Monday, September 24, 2012

Separation anxiety in toddlers

As a SAHM, I felt it was important for Julien to attend nursery school. I wanted him to be around other kids his age, and get a feel for what it was like with me not around.

I was quite certain that we would have issues at drop-off because he showed signs of separation anxiety - just when I left a room. Even if he knew I was going to the kitchen for a drink, he would scream and cry if I didn't bring him with me.  Nursery school drop-off proved no different.

The first morning, they had to pry him off of me - while he screamed and cried.  I told him I loved him, gave him a kiss, waved good bye and walked out the door. Yes, it was difficult to leave him like that, but I was given tips ahead of time that prepared me for that morning - and I am going to pass those on to you.

- don't sneak out without saying goodbye (as hard as it is, they need to KNOW you are leaving)
- tell them when you will be back (I always said after storytime, as that is when the parents came to p/u) but you could say after nap, snack etc...give them something in the routine that they can associate your arrival with)
- make it QUICK (the longer you linger, the longer they will be upset - tell them you love them, quick kiss, goodbye and LEAVE)
- DON'T come back in again, or it will prolong the process or start it over
- TRUST that you have made the right choice in daycare provider, and that they will be able to handle it
- if your worried- CALL the provider and ask how things went
- MAJORITY of children, calm down almost immediately after their parent leaves....
- you could give them a picture to keep in their pocket, so that they can look at it if they miss you too much
- don't be afraid to tell them that you will be missing them also, and that you will be thinking about them during the day
- remember, it may not resolve itself immediately (Julien cried at drop-off for 1.5 yrs) but the most important thing is that they are happy when you pick them up. If they don't want to leave, then you can bet they love the place.

Do you have any tips? did your child have issues at drop-off?


  1. Glad to hear that the transition went smoothly (for Mommy too). We're not sure what we'll be doing with the kids but they go to a weekly playgroup and don't pay any attention to me. Thanks for the tips, I'm sure they'll come in handy someday.

    Besos, Sarah
    Zookeeper at Journeys of The Zoo

  2. These are great tips, I am going to need these when I go back to work in January. She is already showing signs of separation anxiety. (Screaming when I leave the room)

  3. All your tips are good. I wish it worked with my daughter who not only suffers from separation anxiety from us but also from her twin brother as she is a twinless twin.

    It is one thing she has always struggled with. I am glad the transition for you went smoothly.

  4. Those are great tips! When both my little ones first started I dropped them off and told them that the bus would bring them home after last recess. I made sure to say goodbye because that is important. They actually were both excited to start school, had no issues, which surprised me because I'm a WAHM and have always been with the kids, but they loved it!

  5. Great tips! My daughter has been at the same school for 3 years now and is JUST getting over the drop off trauma. I was told by a child care worker that this is normal until about the age of 5 -6.

  6. I am having these issues as the SAHM. I hate to say good bye!

  7. Oh I remember when my little one started daycare and going through this. I had been at home with her for the first 13 months and it was a hard transition. I used all of these tips and it helped a lot.

  8. Really good tips! I lingered at preschool with my oldest and then snuck out. I guess I broke your rules. hehe!

  9. We had similar issues when DD started preschool. I was SURE ds would follow because he actually never went to preschool before starting JK this year but we were lucky he was a big brave boy! Its so hard to transition sometimes but you sound like you're doing an amazing job! I hope it continues to progress well for you and your little one :)

  10. Great tips. Sometimes it is hard on me!


I love hearing from my readers, feel free to leave me a comment! (Comment Moderation is enabled, it will be published after approval)