5 Tips for Dealing with Separation Anxiety

It might occur suddenly: Your baby becomes upset and cries any time you leave the room.

Erin Carlson, an expert in child development and education/child psychology, says separation anxiety is a normal phase that many babies go through.

Baby crying when left alone

“Most typically, developing children will experience some level of separation anxiety,” says Carlson, who has seen it happen plenty of times with her work as a pre-toddler teacher, a teacher for an alternative school and a therapist for a foster care agency.

She says separation anxiety usually occurs around the child’s first birthday, but some parents might notice it a few months earlier. Parents can use a few strategies to help their children feel safe and secure, while encouraging their children’s independence.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

During the first year of life, babies begin developing emotional attachments to certain caregivers, and they understand object permanence. When something disappears, they notice and look for the object or person. Carlson says babies pick up cues that parents are ready to leave when they put on a coat or pick up keys, for example.

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