Children can encounter many different types of anxieties and fears as they go through early childhood. Separation anxiety is one of these types of fears.
As children enter into preschool and begin the transition into kindergarten, they may begin to have fears about growing up, being away from their parents and losing their parents. It can be very typical for children between the ages of 4 and 6 to start verbalizing and expressing these fears. This age is a time of increased independence and transitions which can lead to increased anxiety for many children. Here are some strategies to help your child deal with these concerns:
Strategies for Managing Separation Anxiety in the Young Child:
- Empathize with your child and to let them know that you are his/her forever family.
- Let your child know that they are not alone and that many children have these same concerns and fears.
- Avoid giving too much reassurance to your child because this can lead to increased anxiety and dependence on you.
- Use books as a resource. Books that focus on transitions and feelings can be very helpful at this age. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney are great books to use to help ease transitions and to reduce the fears of being separated from parents.
If you notice that your child exhibits worries and fears about growing up and losing his parents and these fears do not subside within several weeks, it is recommended that you seek advice from a mental health professional in order to identify if your child needs assistance from someone to reduce their fears.