How To Deal With Separation Anxiety in Small Children

You need an hour or two to get away, complete an errand, go for a run or enjoy. Perhaps you have a big work meeting and have to leave your kiddos with the sitter. However, every time you head out the door, your little ones cry, grip your leg and refuse to let you go. They love you so much they can’t bear to say farewell.

Separation anxiety is normal, especially for children in their early years; however, it’s hard for everyone involved. If your loved ones are struggling, you can help. Find strategies like over the counter calming medicine and other confidence boosters that make parting less stressful.

What Causes Separation Anxiety?

Around age 1, kids begin to notice their surroundings. As their awareness increases, they recognize specific people, places and objects. However, what they can’t do is understand that when things go away, they can come back. Thus, littles may have intense fear when their parents aren’t present, unable to accept that they’ll return shortly later.

Why does separation anxiety reappear in the older years? Trauma and stressful situations, such as divorce or illness, stir those old feelings and put youth on edge. Worries increase, and kids seek comfort in having their parents around.

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Strategies To Helping Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety

While you love your children’s devotion, the outbursts and clinginess prove frustrating, making farewells harder and longer. They feel scared; in turn, you become unsettled. At some point, you want to give them a big hug and be on your way without the drama.

Get everyone on the right track by modifying your goodbye routine and behaviors. Stay consistent, and shorten farewells. Dragging them out builds emotions and troubles, delaying the inevitable and only marking separation worse.

In addition, talk with kids about your return. Reassure young ones that you plan to pick them up, providing a tangible idea of when they will see you again. Use words they understand rather than clock time—reference timeframes such as naptime, crafts or lunch.

Minimize factors that increase anxiety, such as exhaustion and hunger. Drop off children after naps or in the morning when they’re fresh. Give them something to eat as well, providing a snack or meal.

Older children or those with more prolonged bouts of stress require more. Try an anxiety relief medication that settles the nerves. Encourage calm, remind them of their strength and sympathize with their emotions. Validate their concerns and model strength.

Stick with similar sitters or a consistent school. They may feel more at ease as they spend more time with the same people.

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Littler ones do best with distractions. Have sitters or teachers get them busy immediately with an activity or game. Don’t sneak out; give them a quick hug or air kiss to signal your departure.

Young children may struggle to see their parents walk out a door, worried about being away from those they love. Ease those difficult times. Use a natural anxiety medication for children and develop a farewell routine that helps them feel comfortable with your departure.