How to Deal with Separation Anxiety

dealing with separation anxiety

When planning to return to work, start preschool, or even a drop-off activity class, know that there may be some separation anxiety involved.

This process may actually evoke feelings of sadness on both ends. Knowing this won’t change the feelings, but it will help you in your approach to your new routine.

Why Does Separation Anxiety Occur

Infants and toddlers often feel sad when they are initially left with a nanny or a daycare provider, or a teacher. As parents/guardians, we are often tempted to stay and soothe our child until they are ready for us to go. Unfortunately, prolonging goodbyes simply delays the inevitable.

There isn’t an exact science to avoiding it, unfortunately. It is a transition for your child(ren) to turn to others as a form of care or learning, which will happen at some point in their life. Not having their own parents around is a big step. Not all kids may go through it, some may get over it sooner than others, but there is no meaning behind why one may go through it.

separation anxiety

Tips to Soothe Separation Anxiety

Here are some tips, suggested by early childhood educators, that may help the transition.

Quick Drop-off

One of the easiest ways to ease the transition for your child is to make your drop off routine short and sweet. This can be accomplished by giving your child a big hug and kiss, telling them you love them and that you will be back later, and simply handing them to your caregiver and walking away with confidence.

It’s OK to Cry

Give yourself permission to have a cry about it in the car, but stay confident and strong while walking out the door.

Stay in Touch

To ease the inevitable “mom guilt,” have your nanny text when your child stops crying or call the daycare once you’re settled at work and ask how she’s doing.

Be Excited

Be excited leading up to drop-off and talk about the exciting things they will do in their class or daycare. Have follow-up questions ready for pick-up so that you can build the excitement for the next drop-off and tell them they can show you or teach you something they learned.


Kids are extremely intuitive as you know. So acknowledge that it may have been hard, but that you are proud of them. This will help in their confidence to accomplish a hurdle or doing something that was tough, plus kids love hearing praise.



*Images courtesy of ShutterStock

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