If you’re leaving your child for the first time with a babysitter or at daycare, the thought of separation anxiety can be daunting. We’ve all heard stories before of children that scream, cry, and throw tantrums as soon as their parents drop them off.
Is it possible to prevent this type of behavior, or is it considered normal? In most kids, some crying, clinginess, and fussing are a normal response to separation from a parent. You can use these helpful tips to ease normal expressions of separation anxiety in a young child to make your next drop-off a breeze:
- Practice separation early on. This can be easily done by leaving your young child with grandparents or a friend for several hours in an afternoon so that they get used to being away from you.
- Schedule care after a feeding or nap. A baby may be more likely to fuss and throw a tantrum when separated from a parent if they are tired or need a bottle.
- Bring familiar items. If your child is being dropped off at daycare for the first time, bring a toy or blanket with them to make them feel more comfortable.
- Stay consistent in childcare. Although it may be hard to find a good babysitter these days, sticking with the same childcare provider will make your child feel more comfortable the next time you leave them for an afternoon or a workday.
- Leave immediately. After communicating to your child that you are leaving and when you will return, give them a kiss and leave without hesitation. This will keep major tantrums to a minimum.