Separation Anxiety - Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health

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Typically we see an increase in separation anxiety in toddlers between

eighteen and twenty four months. While that's a really exciting time for both

parents and toddlers because it's filled with excitement and exploration,

it can be also daunting. It's the first time they start to explore but

it's also the first time that they start to experience

that mom and dad aren't here.

It's important for parents to keep their game face on so that kids don't see

distress on their faces when it's time for transition or separation. The

longer we make that goodbye, the more difficult it is for kids to separate and

we sort of send them a message that this is a big deal and really what we want to do

is send a message that this is really normal and it's going to be okay.

Sometimes when we've been separated from our toddler we make kind of big deal

when we get back together

and it's better if we make those as casual as possible so that kids

start to see, this is normal and this is how we do it and it's ok.

Have a consistent bedtime, have a consistent

bedtime routine like reading books

bath time maybe a snack, some time in with kids just before bedtime. All those

things are very reassuring for kids and if you can keep that consistent day-to-day

it helps reassure them that everything's gonna be ok and this is just how we do it.

Usually by about age three you'll see a decrease in that initial separation

anxiety and that's usually just because of lots of repetition and lots of practice.

When the child's

worries and fears really interfere with the parents day-to-day functioning. When

it really becomes unreasonable.

to able to function as a family and for parents to do what they need to do to

raise their children and to maintain their lifestyle.

In other words, when the child's fears and worries are driving the house and

not the parents.