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Best Ways to Handle Separation Anxiety

I remember the days of my military career, there would be times when I had to leave my now 3 year old for weeks on end. It was tough for me but especially tougher on her. I remember the first time I left and came back, she looked at me like I was a total stranger. It was then I decided that as soon as I was able I was leaving the army and I was going to spend more time with her. Leaving your children is hard enough, but when you have a child with separation anxiety, it can be even more challenging. If your child has a hard time being left behind, there are ways you can handle the situation so that separation anxiety becomes a thing of the past. Check out these best ways to handle separation anxiety.

Prepare Them

If you’re planning on leaving your child at a daycare or with a family member, be sure to prepare them first. It can be shocking for your child to be suddenly dropped off somewhere unfamiliar with no warning. This can cause separation anxiety to develop, especially if they don’t know what to expect. To help keep this from happening, be sure to prepare your child first. Let your child know where they’ll be going and what they’ll do while there. You’ll also want to let your child know when you’ll be back.

Give Them Something Familiar

If your child is anxious about being left behind, be sure to give them something familiar to be comforted with. This could be anything, including leaving your child with a familiar caretaker or sending them off with a favorite toy or blanket. By giving your child something familiar, they’ll be more likely to adapt to unfamiliar situations. This can help lessen their separation anxiety so that you can leave them for a few hours.

Get Them Excited

To help handle your child’s separation anxiety, you’ll want them to get excited about being left behind. Arrange to have a grandparent or close family member take your child somewhere fun, like the zoo or park. For the hours or days prior to this excursion, continue to hype up your child about the event. Let them know how much fun they’ll have so that when it’s time to leave, they’ll be excited to go.

Practice At Home

If your child is extremely anxious when you leave, you might want to practice at home. Follow all of the previous steps, but instead of leaving the building, you’ll only be leaving the room. You can still let your child know what to expect and get them excited. Give them a new toy or something exciting to do in the room by themselves while you step out and then return within the time frame you’ve given them. This last part is extremely important so that your child can learn to trust that you’ll return after you’ve left.

It can be very hard to leave your child when they’re feeling anxious, but this is an important step in their development.

What are some ways you handle your child’s separation anxiety?

Annmarie John
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  1. As you know I have no children and I can not imagine what you went through every time you had to leave her--much less what she went through. With lots of love, which I am positive she gets, she will eventually get over this totally. It sounds like you had great ways of dealing with it which others should emulate. So happy for both of you that you are now there with her and do not have to leave her for extended periods of time anymore.

  2. I work in the church nursery so I will use these tips. I find distracting the kids by looking out the window for birds helps me calm the kids.

  3. My youngest was the worst at preparing for when I left. She would sit there and cry the entire time I was gone screaming "Mommy Come Home!" (my husband video taped her for proof lol). This is a horrible suggestion, but when my best friend would leave her kids here, I always bribed them with Tic Tacs. Yes, I was the candy lady and they loved it lol.

  4. These are excellent tips. As a mom, I always hated dropping off my kids at daycare. I am thankful that I get to spend plenty of time with my youngest son now.

  5. We always prepare our son for where we're going, where he will be staying, and when we'll be back. It helps that he's over 3 years old and can understand us for the most part.

  6. I dont even have kids yet and I know this will be me lol great tips! xo

  7. I cannot imagine the pain of leaving your precious one behind. How amazing you are now able to be there. Thank you for your service.

  8. It really is traumatic for these babies because they can't understand where mom has gone or why she would leave. But these tips are really good! Thanks!

  9. Ugh! Separation anxiety is the worst! It always breaks my heart a little bit. Thanks for these great tips on making things easier!

  10. My oldest had such a hard time with separation anxiety. We found that distraction was the best way to go, and to not prolong the goodbye.


  11. This is a very good article, my niece is having issues with her daughter so I'll be sure to pass along some tips. Thank you for this post. :)

  12. My little one had issues with this when I left him off at preschool. The teachers said for me to just leave and that he would be fine - he was.

  13. I guess leaving a room can be a great way to familiarize them with separations. It also helps to keep them comforted.

  14. Great tips! We had this issue last year when my twin granddaughters started school. One of them adjusted quickly, but the other one took some time. I always let her bring her small pillow with her, so she will feel comfortable.

  15. We were very attached to the kids but they had extended family that helped with the separation anxiety.

  16. Those are great tips to handle separation anxiety. I find practicing at home helps a lot

  17. I find this very helpful, Communication and space is a huge help in handling separation anxiety.


[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (

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