Separation anxiety is a condition where the child becomes nervous and fearful when separated from a parent, carer or are away from home.
Generally, children will go through a clingy stage during their development. This is completely normal. It’s natural for young children to feel a sense of anxiety when they’re separated from their parents – after all, their parents are who they associate with love and safety. But if this behaviour continues, it may be a sign of separation anxiety.
A child with separation anxiety may experience physical symptoms (such as headaches and a sore tummy) at the mere thought of being away from a parent. This fear of separation can be very distressing for the child, as well as the rest of the family. This upset can interfere with their development and ability to carry out normal activities, like going to school and making friends.
Signs of separation anxiety in children
Separation anxiety is common in children aged between six months and three years, so don’t worry if they appear overly-attached. In fact, this is often a sign of how well you’ve bonded. We know how difficult it can be to leave when your child is crying, but this shouldn’t last forever – most children will grow out of this phase after three years.