How to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

How to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

How to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

It’s common for children to miss their parents or caregivers when separated. However, if your child is experiencing extreme levels of anxiety impacting their age-appropriate behavior, they could be suffering from separation anxiety. While separation anxiety is typically seen among young children it can occur in adolescents, teens, and even adults. To ease your child’s separation anxiety, it’s important to understand that this condition should not be ignored. It can lead to more serious mental health consequences in the future if left untreated. 

Looking to ease a child’s separation anxiety? In this article, you’ll learn more about how to spot separation anxiety in children, how to manage separation anxiety, and more. Embrace U offers intensive outpatient programs that provide comprehensive mental health care treatment to adolescents ages 10-18. We provide various mental health services to help teens and adolescents struggling with a mental illness live healthier, more balanced lives. 

Have a child struggling with a mental illness? Contact us to learn more about how we can help improve your teen’s mental health today!

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a mental health disorder in which a person experiences intense fear or anxiety when they become separated from a loved one or caregiver, such as a parent. Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common childhood anxiety disorders. It’s common for children to feel a bit anxious if they are separated from their loved ones, such as when they go to school. However, if a child experiences extreme anxiety that interferes with their daily life and keeps them from doing the things they want to do, this form of anxiety should not be ignored and is likely a sign your child may be struggling with separation anxiety.

There are many reasons why your child may develop separation anxiety. Common factors like a death in the family, parental absence, change of schools, and being in the foster care system are just some common factors that may cause a child to develop separation anxiety. Separation anxiety disorder can also be genetic.

Signs Of Separation Anxiety in Children

Unsure if your child is suffering from separation anxiety? Below are some common symptoms of separation anxiety in children that you should not ignore:

  • Fear that something bad might happen to a family member when separated
  • Fear of being kidnapped 
  • Constantly following a loved one around the house
  • Fear of being left alone of getting lost
  • Nightmares
  • Refusing to go to school for fear of separation
  • Refusing to sleep alone

If your child is experiencing any of the above signs, they may be suffering from separation anxiety. Read on to learn how to ease a child’s separation anxiety.

How to Manage Separation Anxiety in Children

If you suspect your child may be suffering from separation anxiety disorder, below are some ways to ease a child’s separation anxiety.

1.      Practice short periods of separation and progress to longer periods of separation: Consider leaving a child with a trusted family member as you run a quick errand rather than leaving your child for a whole day at daycare or school.

2.      Consider using a comfort object: If your child has a favorite item, or comfort object, such as a blanket or toy, consider leaving the child with that object to help ease their separation anxiety.

3.      Discuss what you’ll do with your child once you return: Children typically grow anxious over the uncertainty of when they’ll see you again when you are separated. To ease these worries, discuss plans of what the two of you will do together once you return to ease their fears.

4.      Make goodbyes quick: Rather than stringing out your goodbyes with your child, consider saying a quick goodbye and keep things light and positive.

5.      Follow through with your promise: If you tell your child you’ll see them again at a proposed time, such as 5 pm, be sure to follow through with the proposed time that you promised them. This can help ease the child’s separation anxiety because they’ll know that they can trust and believe you’ll return at the promised time.

Help Is Available at Embrace U

Separation anxiety disorder is not something you should ignore. As mentioned above, there are several ways how to manage your child’s separation anxiety so they can gradually become more and more comfortable and confident on their own. 

At Embrace U, we help teens and their families live healthier, more balanced lives. We specialize in offering comprehensive mental health treatment to teens so they can reclaim their lives and improve their quality of life for the better.


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