How to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

How to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a widespread issue among children, yet it is one that is notoriously difficult to resolve.  While some little ones throw tantrums when parents leave, others deal with ongoing anxiety driven by the fear their parents will separate from them.

No matter how your child demonstrates their separation anxiety, it is important as a parent that you know how to ease this anxiety. It will benefit you as a parent, and it will benefit your child.

Separation anxiety is not only difficult on the child, but it is difficult on the parent as well. This is particularly true for working parents who have to deal with being away from their child on a daily basis.  These outbursts caused by separation anxiety can start when the child is an infant and last through preschool or even longer. However, these tips can help ease the separation process for everyone involved.

  • Make a Ritual Out of Saying “Goodbye”- Goodbyes are tough, no matter how you do them, so it is important to create a goodbye ritual before you leave. This can be as simple as a kiss on the cheek, it can involve you giving the child a special blanket to comfort them, or you can do an entire goodbye handshake routine. No matter what you do, keep it the same every time, and try not to linger while you say farewell—it will only cause the anxiety to linger too. Routines should be efficient, but most importantly, they should be consistent.

 

  • Give Your Child Your Full Attention When You Separate- It can be easy for any parent to feel busy and rushed when heading out the door, but it is important that you don’t let your feelings of being busy distract you from giving your child enough attention. When you leave, you need to give your little one all your love and attention, then say goodbye, no matter how upset they get.

 

  • Be Honest and Keep Your Promises- Before you leave, tell your child when you will be back (If they understand) and do your best to keep that promise. Make sure that you tell your child in a way they understand, such as “I’ll be back after nap time.” This not only means getting home when you say you will but avoiding coming home early to help them feel better.  Stopping home from work at lunch just because your child has anxiety may make them feel better in the moment, but you will only have to go through the painful separation again, and in the end, it will make things worse.

 

  • Practice Being Apart- This is a hard one for many parents, but it is so The more time your child spends apart from you doing fun things, the better off they will be in those instances where they have to be apart from you. So, whether this means a trip to grandma’s house or a playdate with a friend, make sure to practice separating.

While no parent ever wants to have their child struggle with separation anxiety, it is a very common and very difficult issue for many children and parents today.  With a little patience and by remembering these tips you can help ease your child’s anxiety (and your own) in the process. If you have any questions about separation anxiety and how to keep your child feeling less stressed, give Continuum Pediatrics a call at 817-617-8600.

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