Separation Anxiety Do's and Dont's

Does your toddler cry uncontrollably when you try to leave him or her with a childcare provider—or even a close relative?

Separation anxiety is common among toddlers. In fact, some children can experience it from infancy through elementary school years. Try these strategies to help you both cope:

  • Do establish a pattern of cheerful goodbyes and reassurances that you’ll return. And do return when you say you will.

  • Don’t try to sneak away while your child isn’t looking; it may prompt even more anxiety.

  • Don’t head back to your child if her tears and distress escalate; trust that the caregiver knows how to comfort, reassure and distract her.

  • Do talk with your child’s doctor if your child’s anxiety begins to interfere with daily functioning.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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