Most people connect separation anxiety with infants. However, it is normal for kids to experience separation anxiety throughout different times in their lives. It can occur again at 3-4 years old, 5-7 and again from 11-14. The older ages correspond with starting school for the first time and again when starting middle school or high school.
If you have a child that is suffering from separation anxiety here are some things you can do to help.
1. Start a countdown. Whether it’s starting school, the first day with a new nanny or babysitter or going to a new daycare. This will help them get used to the idea that you are leaving.
2. Prepare them as much as possible. If they are starting school try to visit the classroom and teacher ahead of time. Or meet some of the other students. Let your child know what will happen during the day so that the fear of the unknown doesn’t take over. If it’s a situation where mommy and daddy are going to work have the nanny over a few times before her first day,
3. Don’t exaggerate the good-bye. Everyone(teachers, psychologists and nannies) agree ”don’t drag out your good-bye. ” Say a quick farewell and assure them that you will be back. Lingering or showing any hesitation shows your child uncertainty.
4. Don’t tell your child you will miss them or go overboard on your reunion. If a you talk about how much you missed them your child might feel guilty about leaving you. Not the feeling we want on a first day!
It may take time for your child to get used to the separation. If the fear doesn’t go away after 4 weeks it’s time to consult an expert.
Both my girls have separation anxiety. My oldest is coming out of it and feeling more comfortable when I leave her places. However, my middle child just started kindergarten and she is having a VERY hard time with me leaving her.
If you have any tips on how to help with separation anxiety please share them with us.
TLC For Kids, Inc has been St. Louis’ premiere nanny and babysitting agency for over 25 years. TLC For Kids dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutor’s, newborn care specialists, sitters and more. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-725-5660.