Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Toddlers

School holiday is over and most children are back in school. Some parents may encounter separation anxiety, especially in toddler kids. Although it is natural for toddlers to develop an attachment to parents, become clingy and cry when parents walk away from school, it can be a challenge for parents who feel the heartache, to let go. Here are some tips to help (you and) your toddlers deal with separation anxiety: 

  • Practice

Bracing your child for what to expect can be a useful exercise.  During playtime, you could try to leave the room that your child is in (while still monitoring him/her from afar). Once your child is used to that then you could start scaling upwards to a point they don’t get affected if they can’t attend something with you right next to them. 

  • Develop a routine 

If let’s say you need to go to work then maybe preparing your child for you to be not present those timings would help develop an expectation. It is best to ensure your child is emotionally happy as well. Meaning your child is not sleepy or hungry because it’s during these time when they are predisposed to feeling anxious. 

  • Quick goodbyes 

When your leaving your child, it is best to keep the goodbye short and sweet. Refrain from going back to take a peak or disappearing because it is not only hard on your child but the person who has been left in charge as well. A common technique would be to develop a goodbye routine, e.g, a kiss, or a high five, that assures your child and reminds him/her that this is only goodbye for now. 

  • Keeping your word 

If you mentioned you would be back to pick your child up or bring your child somewhere, then it is important to keep your words. 

  • Environment 

It is only natural for one to be more comfortable with an environment that one is familiar with. Thus, it is also encouraged to introduce your children to new and unfamiliar environments during family outings so they don’t get scared because it’s a new environment.

  • Refrain from extreme activities 

It is best to not let your child watch scary or thrilling movies. This will help to minimize their (overly vivid) imagination which may lead to fear. 

It can be overwhelming for couples who are new to parenthood. We hope with these little tips, you could find your own methods to manage separation anxiety.

It could be healthy to talk about with other parents and support groups to ask how other people deal with this topic. You’d be surprised to see the many creative ways to help your child! 

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