At this time of year many children are making the transition from a fun filled summer to the excitement of a new school year. Having some anxiety and apprehension about a new situation is part of their normal development and with understanding and patience parents can help children build coping skills and their anxiety can be relieved.
However, some children’s anxiety is so intense that it becomes a separation anxiety disorder. These children’s fears keep them from normal activities. Here are some examples:
- Refusal to play with friends. They may become anxious just thinking about being away from their parent.
- Refusing to go to school and doing almost anything to stay at home.
- Reluctant to go to sleep for fear of being alone or due to nightmares about separation from a loved one.
- Claiming they have headaches or stomachaches to avoid separation
- Clinging to their caregiver or following them around-clinging to their arm or legs.
When children display these types of behaviors it is helpful to ask a professional for advice and guidance.