Breaking Down Anxiety: Understanding the Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety is an important part of your child’s development. It helps them to feel safe by driving them to stay close to their important adults. However, this can sometimes feel brutal for the children who are experiencing it. On this blog post, we will discuss separation anxiety and how you can help your child move from an anxious little one to a brave young adult!

Separation anxiety serves to keep kids safe by driving them to stay close and sought after the safety of trusted adults or caregivers. This anxiety can sometimes feel brutal, we are wired in such a way would speak up shorter periods prior that the child is losing their current caretaker as backup. If there was no separation anxiety, we’d see too many children walking into an unknown world outside with exploration that would be unsafe for their own wellbeing because it’s imperative these young people maintain proximity to others who have proven themselves reliable. “Anxiety” refers both feelings of worry, nervousness, fearfulness, apprehension and physical symptoms such as increased heart rate or lack of appetite.

Anxiety in children will often manifest differently than it does in adults.

Separation anxiety is not a behavior, but an internal state of being that arises when the child senses or experiences separation from significant others such as parents, other family members and caretakers. Separation Anxiety – How to Move Children From Anxious to Brave – The Child Behavior Therapist

While this feeling can be difficult for both parent and child during tough times like divorce proceedings, moving across country with military deployment or any other type of change which has direct implications on daily life routines- while it’s difficult for everyone involved at first–it can turn into something quite positive over time if you have the right tools! Let’s explore what are the ways to help our children overcome these.

  1. Allowing your children to understand and start building connection with the other adults(teachers, sitter or guardian) in the room will help them build up the feeling of safety and warmth that they are getting from you. Share with them that they will also take care of your children, play and have a great time together.
  2. Giving children the opportunity to make a plan for saying goodbye. This can be as simple as drawing pictures, writing letters or making exit plans with their favorite toy animals. Asking them what they need from you before and after an event that triggers separation anxiety- like going on vacation? Maybe it’s an extra hug in the morning or singing together at bedtime each night.
  3. If there are certain rituals your child does when leaving home (riding bikes) then practicing those things during other separations so they feel more comfortable doing them again later on is helpful too!

Although this would be very difficult to bear at the start, but do know that this is part and parcel of them growing up. Allowing them to experience this bit by bit will eventually help them to overcome this. Sooner than you think, they will adapt and start enjoying and exploring their new environment and meeting friends.

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