7 Tips to Handle your toddler’s Separation Anxiety

August 22, 2019

If you thought those tantrums and constant cribbing were the worst of your little one’s phase of growing up, here’s a shocker – it is not! Just when your child is ready to enter preschool, comes the most confusing phase – trying to make sense of how to handle the separation anxiety.

If you’re struggling with that, here’s helping you tackle it all! Read on to discover 7 super effective ways to handle your preschooler’s separation anxiety. 

Start Smart

The key to ensuring that there are minimal meltdowns when your little one is away from you in his preschool is to start the right way. Make sure you time your separation carefully. Doing it too early or too late can go wrong. When you do get them enrolled, make them understand that they will need to be away from you for a while, but eventually, they will come back into your arms. It also makes sense to get your child engaged in some activities before you leave – just to get their mind off of the separation anxiety. 

Hold on to the Comfort

Most kids have a certain item or belonging they like to hold on to for comfort – it can be their stuffed toy or a blankie, and whatever it is, get it along with them the first few days. Once the initial anxiety wears off, you can phase that out. 

Rehearse

One of the best ways to encourage your kid to tolerate separations is to do some rehearsals before actually enrolling them in a preschool. You can maybe start by taking them to their friend’s house for a while, or leaving them at grandma’s while you go grocery shopping or even with a babysitter – you get the drill. Do it before you actually get them to stay away from you in a preschool. 

Keep it Real

One of the most important approaches to handle separation anxiety in your preschooler is this – make sure you have a strong trust level with them. Inform them of what’s coming beforehand. Be clear about it. Keep it real. A head ups always helps – even to toddlers. Never ever skip this one. Always offer your child an explanation for what’s happening, and no, they aren’t too young to understand it. 

Introduce Strangers Early

A super clever way to minimise separation anxiety in your little one is to get them acquainted with people other than you too! Invite friends over or take them along in public places like parks or playgrounds, encouraging them to be around others too. Let them socialise a bit before you actually let them out on their own, without you, for the very first time. 

Practise 

Doing trial runs of staying away from your little one for a while before you get them enrolled in a preschool is another good idea. Start by just closing the door of your bedroom for a short period – it might trigger the separation anxiety but will smooth the field. Keep trying these and other methods, and then, when your little one doesn’t get upset anymore when you shut the door for some time, praise them! 

Give it Time

Just like with literally anything else when it comes to parenting, you need to take it slow and give yourself (and your child) some time. Don’t expect your child to be all smiles when they enter and exits their preschool right on day one. There will be some bad days and some good ones. Be ready for both. Remind yourself that this is just a phase, and your little one will outgrow it eventually, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment. 

And since we’re already talking about toddlers, here’s a little something to help you even more! Click here to discover some actionable ways to transition your toddler from their highchair to the dining table.

  • Jenny August 23, 2019 at 8:29 am

    It seems an age since mine started pre-school. Luckily they were both ready for it, it was me who was crying when they went!

  • Sarah Bailey August 23, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    I can’t imagine what it is like to deal with your child when they are having separation anxiety. It must be hard to try and make yourself leave them, knowing it is for the best, while seeing them so upset.

  • Olivia Thristan August 23, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    It’s a really hard time for both parent and child but this is a really good article, definitely great and solid information for parents going through children’s separation anxiety x

  • Crystal (The Busy Mom Diary) August 24, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Separation anxiety is such a tough experience to move through, it’s important to have the right support and information. These are great tips for parents to utilize.

  • Jenni August 26, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Oh I hated this when my son was being dropped off at nursery, we had to redo settling in sessions

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