How I Taught My Kids To Let Go Separation Anxiety in Kids


Child holding on to her father leaving for the armyDo you remember seeing that helplessness in the eyes of your baby when you hand her over to your mother-in-law or husband? Does she look at you with tear-filled eyes as if telling you to not leave but to be with her forever?

I know it is disturbing, even if just for that one single moment. You hate to leave your baby with someone else and part with him even for half an hour.Many-a-times you just wish you had a clone who could finish up all the cleaning and cooking and even your work at office, just so that you did not have to see that look in your child’s eyes.

Not to mention, the cry and the long face of your child when you first left her at the playschool. It’s all so saddening and perturbing, but, unfortunately, all babies and parents have to go through it.

It’s called Separation Anxiety and you just have to deal with it, till your baby isn’t at least two years old. All the tact lies in dealing with it wisely, smartly and patiently. Let me tell you, how this can be made possible.

How will I know if my child has Separation Anxiety Disorder?

If your child is above five years of age and still shivers at the thought of getting physically separated from you, cries incessantly and uncontrollably while parting and is not able to cope with separation, then she is surely suffering from Separation Anxiety Disorder.

Children suffering with this disorder may also show the following symptoms:

anxious child

⇒ Complaints of physical problems like stomach ache, dizziness, toothache, heavy breathing etc.

⇒ May ask questions like, ‘what if something goes wrong with me?’ or ‘what will happen to mom or dad after I leave?’

⇒ Refuse to stay alone at home or even in a room.

⇒ May show disinterest in participating in social activities.

⇒ Refuse to use a public transport all by her own.

⇒ Feel uncomfortable in the presence of a babysitter.

How does Separation Anxiety Disorder affect my child?

Some parents feel important and wanted, when they see their child sticking to them and liking to be with them all the time. But, this behaviour of the child is actually a disorder which affects her adversely in the long run, in the following ways.

Boy in anxiety

  • The child becomes totally dependant on you and loses his/her own identity in the process.
  • The child exhibits fussy behaviour and seems to be cranky all the time.
  • Overall development of the child does not occur, due to reluctance in participating in all activities.
  • Affects his health in the long run (refuses to eat or sleep when you’re not around)

How can I deal with it?

Now that you know that your child has separation anxiety, all you can do is deal with it. The following tips may come handy in the process:

The simplest way is to not separate from your child at all. Minimize his ‘alone-time’ as much as you can and your child will just be fine. If that’s not possible, leave your child with people who you and your child, both, are familiar with and with whom your child will be relatively more comfortable.

Mother and child

While hiring a babysitter, make sure that your kid spends enough time with the babysitter in your presence; so that when you leave him alone with the babysitter, he doesn’t feel much of a difference in his surroundings.

If you have to go to work, while leaving your kid alone, then first have some practice sessions. Before starting to work full-time, try working from home for some time, where for your child you will be in office, whereas actually you would just lock yourself up in a room for the day.

Never leave your baby alone, without bidding goodbye to her. The thought of you simply disappearing without any notice can be even more frightening for your child.

While leaving your child at the daycare or with a babysitter leave notes, voice notes, hourly gifts for her to open – to keep her entertained and feeling at home the whole day.

Child with parent in the park

Talk it out with your child, if she is old enough to do so. Ask her lovingly, why she doesn’t want to let Mumma go or why she wants to be with Papa all the time? It might as will be the result of some other discomfort.

Try hiring a counselor for your child, to work out the problem. Separation Anxiety can be tackled easily if it is dealt with wisely and with patience and love.

Most children grow out of it with time and just about a handful need to be counseled. Decide what’s best for your child and be with her in the process of getting separated from separation anxiety.

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