Separation anxiety is the “normal stage of development” in children. Separation anxiety starts from eight months and increases till the age of five and then gradually decreases. Children fear that their primary caregiver, once gone will not return. So, they are filled with anxiety if there are any signs of separation. The child reacts with excessive crying, distress, and clinging to the parents, unwilling to let go. If the child exhibits this behavior more often, then he or she may be suffering from separation anxiety. The responsibility of managing the separation anxiety in children rests, naturally, with the parents. They should be understanding and willing to devote time. If the separation anxiety in the children is not managed then it can get complicated, leading to a psychological disorder called the separation anxiety disorder. Ultimately, it must be remembered that separation anxiety is curable and in most cases, it dies down after a certain age. Read the article below to know more on how to manage separation anxiety in children.
Coping With Separation Anxiety In Children
- If a child is familiar with some person then leave your child, for brief periods, with him or her. You can also stay with the person so that the child gets familiar with the person. Once the child is comfortable, you can start leaving the child with the person.
- Parents should be firm. Even if the child throws tantrums on being separated for a short while, the parents must not be swayed. Otherwise, the next separation will be more difficult.
- Teach your child what to do and how to pass the time, when you are not there. Make him realize that you may have to leave for short periods of time.
- Children are comfortable when the surrounding is familiar to them. So, familiarize the kid with the neighborhood. Go for walks and introduce your neighbors.
- Reassure your child that when you leave you will return. Assuage his fear of separation by spending more time with him when you return.
- Understand the child’s feeling. Make him realize that you will also miss him when you are away. Talking to a child will comfort him and help him bear the pangs of separation.
- Don’t let the children see anxiousness in you. If you are afraid of putting your child in a new environment, then don’t let the child know. Children tend to become more dependent when they see that their parents are anxious or afraid.
- Maintain a strict routine. Frequent changes may create more anxiety in the children. If the child expects you at a certain time then be sure that you return at that time. As the child grows older, you can be more flexible in your routine.
- Children with separation anxiety display extreme behavior. So, never accuse your child of being dramatic. Empathizing with the child goes a long way in assuaging the fears of separation.
- Show the child the things that he or she may be interested in from the surroundings. Teach the child to indulge in physical and creative activities.