Children tend to bond with the primary caregivers in their lives. It is because of this bond that separation anxiety in children becomes part of their normal development stage as early as 8 months through about 2 years of age.
Unsettling as it can be for the parent(s), separation anxiety in children is normal and can come when you’re in another room, at work, or leave them with a sitter for the evening, even the first few days of school – any time they might feel their safety, comfort, or protection from parents being compromised.
General symptoms of separation anxiety in children can include any or all of the following:
- Not willing to interact with others – even others they know but are not the primary caregiver
- Clinginess (wanting to be held, hiding behind parent, following from room to room)
- Crying / Whining
Teary and clingy goodbyes are part of the child’s early development years. Reassurances of safety and love, being on time to return home or pick up your child will let your child know that you will once again be there with them after a short absence.
As a parent it’s definitely not easy and it’s a very dificult sitation to handle correctly but very often counselling can help. Just know that most children experience separation anxiety at some point and that when not extreme it’s a normal part of their development.