You love your child unconditionally and will do whatever it takes to keep them safe and healthy. That being said, you can’t help but wish that occasionally you could take a bio break without them coming with you!
The good news is, you’re perfectly normal. And so is your child for wanting to always be at your side.
Writing in The Washington Post, Certified Parent Coach and mom of three, Meghan Leahy, describes the developmental reasons why young children need to cling to their mothers. “For the first two years of his life, you [parent] are his whole universe. The closer he is to you physically, the safer he feels. The safer he feels, the more his body and mind can mature. Human babies require deep and constant connection, physically and emotionally. They will not mature properly if they do not receive this,” explains Leahy.
Therefore, when your little one cries as if their life depends on being with you all the time—to them, it does!
The advantage of having an infant is they tend to stay where you put them. Many parents plan their me-time moments for when baby is sleeping. Once your child can walk or stops napping, it’s a whole new challenge. Distraction is the key, using something they love. Walmart has the best in toys for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and beyond. Choose a toy that requires them to stay in one place and concentrate. If it makes noise, even better. The sounds will let you know they’re having fun and staying out of trouble!
There’s more to this little piano by Baby Einstein’s Keys to Discover Piano than meets the ear. It features six classical melodies, lights that flash in time with music and keys that count in English, Spanish and French when pressed. Your little one’s happy play will seem like music to your ears! Ages 3 months and up.
Separation anxiety is a stage that all children go through, sometimes more than once. This article at BabyCenter explains that separation anxiety eases by age 2 and should be over by age 3. Until then, you might need a distractor to help keep them busy so you can get a couple of minutes alone.
Many parents of young children limit their access to electronics, but the urgent call of nature qualifies as a time to pull out the tablet or smartphone and let them have at it. (Be prepared for some push-back when you try to take it away!)
A phone of their own helps makes a little one feel like their heroes—mom and dad (yes, you!). Restrict its use to special times, and they’ll be eager to use it. LeapFrog’s emoji phone helps teach counting up to 10 and allows kids to have pretend conversations. It features cute videos with the press of a button and more! Ages 18 months to 5 years.
And there’s the other kind of screen time we attempt to limit—television. Again, when used strategically and sparingly, your child will be so thrilled to watch their favourite video or show, they’ll barely notice that you aren’t there! Children have an uncanny ability to view the same program over and over. That’s how you know all the words from the theme to Paw Patrol!
The original Cars animated movie remains a favourite with kids young and old. Disney’s story of a young hotshot race car stranded in Radiator Springs spawned two sequels, and a third on the way (June 2019). If your little one falls in love with the movie Cars, you’ll find plenty of Cars-themed items (including bedding, backpacks, underwear and more) at Walmart.ca. Rated G.
As parents, we need to understand and respect that wanting to be with us is a natural part of a child’s growth. At the same time, an aspect of being a parent is nurturing independence.
Stephenie Gillingham, program coordinator and professor of early childhood education at Sheridan College tells Today’s Parent about the importance of independent play. “What they’re gaining when they’re playing on their own is curiosity, autonomy, learning to take initiative and problem-solving,” says Gillingham in the article. So, a little time at solo playing isn’t something that should make you feel guilty.
If you don’t have eyes on your child for a few minutes, at least you can have ears on them. A baby monitor is a must if this is the case. Take a receiver into the bathroom with you and prepare to spring into action if necessary. If your house is child-proofed, you should have some piece of mind that baby will be safe for a few minutes when nature calls.
With two-way communication and loads of other practical features, this baby monitor by VTech includes a receiver for each parent. It features an out-of-range indicator, vibration sound alert and a night light. It is also engineered with a high-sensitivity microphone. Plug it in or use the rechargeable batteries included with the set.
Some final tips for your moment of liberation:
- Keep the bathroom door open and talk to your child from the other side if they’re worried or stressed. Reassure them that they’re not being abandoned.
- Never leave a child completely alone.
- When possible, ask for help. Relatives and friends want to feel useful as you adjust to your new role as a parent. Helping you also gives them fun one-on-one time with your little one.
- As a parent, remember that you’re the pillar that holds up this whole family operation. You deserve a few moments to yourself.
If you’re not successful the first time you try to convince your wee one to let you have one wee on your own, don’t give up. And remind yourself that it’s a phase. One day, you’ll look back at this time fondly and wonder how it went by so fast.