If your toddler panics every time you so much as try to leave the room, it could be due to separation anxiety. This extreme stress at being away from a parent usually begins during the first year and generally peaks between 15 and 30 months.
Separation anxiety tends to be more common in cautious or shy children who have a hard time with change and are particularly wary of anybody who isn’t close family. It can also be exacerbated by different circumstances such as a new home, school, or sibling.
Like all childhood stages, your child will outgrow this phase. In the meantime, however, here are a few ideas for coping with clinginess:
Play hide and seek
This will teach your child that even if you disappear, you always return.
Start with short-term separations – leaving her with a grandparent for a couple of hours, for example – before you work up to biggies like playgroup or school.
Find a replacement
Before you go out, give your child her favourite teddy or blanket to comfort her when you leave.
Don’t ever sneak out of the house or leave without saying good bye as this will just distress your toddler and make her feel even more insecure.
Most children get over separation anxiety by the age of three, so it won’t be long before your toddler lets go of your trouser leg!