Separation anxiety varies to a great extent between children. Some babies become hysterical when the mother is out of sight for a very short time, while other children seem to show ongoing anxiety at separation during infancy, toddlerhood and preschool.

The trick for surviving separation anxiety demands preparation, brisk transitions and the evolution with time.

How to ease your child's separation anxiety?

Create quick good-bye rituals: You can develop some good-bye rituals such as giving triple kisses at the cubby or offering a special blanket or toy when you leave. Keep the good-bye short and sweet. If you stay longer, the transition time will increase, simultaneously increasing the anxiety.

Be consistent: Try to have the same drop-off with the same ritual at the same time every day you separate. This can help in avoiding unexpected factors or events. A routine can help both of you to diminish the heartache and will allow your child to simultaneously build trust in their independence and in you.

Attention: While separating, give your child full attention, be loving and give affection. Then say good-bye quickly despite their antics or cries for you to stay.

Stick to your promise: You'll build trust and independence as your child becomes confident to be without you when you keep your promise of return.

Be specific, child style: While explaining your return timings, provide specifics that your child understands. E.g., if you are going to return by 3:00 pm, tell it to your child on their terms; like, "I'll be back after nap time and before afternoon snack." Explain about your return from a business trip in terms of "sleeps." Rather than saying, "I'll be home in 3 days," say, "I'll be home after 3 good night sleeps."

Practice being apart: Keep the children off to grandparent's home, schedule playdates, let friends and family help in child care (even for an hour) on the weekend. Before starting child care or preschool, practice good-bye ritual even before you have to part ways. Help your child to prepare, experience and thrive in your absence.

It's rare that separation anxiety lasts on a daily basis after the preschool years. If you're worried that your child isn't adapting to being without you, talk to the paediatrician, who can help you to calm and determine a plan to support both of you.


How to Ease Your Child's Separation Anxiety[Internet]. Available at: Accessed on Mar 13, 2020.