You used to leave your baby with loved ones or other trusted child care providers with a kiss on the cheek and a quick wave goodbye. Separation anxiety seemed to be a problem only for other kids. Now, however, your goodbyes trigger tears. What's going on?

Between ages 8 and 12 months, children often experience a period of separation anxiety. Frustrating as it may be, separation anxiety is actually an emotional milestone. Your child is beginning to understand that there's only one of you — and you still exist even when you aren't in sight. This can trigger tears when you leave the room or clingy behavior when you attempt to say goodbye.

Separation anxiety usually fades by age 24 months. In the meantime, say goodbye gently and reassure your child that you'll return soon. Separation anxiety rarely requires medical treatment.

Jun. 08, 2012