Separation Anxiety

Your toddler cries as soon as she sees you starting to leave ! 

He/she hates to say goodbye because you won’t be seen around. What’s going on?

The first sign of this major developmental milestone will be an anxious reaction to unfamiliar people. As your pre-schooler begins to realise, that you are not there by his side, the anxiety steps in and peaks with the duration of 10 – 18 months. Separation anxiety is a common developmental phase which triggers the development of two common fears: a fear of strangers and a fear of being separated from you. This happens mostly when parents are the only caregivers and children tend to trust only on the caregivers. Hence goodbyes tend to confuse and upset them.

Having a few coping strategies can help the child overcome the anxiety. Following are some tips that can help you prepare your child for separation?

  • Gently introduce her/him to new situations and people. This will minimise her/his reactions and acclimatise to new places or people and may eventually give her an assurance her that this is normal.
  • Let your baby knows that she/he has other caregivers. Give her/him time to play or talk with the caregiver and get comfortable. Babies who are used to having other caregivers get over separation anxiety faster when they enter the preschool or kindergarten stage or are admitted into a new playschool.
  • Make goodbyes lighter and quicker. Don’t prolong goodbyes or resort to sneaking out. It’s best to let your child know you’re going and that you’ll be back soon.
  • Take a trial. If you’re leaving your toddler in a day care centre/playschool or plan to leave with a caregiver, first try out for an hour or so.  As your baby becomes familiar with the place and the people, you can extend the timing. Eventually, your child will get used to it and will remember that you return after you leave.
  • One thumb rule is don’t linger or turn-around to get a quick look while you are leaving. Also, once you leave the baby, don’t go back again to check her/him. This will only make it harder on her/him. You can just call and check if she/he is alright.
  • Keep your promises. It's important that you don’t make false promises. When you have promised to return, follow through it. This is how your child will develop confidence and cope with the separation.  This also helps kid develop coping skills and begins to learn the fundamental of what is once committed needs to be followed through.
  • Timing is everything. Don’t start a day care when the separation anxiety is at its peak i.e. between the age of 8 months to 1 year. And never force the child to go to someone if she doesn't want to. When you do this, child's stranger anxiety will evolve into full-fledged separation anxiety. Let her make acquaintances at her own pace.
  • Remember stranger anxiety can be a good sign that you and your child have a healthy attachment, which is essential for emotional development.
To understand this phenomena better listen to Oi Playschool’s Expert talk by clicking here: 

Why is reading to your child so important?


The benefits of reading start with the first book a baby hears. Reading to toddlers sets the foundation for later independent reading and gives them the very necessary emergent literacy skills they need. Exposure to reading right from the toddler or preschool-age prevents most reading problems.

Here are the advantages your child can receive by being exposed to reading:

  • Academic excellence - Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all stages of education.
  • Speech - Kids, who read often, gain a hone on reading skills. After all, practice makes you perfect!
  • Better communication - It gives a large vocabulary of words and an insight of how to use them. The child will also develop phonemic awareness and letter identification.
  • Brain stimulation - Reading strengthens brain connections by actually building network of new words.
  • Basics of how to read a book - Children not just learn new words as they read but also unconsciously absorb information about how to structure sentences and how to use words and language effectively.
  • Fundamentals of literacy - Reading introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colours, and shapes in a fun way. As the child approaches school age, he/she will have a better grasp of concepts.
  • Acclimatisation to new experiences - Reading a story dealing with a topic relating to the child’s experience shows him that it’s under norms and familiarises him to the know-hows.
  • Imagination - Reading lets the brain translate the descriptions we read of people, places and things into pictures. This imagination can greatly influence the child’s development.
  • Emotional development - Read to your child with expression, by changing the pitch of your voice higher or lower where it's appropriate or using different voices for different characters.  When you do this, your child hears you using many different emotions and expressive sounds, which fosters social and emotional development.
  • Cognitive skills - When you read stop once in a while and invite your baby to look, point, touch on the pictures or text. Simultaneously ask questions or make comments on the pictures (‘’Look what a cute kitty. What colour is her dress?’’) - All of this promotes social development and thinking skills.
  • Show that reading is fun- Use rhymes, sounds and actions so your baby gets connected and starts imitating sounds, recognizing pictures, and learning words. Help them view books as an indulgence so at a later stage they don’t take reading as a chore.

Read every day!

Note - Books for babies should have simple, repetitive text and clear pictures.