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Health Tip: Ease Separation Anxiety

(HealthDay News) -- It is common and perfectly natural for a young child to feel some separation anxiety when a guardian isn't nearby, Harvard Medical School experts say.

But if separation anxiety is strong enough to interfere with normal activities such as school and friendships, it may be cause for psychological counseling, the school says.

In cases of more typical separation anxiety, the school suggests:

  • Practice separating, so the child gets used to the idea. Schedule separations after naps or feedings when the child isn't tired or hungry.
  • Devise a short "goodbye" ritual, such as a wave or goodbye kiss.
  • Leave without making it a big deal.
  • Return to the child at the promised time.
  • Keep the child's surroundings familiar. It's better to have a sitter come to your home, instead of dropping the child off at an unfamiliar place.
  • Have a consistent caregiver, if possible.
  • Don't give in. Reassure the child that he or she will be fine while you're away.