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Fear and Anxiety in Children-Part 4-Fear of Separation and Baths

Fear of separation:

Toddlers’ anxiety about separation is an indication of growth.  Before the toddler turned 2, they forgot when the parent left and settled down quickly.  Now the child worries about and puzzles over the parent’s departure.  Parents should always tell their child that they are leaving and not sneaking out which causes a decrease in trust.  Parents should help get the child absorbed in an activity before they leave.   An elaborate ritual of waving bye-bye and blowing good-bye kisses also may help.

Preschoolers are more self‑assured than toddlers, but occasionally experience fears about being separated from a parent when starting a new school or child care arrangement, staying overnight with a relative, or moving to a new home.  Ease into new situations gradually.  Parents should visit the new school several times before the first day or stay with the child for the first day or two can make a big difference.

Fear of baths:

Many young children worry about going down the drain with the water.  No amount of logical talk will change this.  Avoid letting the water drain out while your child is still in the tub or even in the bathroom.  If a child seems fearful of water, you might try letting them play first with a pan of water, then in the sink and finally over the edge of the tub (don’t leave a child alone in the bathroom).

Next time: Fear of dogs, loud noises and dark



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