“Good habits will always start with the routines and activities that are carried out at home” It can start around 8 months and is when the little one feels extremely uncomfortable when his parents move away from him, it is likely to disappear with time and as children reach preschool and school age, they are less likely to have separation anxiety. Of course, there will always be times when they just want to be with you.
“When you achieve bedtime independence—you’ll already be one step ahead and away from having an anxious and dependent child on you.”
These anxieties are a normal part of the development and are nothing to worry about. Children are starting to move more at this stage, so these anxieties make sense from a survival standpoint. That is, if children could crawl or move away from their caregivers, but were not afraid of separation or strangers, they would be more easily lost.
There may be two types of separation anxiety
1. External separation anxiety disorder
If your preschooler or the school-age child seems particularly upset and regularly about being separated from you, he or she may have a separation anxiety disorder. About 4% of preschool-age and school-age children develop this condition.
Separation anxiety disorder is when:
- Anxiety interferes with your child’s life and therefore their life
- Your child has more severe anxiety than other children of the same age
- Your child’s anxiety has lasted at least four weeks.
2. Anxiety alone when you leave your child at home
- Tell your child when you are leaving and when you are coming back. This is useful even with babies starting at bedtime. Sneaking away without saying goodbye can make things worse. Your child may feel confused or upset when they realize you are not around.
- Settle your child into an enjoyable activity before leaving.
- Say goodbye briefly to your child, do not prolong it.
- Keep a relaxed and happy look on your face when you leave. If you are worried or sad, your child might think the place is not safe.
The four recommendations that Liliana Amaro Sleep Coach gives us to avoid this type of anxiety are the following:
- No matter how frustrated you feel, avoid criticizing or being negative about your child’s difficulty with separation. Avoid uncomfortable phrases
- Read books and tell your child about separation fears.
- Make a conscious effort to build your little one’s self-esteem by giving him plenty of positive attention when he’s brave about being away from you.
- Work on independence since they were little. A child who sleeps on his own is a child without anxiety.