My oldest children are only 18 months apart. Due to their closeness in age, they have always been the best of friends, spending every moment with one another for years. When my oldest son started school and my other son was too young to go, I never expected they would experience separation anxiety from one another. I had expected my oldest to maybe experience separation anxiety from me but never his brother.
With one child out of the house, both children experienced severe separation anxiety from one another during school hours. Dealing with the separation anxiety among the siblings has been difficult, but I have found a few things have made the transition to separation a little smoother and the anxiety has begun to decrease.
When you have children that spend all of their time with one another, it’s important to prepare them each by spending time away from one another. You can begin preparing your children for the separation by practicing the separation from one another. Begin giving them naps at separate times, feeding them separately, and taking one child on an outing by themselves. Try to get them to play separately for one another. These little things will help prevent the separation anxiety they will experience.
Children thrive when they are a product of a routine. To make the separation anxiety among siblings easier, it’s important you develop a routine for when the children leave each another. A “good-bye” routine will teach the children what to expect when they are separated from one another. The good-bye routine should be kept short and simple. If you drag out the good-bye process the children will have the opportunity to let their anxiety build. It is important to keep the good-bye routine as constant as possible so the children become accustom to the routine quicker and they know what to expect.
When you are dealing with siblings who suffer from separation anxiety from one another, it is important to be understanding and patient with each child’s feelings. As the children become accustom to the separation, their anxiety will begin to dissipate until it’s no longer an issue. However, don’t be surprised that if you break the routine and the amount of time one child is gone increases, then the separation anxiety will return. Therefore, remember to keep the separation from one another as scheduled and consistent as possible.
“Separation Anxiety in Children” HelpGuide.org
“Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Small Children” Pregnancy.org