is related to attachment, but other issues are involved, too. Most children
have some separation anxiety. Separation anxiety happens when a child
becomes separated from a person to whom he is attached at some level.
Some children will have separation anxiety when the parent leaves. It
looks like the child is afraid of never seeing the parent again. Some
children might show separation anxiety from the provider.
Sometimes children act upset before the separation even happens if the
child knows it is coming. For example, a child may start crying as soon
as the parent opens the door to leave the childcare setting. Some children
might start crying as soon as they get in the car to come to childcare.
It could even start as soon as the child puts on her coat. The child
knows that a separation from her parent is going to happen, and she
doesn’t like it.
Parents and caregivers can do things that make
separation easier or harder for the child. You can help a parent
understand good ways to say goodbye to a child. Saying goodbye and making
transitions in certain ways can help when a child is experiencing separation
anxiety. After a child stays in childcare for a while, he becomes used
to the idea of leaving his parents for the day. He will get comfortable
in the new setting. Then separation anxiety will be easier to deal with.
Separation anxiety can happen at many ages, but it will look different.
Infants are likely to cry and whine. Older children are more likely
to get moody. Some older children will not cling to the parent or cry
because they want to look grown up and “save face.” Some
youngsters may hide or refuse to get out of the car when parents try
to drop them off. Others may think of a thousand ways to stall the parent.
Some are very good at making the parent feel guilty.
One thing that helps a child cope with separation anxiety is leaving
him with a responsible
provider. A responsible provider attends to his needs and comforts him
when he needs it. This helps him feel secure and safe. It is important
to remember, though, that many parents, children, and providers will
continue to have some problems with transitions. It may take a long
time to get over rough goodbyes. Those same children may have a very
difficult time leaving the childcare setting at the end of the day,