Along with the blowing out of the candle on his very first birthday cake, you may find that your child will celebrate turning one by becoming teary and clingy when you try to leave him with another carer. And this someone else could be his beloved grandmother who he’s seen every week for his entire life. While this sudden turn of events can be unsettling, separation anxiety is a perfectly normal part of childhood development.
How does separation anxiety develop?
Under 6 months:
- When your baby is a newborn, he will adapt to a range of caregivers quickly and easily.
- As long as his needs are being met, he will usually adjust well to other people.
- In the first few months, it’s more likely that you will be the one suffering from separation anxiety!
Between 4 and 7 months:
- Your baby will begin to understand that people and objects still exist even when he can’t see them – this is called object permanence.
- While he realises that you still exist when you’re not in his range of vision, he doesn’t have any concept of time and so can’t predict when you’ll return.
- At this age, a game of ‘Peekaboo’ is the best entertainment in the world.
Between 8 and 12 months:
- While your child is growing into an independent toddler, he may become unsure about being separated from you.
- Your child may become agitated and upset whenever you try to leave him.
- Regardless of where you’re going or who you’re leaving him with, he will cling to you and resist engaging with the other caregiver.
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