Have a safe waving point in Childcare

Separation anxiety in children is when children fear being parted from their parents or guardians. It’s common and normal among babies and toddlers. A very small number of preschoolers and school-age children develop a more serious form of the condition, called separation anxiety disorder. There are things you can do if you have a child with either of these issues.

Identifying separation anxiety in children

Separation anxiety reaches its peak in babies aged 14-18 months and typically decreases throughout early childhood.

Stranger anxiety is similar to separation anxiety and involves wariness and distress in the presence of unfamiliar people. It can occur from 7-10 months and usually decreases after the child’s first birthday.

These anxieties are a normal part of development, and are nothing to be concerned about. After all, these anxieties happen when children are becoming more mobile, so they make sense from a survival point of view. That is, if children could crawl or walk away from their carers but weren’t afraid of separation or strangers, they would get lost more easily.

Separation anxiety disorder in children

As children reach preschool and school age, they’re less likely to experience separation anxiety. Of course, there’ll always be times when they only want to be with you.

If children in this age group seem particularly and regularly distressed about being separated from their parents, it’s possible they might have separation anxiety disorder. According to a 2009 study, 4% of preschoolers and school-age children develop this condition.

Separation anxiety disorder is defined as occurring when the:

  • anxiety interferes with the child’s life, and subsequently the parent’s life
  • severity of the anxiety is inappropriate for the child’s developmental level
  • characteristics of separation anxiety have gone on for at least four weeks.

If you’re concerned your child might have separation anxiety disorder, look out for instances when she:

  • dislikes being separated from you
  • worries that you or she might get hurt or have an accident
  • refuses to go to child care, preschool or school
  • refuses to sleep at other people’s places without you
  • complains about feeling sick when separate

PDF Education Supplies have made this weatherproof sign to leave outside so children can may be wave a special flag from this special spot and help ease the separation worries

Notes form Raising Children Australia and sign from PDF Education Supplies


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