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Bridging the Gap

My son wasn’t thrilled to go to school the other day. He wanted to stay home with mommy but I had lots of work to do. So he picked out some stickers, put them on my shirt, and I told him every time I saw them I'd think of him and he’d feel a big mommy hug. Then when I picked him up, he’d see the stickers and know I kept my word.

This is called “bridging the gap”. Children naturally don’t want to be separated from their secure-attached caregiver. If we can bridge the gap for them, they can separate from us for a length of time, feel safe and loved, and come back to us feeling just as secure as when we left them.

In addition to providing emotional stability for our children during times of separation, bridging the gap is crucial for the following reasons:

Maintaining Relationships:

  • Relationships are foundational to a child's development. When separated from parents, siblings, or significant caregivers, maintaining a connection becomes vital. Bridging the gap ensures that these relationships continue to thrive, preventing a sense of isolation and preserving the bonds that are integral to a child's sense of identity and security.

Reducing Anxiety and Stress:

  • Uncertainty and unfamiliarity associated with separation can lead to heightened anxiety and stress in children. Establishing ways to bridge the gap, such as swapping an item of clothing or familiar routines, provides a sense of predictability and control. This, in turn, reduces anxiety and helps children cope more effectively with the challenges of separation.

Promoting Healthy Development:

  • Healthy emotional and social development is closely linked to a child's sense of connection and belonging. Bridging the gap during separation promotes resilience and adaptability, contributing to the child's overall well-being. It allows them to navigate changes with a sense of security, positively influencing their cognitive and emotional development.

Encouraging Open Communication:

  • Bridging the gap encourages open communication between children and their separated loved ones. This communication is not only essential for maintaining relationships but also provides an avenue for children to express their feelings, ask questions, and seek support. Open dialogue fosters a sense of trust and understanding.

Preventing Feelings of Abandonment:

  • Children experiencing separation may grapple with feelings of abandonment or rejection. Bridging the gap actively counters these feelings by reinforcing that the separation is circumstantial and does not diminish the love and care they receive. It helps children build a positive narrative around their circumstances.

Building Resilience:

  • Resilience is a valuable life skill that allows children to navigate challenges and setbacks. Bridging the gap in times of separation contributes to the development of resilience. It teaches children adaptive coping mechanisms, instills a sense of self-efficacy, and empowers them to face adversity with greater confidence.

In order to effectively bridge the gap during my son's separation from me, I proudly wore two Halloween stickers on my shirt during my client calls that day. What is something that you practice at home to help bridge the gap during periods of separation with your kiddos? Share in the comments below!

If you find yourself longing for support in bridging the gap for your children, book your free discovery call with me today to see how I can help you.

Thanks for reading,


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