Some separation anxiety among toddlers is considered perfectly normal. It tends to come and go, being worse on some days than others, depending on what is going on in the toddler’s life and his or her unfathomable mind.

Toddlers are still learning about the world, and have not yet learned effective coping mechanisms. Their cognitive development does not allow them to accommodate sophisticated concepts, which makes them prone to what seem to adults like irrational fears. This sort of anxious developmental stage is a normal part of growing up.

Sometimes, however, separation anxiety can present a real problem and may require some more focused coping mechanisms. Psychologists call separation anxiety that is beyond the usual clinginess Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Here are some signs of normal separation anxiety, as well as some hints as to when it may need therapy or treatment.