SEPARATION anxiety can begin in the first year of a baby’s life, and as your little one grows they may dip in and out of this.

Be reassured it is just a phase which may also occur during times when your little one is unwell, or there has been a change in family life such as a new sibling or moving home.

Other high-risk times can be when our children attend a new childcare setting such as nursery or school. This is quite normal and is a sign of healthy development as it shows attachment to you. With your support your children will learn how to manage these sometimes overwhelming feelings.

- Spend short amounts of time away from your child and increase this gradually.

- Explain what will happen when you leave your child for the first time.

- Make sure you have time to stay the first time to settle them into their new environment.

- Encourage your child to get involved in an activity.

- When it’s time to leave don’t be tempted to sneak away when they are busy elsewhere; this encourages anxiety and your child will spend the whole time looking for you and worrying that you are not going to return.

- Tell them where you are going and when you will return.

- Say goodbye and leave (this is the hardest thing you will ever do if your little one is clinging to you and crying!).

- When you return, remember to spend quality time together.

Do bear in mind it might be you that has the separation anxiety as your child confidently leaves you!


NEXT WEEK: Baby talk