Do you need to know how to help your child with separation anxiety? Separation anxiety is something that a lot of children go through when they are young. It usually starts around the time when a child is a year old and can last up through the preschool years. These are some ways to help your child with separation anxiety.
1. Play Peek-a-Boo
This is a very simple way to help your child with separation anxiety. Playing peek-a-boo helps your child to realize that you do come back when you are gone. Separation anxiety occurs because children fear their parents will not come back when they are toddlers and because they are uneasy away from their parents as pre-schoolers. Toddlers don’t understand that you are only gone for a little while. Playing peek-a-boo is a way to help them realize you aren’t gone forever.
2. Be Cheerful at Goodbye
Try your best to be cheerful when you say goodbye to your child. If you act stressed and anxious, your child will pick up on that. They will feel there is something to be anxious about. Act cheerfully and talk to them about all of the fun they are going to have when you are gone. Distraction can be helpful in this circumstance.
3. Don’t Sneak Away
As tempting as it is, resist the urge to just sneak away from your child. This may be easier on you but it can be very upsetting to them. This can reaffirm their belief that you can disappear. It can actually make their separation anxiety last longer. Make sure you always say goodbye.
4. Offer Security
Offering your child an item of security can be helpful. It can be their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. This can help to comfort them. It can also help to tell them you will call them in a little while so they can hear your voice. Just make sure you always follow through. These things can help make your going away easier for them.
5. Don’t Avoid Leaving Them
Sometimes you just want to stop leaving your child when they are working through separation anxiety. This is not a good decision. This is actually something they need to work through. Not leaving them will not help them to do that. Leaving them on occasion helps them work through this stage quicker.
6. Don’t Stall at Goodbye
It can be tempting to hang around to help them calm down when you are saying goodbye. Don’t do this. This just prolongs the time that they are upset. Say goodbye quickly and cheerfully. This helps them to move on to another activity more quickly.
7. Reach out for Help
There are times you need to reach out for your child when they are struggling with separation anxiety. If they don’t seem to come out of this phase as the pre-school years are passing or seem to have separation anxiety to an extreme degree, it may be time to do that. If you have concerns, talk to your pediatrician. They can help point you in the right direction for help. But do take comfort in the fact that children do grow out of this phase.
Are you dealing with separation anxiety with your child? What have you found that helps? Share your tips for others to use!