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Does your kid suffer from separation anxiety? Here’s what to do

By Pallavi Kanungo,

If you’re an overprotective parent, your child is likely to become extremely dependent and experience separation anxiety.

Assign your child some familiar and favourite tasks before leaving him behind.

Separation anxiety is a truth in the lives of many people kids and youngsters. While some children become self-reliant from the very early years of life, others tend to hold on to their parents long after they have grown up. This leads to dilemma and a sense of guilt in parents as they struggle to keep up with their daily routine while tending to kids. But most parents don’t know much about separation anxiety. Here’s our guide for them.  

What is separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a state of psychological discomfort that children often suffer from, when they realize that they are temporarily left behind by their primary caregivers. It leads to apprehension when they are separated from their parents.  

When does it surface?

Separation anxiety surfaces when a child starts getting familiar with his caregivers. Though this condition mostly affects younger children, pre-teens may also experience this when as soon as they are separated from people they are familiar with. This is when the fear of unknown creeps into them.  

How to deal with separation anxiety?

If your youngster is suffering from separation anxiety, he can experience a wide range of emotions starting from restlessness to panic attacks, incessant crying, and tantrums. Here’s how you can help ease their separation anxiety. 

Create an easy and approachable atmosphere

In case of a joint family setup, a child often easily overcomes separation anxiety being in the presence of so many members. But in case of a nuclear setup, it is important to build a friendly ambience at home. It is often recommended to invite over family and friends who will help the child be at ease and slowly develop a sense of comfort even in the presence of unfamiliar faces. The idea is to make him realize that it is okay to be surrounded by new people and not freak out when separated from parents for some time. 

Give them prior information

Informing a child about your impending plans of going out will help your child deal with your absence because she will be prepared in advance. Prior information will prevent her from feeling insecure when you are not there. Also, goodbyes should become part of everyday routine.  

Assign a familiar task 

If you’re planning to leave your child alone for a while, the best way to distract or keep him engaged is to assign a favourite task. It may be solving puzzles or colouring the drawing book or simply watering the plants. This way he will be busy with the assigned task instead of fanatically searching for you.  

Try to keep promises
Promises mean a lot to everyone, especially young kids. So, if you promise your child that you will return before evening, try your best to keep that promise. This way, the next time you go out for some work, the child will remember it and feel assured. She will also be convinced that you won’t abandon him. 

Being overprotective is a no-no

If you’re an overprotective parent, your child is likely to become extremely dependent. The key is to make him realize that separation is always followed by reunion. Constant reassurance that he can manage little things on his own, also goes a long way in handling separation anxiety.