July 21, 2010

Dealing With Parents Separation Anxiety In Infants And Toddlers

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

Children, especially infants and toddlers, often have difficulty in separating from their parents. Infants may cry when unfamiliar persons approach them. This is a normal part of the process of development as it enables the child to differentiate between his parents and those he does not know. This is referred to as stranger anxiety and usually begins at 8 months of age and continues up to 2 years. Separation anxiety as part of normal development may start at 7 months. This is the time when the baby learns that his caregiver does not disappear when out of sight. This causes the child to develop an attachment to the caregivers. This is very strong at about 10 – 18 months, after which is gradually subsides. Such normal separation anxiety may be exhibited at bed time or other times of separation when the child may cry or cling to the caregiver.

Some common signs of separation anxiety are crying and fussing. Some children may also throw tantrums or start screaming. The child may also refuse to leave the side of the caregiver during the day. At night, the child may wake up and cry for the parent or caregiver. Most children stop displaying separation anxiety at about 24 months of age. In case separation anxiety appears to be intense or continues for a prolonged period of time, it is advisable to consult a doctor. This is especially necessary in cases where the problem interferes with the child’s school-going or other daily activities. In other cases, panic attacks may also occur and this needs to be brought to a doctor’s notice. In some cases, separation anxiety may be indicative of a more serious problem called separation anxiety disorder.

There are some natural ways to treat separation anxiety. The anxiety that children experience during separation stems from the fear that their caregiver may not return. Therefore, parents and other caregivers can ease the child’s anxiety by leaving a reminder such as a blanket or toy. The child can hold on to this while the parent is away. It also helps when parents plan their departure at times when the child is rested and fed. Goodbyes should not be prolonged and the return should be specifically communicated to the child. Discussing with the child about something enjoyable that can be done later also gives him something to look forward to. Engaging the child in a new activity while you prepare to depart is another way to alleviate separation anxiety.