Thanks a ton for joining us as we tackle this issue that every preschool parent faces, how do I help my child overcome separation anxiety? Sometimes it’s helpful to know there is safety in numbers, and this is definitely the case with separation anxiety.
Although almost every child will deal with some level of separation anxiety, WHEN this occurs differs from child to child. The common age range for separation anxiety is from 8 months to 2 ½ years of age. Eventually your little one will be able to understand that you’ll come back, and that will be the comfort that carries them through during separation. But what do you do in the mean time? How do you handle the in between that can be months long?
As you drop off your kiddo to daycare, church, or with a sitter, as a parent we know, we should just say our goodbye, give a kiss, then turn around and leave. Those cries we hear at departure time are ones that completely tear at our heart-strings. God gave us our child to keep them safe, so when we hear scared cries that accompany good-byes, we automatically want to run back to take the tears away. So even though separation anxiety is a normal part of preschool development, it can be quite unsettling.
God clearly knows well that each of us will deal with anxiety in some form. There are 66 books of the Bible and in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM there is some sort of reference for dealing with anxiety. As adults we have the ability to logically discern the potential reality of our worries. A child does not. They only know what exists presently in their mind.
Knowing our child is struggling with separation can feed into our own anxiety. Our child senses our anxiety and that feeds their anxiety, which has the potential to cause a VISCIOUS cycle!
One of the best things we can do is deal with our own anxiousness over the separation. Philippians 4:6 states, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Separation anxiety can be worsened by how we as parents deal with it. As you drop off your little one, cling to this verse from Philippians! Say it to yourself as you turn your back and walk away. Then present your request to God. Ask Him, God please help calm my baby. Help them to realize that I will be back. Keep them safe while away from me.
How a kid handles the separation varies. The emotions of a kid dealing with separation anxiety can range from a timid look with a downcast face all the way to a wailing child who has death gripped themselves around your leg. No matter how your child is fleshing out the emotion of separation anxiety there is something that we can do to help.
Our next online parenting class will take some time to give you practical tools for dealing with separation anxiety in your child. In the meantime realize God wants our anxiety. He tells us to cast our worries on Him because He cares for us.