Home page

Who is AECYC

Affiliate with AECYC

Affiliated schools

AECYC seminars

AECYC workshops

Nursery schools

Guides for parents

Guides for caregivers




Positions available

Contact us

List of advertisers


Separation anxiety in the baby and toddler years
Charmaine Jooste

According to Sarah Abbot, director of Family Counselling Centre in Los Angeles, separation anxiety can strike any child at any given time even as sudden as overnight.

It can also resurface in the toddler-, preschool- and primary school years.  It is important to remember that separation anxiety is completely normal and even healthy in a sense.

Fortunately there is a lot a parent can do to relieve the child’s feelings of anxiousness. Separation anxiety looks slightly different in various phases and can be dealt with on different ways.

Baby phase (0 to 18 months)

Babies show signs of distress when a parent leaves the room because the parent is no longer physically available.  The anxiety is caused by the fact that baby does not know that the parent will return.

What to do?      

Toddler phase (18 to 36 months)

Toddlers have a strong sense of attachment to their parents.  They know that the parent will return but is afraid to let go. The anxiety can cause tantrums, emotional outbursts, lashing out, kicking, screaming and hysterical crying.

What to do?      



C. Jooste (1990), Separations Anxiety. University of Johannesburg.

S. Abbot (2001), Research on Separation Anxiety. University of Los Angeles.

Website by Ontoweb Media and Information Systems