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Q:

How do I deal with my toddler's separation anxiety?

Hi everyone, I am a first-time parent to a 2-year-old toddler who is struggling with separation anxiety. Every time I drop him off at daycare or leave him with a babysitter, he cries and clings to me. It breaks my heart to see him upset and it also makes it difficult for me to leave. I have tried to reassure him and tell him I will be back soon, but it doesn't seem to help. I am wondering if any other parents have had a similar experience with their toddlers and how they dealt with it? Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

All Replies

cristal.fadel

I completely understand how you feel. My twin toddlers experienced separation anxiety around the same age. My husband and I had to be extra patient and sensitive to their emotional needs.

One thing that helped us was setting up a reward system. We would offer a small treat or a fun activity, such as playing with their favorite toys, when they successfully parted ways without fuss. This positive reinforcement served as a motivator and made drop-offs much easier.

Another thing that was helpful was adjusting our language. Instead of saying "I have to go to work," we would say "I will be back soon." This change in language reassured them that we would return and helped them to relax.

Finally, communication was essential. We would talk to their daycare teachers about their separation anxiety and create a plan to ease them into their daily routine. This created a sense of continuity and provided a seamless transition from home to daycare.

Remember that every child is different, and eventually, things will get better. Don't hesitate to try different strategies until you find what works best for you and your child.

rosie.davis

Hi there! I can definitely relate to what you're going through. When my daughter was around the same age, she struggled with separation anxiety as well. It was tough on both of us.

What ended up working for us was giving her a special item to hold onto when I left, such as a favorite toy or a family photo. We also created a consistent goodbye routine, so she knew what to expect when I left. For example, we would hug and say "I love you" three times before I walked out the door.

It took some time and patience, but eventually, my daughter began to feel more comfortable with being left with other caregivers. Hang in there and know that it's a phase that will pass. Best of luck to you!

dkoss

As someone who's gone through separation anxiety with my child, my heart goes out to you. When my daughter was around two years old, she would have a meltdown every time I left the room. Whether it was a new babysitter, grandparents or even when I headed to the bathroom, the result was the same – lots of screaming and tears.

One thing that helped us was to become involved in play therapy. Play therapy provided a safe space for my daughter to work through some of her anxieties and fears in a non-judgmental environment. It gave her a chance to express herself and get creative, using toys, games, and art materials.

In addition to that, we kept a consistent routine with a predictable schedule, which seemed to reassure my daughter that things were going as expected. Not surprisingly, establishing a routine can reduce anxiety and also help children learn self-regulation skills.

Lastly, affirmations and positive reinforcement played a significant role in our case. I would praise her and provide positive feedback every time she coped with a situation without breaking down, which built her confidence over time.

Remember, even though separation anxiety is difficult, it's a normal part of a very important developmental stage, and it will typically improve on its own. With patience, love, and a little creativity, both you and your toddler will get through this together.

jody.flatley

I understand how difficult this can be for you as a parent. My son was also 2 when he started having separation anxiety. It is natural for toddlers to feel anxious when they are separated from their parents, especially when they are in a new environment.

What worked for us was spending more time at his daycare during the initial days. This helped him to get familiarized with the environment, and also helped him to connect with his teacher and peers. I also kept a consistent goodbye routine, which made it easier for him to process and understand that it was time for me to leave. Additionally, we created a special song that we would sing while saying goodbye, which helped him relax.

It's important to be patient, as this is a phase that will pass. Remember that separation anxiety is a sign of a strong emotional bond with your child. Stay positive and reassure your toddler that you will always come back. This will help build their trust and confidence over time. I hope this helps!

zetta24

Hi there, I can relate to the separation anxiety you're experiencing with your toddler. My son struggled with it when he first started preschool, and I found it challenging to leave him there.

What worked well for us was creating a social story. We drew out a story that talked about what was going to happen during the day at preschool and what he could expect. We also included a section about what he could do when he was feeling sad or anxious.

Another thing that helped was to give him a sense of control. We offered him choices over small things like which breakfast cereal to eat or what socks to wear, which gave him a sense of ownership over the day ahead.

Finally, we created a goodbye ritual that he looked forward to. We would sing a song together and end with hugs and kisses, which seemed to help him relax and start his day off on a positive note.

Separation anxiety is common among toddlers, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Remember to be patient, reassuring, and flexible as you work through this phase together.

marquise56

I completely understand what you're going through, as my daughter also experienced separation anxiety around the age of two. I found it incredibly challenging to deal with, but the following strategies truly helped her.

Firstly, we talked about it a lot. I acknowledged her feelings and explained to her what separation anxiety is and that lots of other children go through the same thing. I listened to her concerns, and this helped her feel heard and supported.

Next, we practiced short separations. We would have playdates at a friend's house for an hour or two, which helped my daughter practice being away from me without feeling too overwhelmed. This gradually increased her comfort level.

Another tactic that helped was to talk positively about daycare or the babysitter. We talked about how much fun she would have, the friends she would play with, and the new things she would learn. This helped her see the separation as an opportunity for positive experiences.

Finally, we created a goodbye routine. We would repeatedly say "See you soon" and offer big hugs and kisses when it was time for me to leave. We also used a transition object, such as a favorite stuffed toy, to provide her with an added sense of security.

Remember that each child is different, so try different things until you find what works for your toddler. Be patient and understanding, and take things one day at a time.

kkozey

I can relate to the anxiety you are feeling as a parent. When my son was 3 years old, he also experienced separation anxiety, and I found it difficult to leave him at preschool.

One thing that worked for us was giving him a "goodbye book" that we would read together every time I had to leave. We filled it with pictures of us, and also pictures of him playing with his friends at school. This helped him to remember that school was fun and that we would be reunited in a few hours.

Another thing that helped was using a transitional object such as a favorite stuffed animal or blanket that he could bring along. This provided him with a sense of security when I wasn't there.

It's crucial to be patient and understanding during this phase, and always provide lots of love and reassurance. Remember that toddlers are still learning to regulate their emotions and need our support.

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