Helping Children with Separation Anxiety

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be one. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, are injured, or are feeling thoughts of depression, anxiety, or anything else, please contact a medical professional IMMEDIATELY!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Separation anxiety is something that experienced by most children as they are growing. It is common for babies who are around seven months old to become distressed when they are away from their parents or parent. This happens because children become afraid that when the person that cares for them leaves, they will not come back. Children often cry, shyness, stop speaking, try to hang on to their parent or become shy. By the time they are five years old, most children realize that their parent always returns and grow out of their separation anxiety, but while they are experiencing separation anxiety, it can be a tough thing to deal with it, but there are some things that can be done to help.

Introduce your baby to new people. Young babies, those who are less than seven months old, do not care who is giving them attention as long as they are getting it. If you let other people, such as babysitters, take care of your child for just a little while they will get used to other people taking care of them and be less likely to develop separation anxiety when they grow older.

Before you leave your child, feed them or have them take a nap. Some may be wondering what this has to do with separation anxiety, but children are more likely to become anxious if a parent is leaving when they have not been fed or are tired. This will not completely eliminate separation anxiety, but it can make the child’s reaction less severe.

Keep the same babysitter. Even if you have left your child alone with people who are strangers to them, they are much less likely to have a bad reaction to a parent leaving them if they know the person who is going to be taking care of them while their parent is gone. Having the same babysitter makes the child feel more comfortable and safe, it is advised that you keep the same babysitter (if possible) until the child is a toddler.

Practice separating. Leave your child alone for short periods of time at first, and then gradually extend the periods of time that you are away from them. This helps the child realize that their parent is not going to leave them and never come back. Doing this in increments is good because children who experience separation anxiety will become very distressed when their parent leaves them and if they come back quickly, they will realize that it is not the end of the world if their parent is away from them, because they come back.

If possible, keep the child in a place where they feel comfortable. Children are more likely to have less severe reactions to their parents leaving them if they are in their own home, or a place they are familiar with. When it is possible, leave the child at home and have the babysitter come to them so that they are not forced to deal with a new environment on top of a new person.

When leaving, tell your child that you will come back. Make sure that your child knows that you are not leaving them, and that you will always return, and then leave. Do not stall or give in if your child is crying or being clingy, giving into them will only make things worse. If you stay when they throw a fit, they will see that they are able to keep you there as long as they behave badly and will continue to do so.

Dealing with separation anxiety is not always easy. Children are not always able to comprehend that just because a person leaves, does not mean that they are gone forever. Luckily, there are some things that you can do that will ease your children’s anxiety and make it a lot easier on you to leave.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be one. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, are injured, or are feeling thoughts of depression, anxiety, or anything else, please contact a medical professional IMMEDIATELY!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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