Ask a Pro – My five year old has separation anxiety

Ask a Pro – My five year old has separation anxiety


Hello. I’m a mom of two and a half year old boy and a 16 month old girl. My five-year-old boy has developed separation anxiety this past year. He saw all the time in virtual school and not going out often. Whenever anyone in the house goes out, especially myself. He gets upset, begs the person not to go and cries once distracted after the person leaves, he settles, but asks where they are frequently until we’re back home.



We’ve seen a lot of kids like this over the past year that have developed a lot more separation anxiety. So, you’re not alone. Your kid is not alone. Separation anxiety in toddlers and separation anxiety in babies is on the rise.

It depends how much it’s functionally impairing your child. If your child really can’t get through the day because he’s so nervous or stressed out with anxiety, that’s time to touch base with your clinician. And maybe think about working with a therapist or social worker or someone dealing with anxiety.

There’s a lot more anxiety for kids right now and for adults as well. If we’re starting to have fears around people coming and going about us, leaving the home or a child leaving the home, that can become functionally impairing.

It is sort of like a teeter-totter. How much is it impairing your life or your child’s life? And if you worry that it is impairing them, that’s when we just want to think about working with the therapist to work through those anxieties right now. Hopefully as we move towards more normalcy and we’re out there more and we’re seeing people more and those kinds of things that we did before, that anxiety will probably start to lessen.

When kids see us nervous about the pandemic and they know that we’re staying home, we’re not going to school and work, we’re not seeing friends and family, they’re of course going to absorb that. And even if we’re not outwardly talking about being stressed out, they feel that. Kids are little sponges. They feel our emotion.

A lot of kids are much more stressed these days, not because of anything we’ve said, but because of the way that we’re acting. You know, our shoulders are by our ears. We’re stressed, we’re burdened, and they get it. They’re going to feel that too. The more that you can relax and you as a family could go outside, and be active, the better.


Dr. Dina Kulik, Parent Playbook

Author, Dr. Dina Kulik

Author, Dr. Dina Kulik

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