Children go through feelings of separation anxiety for different reasons but essentially they believe that their survival is dependent on having a primary care giver close by and with whom they also have a very strong bond. Toddlers are still too young to understand the concept of time so they cannot be reassured as to when you will return in a way that is meaningful for them. Separation anxiety usually heightens between 8 and 18 months, and there can be regressions at times of change to routine such as vacation or stress such as a change in day-care or a house move.
Signs of separation anxiety
Indications of separation anxiety are usually at the time the parent leaves or shortly afterwards. The child may cry, throw a tantrum or resist other care-givers in an attempt to convince the parent not to leave or tor quickly return. A child may also show signs of fear or agitation when a parent is in another room or when they are left alone at bedtime. This anxiety is perfectly natural and serves to keep the child close to the care-giver who is their sources of love, nourishment and safety.
How you can ease separation anxiety
When should you worry about separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety can be affected by many things, illness, family upset, move of home or school and so on which can intensify anxiety or set back your child. If your toddler is showing excessive signs of anxiety such as vomiting or unrelenting worry, then contact your paediatrician.