Separation Anxiety in Child Care – Part 2

Dealing With Separation Anxiety in Child Careseparation-anxiety-in-child-care-

Back in May, I wrote about Elliott’s separation anxiety in child care. It’s been somewhat of an ongoing challenge, the things I mentioned I’ve been trying haven’t really worked because he still cries, screams, kicks and latches onto the gate because he simply does not want to go through the door of the day care centre.

The only thing that makes me feel a little better is the support from the teachers at the centre and their reassurance that his crying episodes last all of 5 minutes after I leave and then he goes on to have a wonderful day. The carers take photos and make a scrapbook and it’s so comforting seeing him playing with the other children, building blocks, painting and enjoying himself.

But I still want to figure out why he gets so emotionally worked up in the mornings. It sometimes starts at home when he knows exactly where he’s going and if not at home, it starts once we turn down the street his daycare centre is in.

Since my last post, he’s moved to two days per week and on consecutive days. I really thought this would make things easier for him, but it hasn’t made much of a difference. I look at all the other children who happily skip into daycare, excited to leave their parents and play with the other children and I wonder why my son isn’t that way. Is it something I’m doing wrong or is he putting on a show for me?

I remember talking on the parenting panel on 612 ABC radio Brisbane a couple of months back and we spoke about the topic of separation anxiety. There was another fellow on the panel with me, his boys were teenagers but his suggestion was that if a child doesn’t like a daycare centre, to move them to another one. I just don’t think it’s as easy as that. It’s actually a huge risk, especially when Elliott can’t exactly talk to me about it and tell me why he’s upset. From what I can see, he is going to a perfectly good and supportive centre and it’s likely that the exact same thing will happen at another centre and who knows, will the other centre be just as good?

I’ve done some more research to find a couple of other ideas I can implement to make this process less stressful for both of us. This is what I think I might try next.

Other ideas for dealing with my toddler’s separation anxiety

  • Leaving him with some sort of memento to remind him of me. It can’t be something that he’s going to lose at daycare, so I love the idea of drawing a picture on his hand and I draw the same on mine, so everytime he looks at it, he will remember me.
  • Prepare him the night before by telling him what’s going to happen in the morning and what he’ll be doing the next day.
  • Being more specific. I know I’ve been telling him ‘I’ll be back this afternoon’ but I’ve since realised that he still doesn’t have a concept of time so I have to be more specific and explain it in a way he’ll understand. So instead, I’m going to try something like ‘I’ll be back to pick you up after you have your afternoon tea’.
I know that separation anxiety is normal and that it’s a sign of meaningful attachment, but it’s still so difficult to endure.
What ways have you dealt with separation anxiety and how long did it take to rectify?

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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4 Comments

  1. August 12, 2014 / 6:05 pm

    My son suffered this too when he started kindy. Unfortunately, he was the same for 2 years. When we moved, I waited 10 months to move him to a new kindy – I didn’t want to go through all this at a new center. 10 months later we moved, and he didn’t cry ONCE in the 14 months he went there! Not telling you to switch centers, I don’t have ANY tips, sorry, just support. Nothing worse than leaving your child so upset. 🙁

  2. August 12, 2014 / 8:21 pm

    So my youngest has screamed every day since he started daycare nearly two years ago… he has his good days but it’s not easy. I’m hoping mine will grow out of it and he knows I love him… x

  3. Hugzilla
    August 12, 2014 / 8:27 pm

    Oh yes, this is such a hard transition. I wish I had some answers for you, because it really tugs at the heartstrings. Poor little guy, I hope you see some improvement soon xx

  4. August 13, 2014 / 2:28 pm

    My youngest has horrible separation anxiety and I can’t leave her anywhere. She will hyperventilate and nearly throw up. Her older sister would throw up.
    I don’t work, so I’ve just always had her with me, but next year she will be in pre-school so I’m unsure how she will go. I’m hoping she will have grown up enough to cope by then, but I guess we will wait and see.