What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation Anxiety typically occurs in young children starting at about 18 to 24 months of age.
The symptoms of Separation Anxiety are easily identifiable.
Your child will become anxious and fearful when you are away.
Often, they will cry and throw temper tantrums when they are taken away from you. And in some cases, this can manifest itself as a physical symptom such as a stomach ache or nausea.
These fears can sometimes interfere with your child's academic and social activities and in certain cases, your child may develop school phobia and refuse to go to school.
What causes Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is brought on when your little one doesn't feel safe.
Any event that might have made your child uneasy, whether minor or traumatic, can cause separation anxiety disorders in children.
Some parents will immediately recognise the cause of this uneasiness, in other cases, it won't be so obvious.
The most obvious causes of anxiety in kids are sudden changes in their environment, traumatic events which cause stress and bad parenting.
This can include moving house, a death in the family or mollycoddling parents.
Is Separation Anxiety Disorder normal?
Separation anxiety in children is very normal.
Most children experience it at least one point during their early childhood.
It only becomes a problem if it carries on past the early childhood phase. This can be an indication of Separation Anxiety Disorder and may need treatment.
Lasting Separation Anxiety may also be an indication of a poor school environment. This could be because the child is not performing academically, is being bullied or does not feel comfortable or safe at school.
What is School Phobia?
School phobia otherwise known as school refusal, is linked in many ways to separation anxiety.
It is a term used to describe the behaviour of a child who frequently refuses to go to or avoids school. School phobia is common in cases of separation anxiety disorder.
How can you help your child through this difficult stage?
There is no way to completely prevent separation anxiety.
However, starting to practice being apart at a young age can be very beneficial when it comes to overcoming this anxious phase.
The best way to do this is to enrol you child in a day care centre such as Kay-Dee Educare Centre in Mowbray, where they can learn to be apart from you in a comfortable environment with trained childcare professionals.
By enrolling your child at a day care centre from an early age, you allow them to ease into the idea of being away from you.
In a safe and comfortable environment, children begin to build self-confidence and develop social skills needed throughout their life.
Easy Steps for Parents to Follow
There are a few easy steps parents can follow to ease your little one's normal separation anxiety.
Practice being apart.
Parents should start young and practice being apart by leaving your child with a close family member or child minder for short spaces of time.
Additionally, parents should be mindful that young children are happier on a full stomach, so make sure your child is well fed before you practice being apart.
Develop healthy goodbye habits.
This can be as small as a hug and a kiss goodbye, it lets your child know that it is time to be apart now.
- Don't sneak out.
- Don't fuss your child before you leave.
- Don't cry or get emotional as this will set off your child's emotions.
Start with small comfortable steps.
- Start with spending small spaces of time away, while checking in regularly.
- In the beginning, have your child minder come to your house while you go out.
- Later, when your child is comfortable leaving the house, let them take something familiar with them like a blanket or a toy.
- Try to always have the same person mind your child, this will promote a feeling of familiarity and comfort.
- Always perform your goodbye ritual or habit.
- Leave when you say you are leaving, keep it short and simple.
- Come back when you say you will – this will encourage trust.
Kay-Dee Educare – Your Child’s Daycare Centre in Mowbray
The staff at Kay-Dee Educare are well-trained in easing separation anxiety and have years of experience in making children feel happy and safe.
Early childhood development is an important part of our daycare programme, and we have several supporting activities available.
Although separation anxiety is completely normal in young children, parents can take steps to help ease their child’s transition.
For more information about Kay-Dee Educare, please contact us.