Dealing With My Toddler’s Separation Anxiety

Don’t Go, Mummy!

toddler separation anxiety
For a little while now, Elliott has been going to daycare one day a week so I can have a day where I can properly focus on my writing work. Elliott has been to daycare before, but it was quite a while ago and he has become acclimatised to being with Mummy 24/7.

Since his first day back at daycare, each Monday has been very difficult for him and for me. The crying and waterfalls of tears begin as soon as we drive into the carpark of the daycare centre. On a couple of occasions, Elliott has seen me packing his bag at home and the tears have started earlier as well as the hiding and refusing to get his clothes on.

I know it doesn’t help that he only goes one day per week, if we could afford it we would send him two days, but at the moment I’ve been trying to focus on making his one day a week visits easier for him.

One thing that is reassuring is that his daycare teacher told me that his crying lasts about 5 minutes and he enjoys himself for the rest of the day. But, I’m still doing my best to ease him into his daycare visits as best as I can to reduce his stress and make it a more enjoyable experience.

Even though it’s a work in progress, here are the steps that I take to try to make Elliott’s transition more bearable:

  1. On his first day, I made sure I stayed with him for a while so he got used to his new surroundings and his new carers. Funnily, his first day he was absolutely fine but I think the fact that I left him there, was a little disturbing.
  2. I’ve never ever sneak out while he isn’t looking. Apart from not having the heart to be able to do something like that, it’s all about building his trust.
  3. I try not to hang around too long and cuddle him otherwise this just drags it out and makes it even harder for him. I try to break the ties once I’ve said what I need to (see next points).
  4. I always let him carry a comforter like his blankey named ‘Ellie’ and up until recently, I allowed him to keep his dummy.
  5. I always tell him that I will be back in the afternoon. This reassures him.
  6. I try to be a reliable Mummy and turn up at the same time each week because I know he expects me then.
  7. When we are driving to daycare and when we get into the daycare centre, I make sure I talk about the day and what fun he’s going to have. I try to make it sound positive and fun but I also let him know that it’s ok to cry and that I love him.

It’s heartbreaking seeing Elliott so upset, but I believe that if I follow my little rules, one day he will move past his anxiety, build confidence and not encounter these speed bumps when it comes to school time.

When I go to pick him up in the afternoon, I go outside and spot him in the playground, I’ll stand for a moment and just watch him play until he catches my eye. The smile that appears on his face and the way his eyes light up when he sees me just makes me melt. I definitely miss him just as much as he misses me.

How do you deal with separation anxiety with your children?

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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