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Separation Anxiety and Very Young Children: Is it normal?

Maybe your baby or toddler clings to you and cries uncontrollably when you drop her off at daycare or she struggles to sleep in a separate room alone. You’re not sure how to console or comfort. You might even wonder if this is normal behavior and whether you should seek out professional help.

Separation anxiety in babies and toddlers is the result of normal developmental shifts in children’s understanding of themselves in relation to caregivers. Most often, this occurs simultaneously when learning how to crawl and/or walk.

Beyond normal development shifts, other factors that can contribute to separation anxiety in young children are:

  • Transitions: divorce, deployment, moving
  • Immigration concerns (deportation or fear of)
  • Trauma: domestic violence, natural disaster or witnessing a traumatic event
  • Medical events (hospitalizations, surgeries, procedures)

How long separation anxiety lasts in babies and toddlers varies greatly and depends on the child. Strategies for supporting young children as they move through this phase can range from validating a child’s feelings about separation to bringing family pictures to school/childcare centers.

Join us in our upcoming webinar and learn more about how developmental shifts contribute to separation anxiety in children under 8 and what strategies you can use to support young children as they move through this phase.



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