Q:

What are the symptoms of toddler separation anxiety?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of separation anxiety in toddlers include tantrums and clingy behavior when the parent tries to leave, acting upset or restless when the parent goes into another room, and resisting other caregivers. Separation anxiety symptoms typically subside quickly once the parent is out of sight. In extreme cases, a child might show excessive worry for a while after the parent leaves or might experience vomiting due to extreme stress. Parents should contact a pediatrician if these symptoms occur.

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Full Answer

Separation anxiety is often strongest between 8 and 18 months of age, and most children with separation anxiety outgrow it by age 3. Signs of separation anxiety may recur at older ages when the child is sick or tired. Some children experience few to no signs of separation anxiety, while others experience severe symptoms during infancy and the toddler years. Family disruptions such as a divorce, death or a move can make separation anxiety worse.

Maintaining a regular routine, talking a toddler through the goodbye process and reassuring the child that the separation is only temporary can all help ease separation anxiety symptoms. A transitional object such as a photograph of the parent or a security object such as a favorite blanket can sometimes help calm a child with separation anxiety.

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