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Helping Kids with Separation Anxiety

Most parents have witnessed bouts of separation anxiety when their children were toddlers. The first time you tried to sneak away and get some errands done, your child cried like crazy! And while it is a normal developmental phase that all younger children to go through, some elementary-aged kids may continue to have difficulty or experience stress when separated from a parent or caregiver.

Causes of Separation Anxiety in Children

Young kids may experience separation anxiety for a variety of reasons. Sometimes kids may be dealing with family changes such as divorces, death, etc. Children may feel stress, anxiety, or nervousness when separated from a love one, even it is to go to school. If your child is experiencing separation anxiety, keep the following tips in mind.

Separation Anxiety Tips for Parents

  • Discuss the issue with your child, but don't discount his fears. Help him work through his fears and teack him coping skills to use when he's feeling anxious.
  • Set a good example for your child by not being nervous, prolonging good-byes, or making good-byes a big deal.
  • Creating consistent family routines often works well for children experiencing anxiety. If you can get your child set up on a routine by using a chart that shows what you will be doing throughout the day, it may help to calm his fears.
  • Monitor his anxiety to see if a particular place or person brings up these feelings or if he is always anxious when separated from you. If he becomes anxious around a particular person or place, investigate the reason why.
  • Pay attention to what your child is watching on television and what he is reading. Scary movies or news stories may result in fears of those things happening in your family.

Easing the Separation

Separation anxiety is normal and usually subsides. It is important to remain calm, consistent, and just help your child work through this difficult time. Before you know it, your child will not even realize you are not right there next to him! Then, you may be the one feeling the anxiety, as so many parents do when their kids go off to school and get involved in activities.