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How to ease separation anxiety in kids

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Separation anxiety is very common in young children and a normal stage of development. In early childhood, you'll see crying, tantrums or clinginess.

Start by practicing separation in very small increments of time. With babies and toddlers, you can play Peek a Boo to teach them object permanence. Mom "disappears" and then "reappears".

Leave the room for a few minutes at a time. Make sure they see you walking into another room. Talk to them from another room where they can't see you. Come back into the room.

Have a caregiver play with them while you're at home to show you trust the caregiver. Have the caregiver and child acclimate to each other and develop a comfort level.

Run errands while the caregiver is there. Go after naps or feedings when the child is less likely to be tired or hungry. Make it a short goodbye. Don't draw it out or make a big deal out of it. Reassure the child you'll return. Simple goodbye rituals help, like blowing a kiss. Gradually increase the amounts of time you're gone.

Try to use the same caregiver whenever possible. Children feel more secure when it's the same person they know and trust.

Let children know ahead of time what to expect. Praise them for their efforts.

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