Toddler Separation Anxiety

Month 13

Unlike when he was a baby, your toddler now knows that when you leave you always come back. So why does your toddler cling to you every time you try to walk out the door? While separation anxiety isn't easy, it’s completely normal and should fade by the time your child reaches his second birthday.

To ease your own separation anxiety, make each parting sweeter and less sorrowful with these exit strategies:

  • Every time you have to leave, even if only for a few minutes, follow the same routine.
  • Never sneak out -- your toddler will always worry that you're going to disappear again. Say good-bye each time.
  • Ask your babysitter or nanny to distract your child while you go out the door. Exit quickly to reduce the drama.
  • When you return, give your child a big hug to let him know you love him and missed him.

Your Toddler's Development This Month

Now that your toddler has passed his first birthday, he’s gaining more control over his world every day.

He’s also learning that it’s fun to play:

  • When he pushes a button on a toy, it makes a noise.
  • When he speaks into a telephone, a voice responds.
  • When he makes a funny face, others laugh.

Your 13-month-old is learning to:

  • Play pretend games -- like feeding a doll or stuffed animal
  • Mimic your actions
  • Hide toys and then find them

Encourage him to keep exploring and trying new things -- under your watchful eye, of course.

Month 13 Tips

  • Toddlers need fats in their diet. So fill about half of his diet with whole milk and other fats like nut butters, avocado, and hummus.
  • Give your child time each day to walk, run, and climb to strengthen his muscles.
  • Expand your child’s vocabulary by reading, singing, and talking to him every day.
  • Toddlers have trouble telling you when they're hurt or sick. Look for clues like extra fussiness or tugging on an ear or limb.
  • If your child is still nursing and you’d like to wean, do it slowly. Drop one feeding at a time.
  • When you have to give your child medicine, read the package carefully. Make sure the dose is right for your toddler's age and weight.
  • Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until his 2nd birthday or until he reaches the seat's height and weight limit.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on July 25, 2019



American Academy of Pediatrics: "Toddler Speech Development;" "Movement and Coordination;" "Feeding and Nutrition: Your One Year Old;" "Emotional Development: 1 Year Olds;" and "Cognitive Development: One-Year-Old."

AboutKidsHealth: "Assessing Toddlers and Preschoolers (Age One to Four)."

CDC: "Child Development, Toddlers" and "Child Passenger Safety Fact Sheet -- Motor Vehicle Safety."

FDA: "Consumer Updates -- Giving Medication to Children."

AboutKidsHealth: "Feeding Your Baby: Weaning."

Am Fam Physician: "Nutrition in Toddlers."

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