5 ways to manage separation anxiety
Children who are concerned about staying away from their parents or other important caregivers may experience separation anxiety. These children often worry about their own or their parents ’safety when they are separated from them.
Separation anxiety is a natural part of a child’s development, which tends to be more severe during early childhood and then gradually recedes over time as the ability of children increases and begins to explore their environment.
Children often experience separation anxiety when they start going to daycare or prep, but they usually cope well and feel comfortable with a little time. However, some children may still feel distressed whenever they are separated from their parents; they may start to have tantrums or refuse to go to school, or they may complain of nausea when a class occurs.
If this sounds familiar, here are some things you can do to help your child overcome separation anxiety.
- Keep calm and relaxed behavior when separating from your child or discussing an upcoming chapter. When parents feel anxious or spend a long time calming their child, this can inform the child that there is something to worry about.
- Keep your child informed about the next semester, including how long it will take, what you will do and what your child will do. Having this information can help your child feel less anxious.
- Talk to your child about the ways he can endure during separation. For some children, being able to call you if they feel distressed helps them feel calm. For younger children, a familiar game can be comfortable.
- Don’t criticize your child for being anxious. This can undermine your child’s self-esteem, increase anxiety, and is unlikely to be effective. However, it is helpful to praise your child when he or she adapts well or willingly.
- Start small. If your child is concerned about separation, start with very short breaks and gradually increase the length of time that you and your child have separated. Raise only this time when your child adapts well
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