise, desperate cries in the morning cannot be avoided.

When children learn to let go of their mothers

If we talk about the peculiarities of the age-related perception of a child's separation from his or her mother, we can distinguish two groups:

The first is children under 3 years old.

The second is children aged 3 to 5.

With the first group, it's not easy: a 1-year-old child does not let his mother go a single step, because he does not understand much yet, he does not know the concepts of "soon", "in the evening", "in 3 hours". It is difficult to explain to such a little one why mom leaves every morning. Her absence is perceived as a permanent, not a temporary event. And no matter how many times you repeat that mom will return in a few hours, at such a tender age, the child is simply unable to realize this. That is why psychologists do not recommend separating mother and child (for a long time and on a regular basis) until the age of 3.

The second group includes children who can already come to an agreement. They understand why mom has to go to work, and therefore do not show such strong reactions to separation. However, they can't not react at all, showing their emotions in the form of quiet protest, depression, and sadness. The child really misses his mother, although he realizes that she will return after a while. His days turn into a lingering expectation, the hours drag on slowly, the separation becomes unbearable. Thoughts of betrayal come to him: "Why was I abandoned?"

By the age of 6-7 - the age of a first-grader - children are already getting used to periodically parting with their mothers. But still, in the first days of school, when the newly minted students are faced with an increased workload and have no friends among their classmates, it is worth helping the child.

Many employers even give parents of first-graders a week's vacation to help them adapt to school life.

How to learn to part with your child: 6 steps

We offer you a guide to help you prepare for separation from your child. It contains tips for children of different ages. So, what to do if the child does not let go of his or her mother?

Step 1. Prepare your child for the "disappearance" of mom. You can start from the first years of his life: playing "peek-a-boo" when mom covers her eyes with her hands; hide-and-seek when the baby feels afraid for a second that he is alone, and then with a joyful shout finds mom hiding behind the door; periodic exits from the room when the child is quietly playing or watching a cartoon.

With age, we make the training more complex: we leave the baby with other adults for 5-10-20 minutes. We leave for a few hours, go away for a day, etc. The child must get used to the idea that all your separations are temporary. You just have to wait a little bit, and mom will come back.

Step 2. Create a social circle for your child. If relatives are going to be watching your baby when you go to work, try to make sure that they come to visit and interact with the child as often as possible beforehand. You should also get used to the nanny gradually: first 10 minutes alone, then half an hour, then half a day. Only after 7-10 days can you leave your child with a nanny until the evening with a calm heart.

Step 3. Do not hide the truth from your child. Do not lie about why you are leaving. Do not leave suddenly, that is, so that the baby does not hear. Even if he or she cannot yet understand the reason for the separation, be patient and explain it repeatedly until such questions disappear by themselves.