Toddlers and Separation Anxiety

Many parents of toddlers have experienced the struggle that often comes along with leaving your child at daycare. As a child grows attached to their mother or father, they view daycare as a huge separation. There is no need to be alarmed; this is a normal response from toddlers who feel securely attached to their parents. They do not yet understand that you will return, but they will learn this over time. However, they will not feel completely comfortable until they have developed some sort of attachment to their caregiver and realized that their caregiver can meet their needs as well. You must find ways to help your child bond with the caregiver. Here’s what you can do when leaving your child at the best childcare Greenville NC: Best Childcare Greenville NC | Children's World Learning Center

Help Them Bond

In order for the hand-off from parent to caregiver to go smoothly, your child needs to feel safe with the other person. Speak about the caregiver with enthusiasm at home. Keep a photo of the caregiver on the fridge, and speak to it with your child (Miss Thomas, Katie can’t wait to show you how she matches her colors). Facilitate your child interacting with the caregiver while you are present and interact with them yourself as well. Even if your child gets upset when it is time for you to go, the caregiver should be able to console them. However, if the child continues crying for fifteen minutes, they are not yet willing to accept comfort from this person.

Short Separations

When the child has begun to feel more comfortable with the caregiver, practice leaving for a short time. Start by saying goodbye, leaving, and return as soon as the child stops crying. They will begin to learn that you are going to return, so they will become accustomed to it as your absences grow longer. Try not to return while the child is still crying, because they may begin to think that crying will bring you back.

Help Them Understand

Although your toddler’s language may be limited, they can still understand more than you might think. Explain to them what is going to happen each time you are about to leave, and continue on to describe the rest of the day. “First we are going to ride to daycare and I will carry you to your room. I’ll give you a big hug and then Miss Thomas will hold you. I will say bye-bye and go to work. Then you and Miss Thomas will dance and play. You will have a yummy lunch, and then I will be right back to pick you up.”

Work with the Caregiver

It is important that your child feels comforted by the caregiver, so they need to be able to make the child feel safe. Let the caregiver know if there are certain things that can be done to calm your child down; maybe they always stop crying if you play a certain song. Keep in mind that the caregiver also has other children to care for, so have distractions planned just in case.

Children’s World

At Children’s World Learning Center, we know that the early years of life matter because early experiences affect the brain. As a child’s brain grows, the quality of the experiences that a child has creates either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all of the development and behaviors that follow. Parents want to make educated choices for their families, and getting things right the first time is better than trying to fix them later. Contact us today for the best childcare Greenville NC.


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