Separation anxiety is a typical emotion for toddlers. As small children become aware of the scarier things in the world, they often develop fears and anxieties, even with no rational reason. However, your toddler’s separation anxiety being typical doesn’t make it less difficult to weather. Sometimes time is the only solution to these phases, but there are ways you can help your child deal with these newfound fears.
Consider Your Morning Routine
Each individual child responds best to different preparations and plans. For example, some children transition much better when a parent lingers for a bit in the classroom in the morning. Others, however, need a quick drop-off and quick integration into the classroom life to avoid feeling anxious. You can decide what method works best for your child. Don’t be afraid to try a few different methods to see which one eases your toddler’s separation anxiety.
Recognize Your Child’s Fears
When your child shows extreme emotion at childcare drop-off, it can be tempting to think of their behavior as an inconvenience or an attempt to manipulate you into staying. Reframing this understanding will help you be more sympathetic to your toddler’s separation anxiety while also helping your child feel heard. Remember that your child is experiencing fear, and while his or her anxieties may be completely unfounded, they are not choosing to be difficult. When your toddler’s separation anxiety appears, try to give extra affection and remind your child that you will always come back.
Practice Through Roleplay
One excellent way to help your child process separation anxiety and other fears is through roleplay. In a calm moment, ask your child if he or she would like to play pretend. If your child is interested, begin roleplaying your morning routine. You can even offer for your child to switch roles and act as the parent. Then, once you get to the part of your story that includes childcare drop-off, rehearse the many fun and special things that your child’s day there includes. Additionally, you can ask questions like, “But who will come to get you?” and “Does someone come get you every time?” These reminders in a stress-free moment will help your child feel more connected when the real situation arises.
Ask Your Teachers for Help
While your toddler’s separation anxiety may be new and stressful for you, your childcare teachers have likely seen similar situations dozens of times. With this in mind, consider the childcare staff a resource to help you navigate these tough moments. Ask your child’s classroom team if they have any suggestions to help you make the morning transition easier.
Realize This Is a Season
Although meltdowns at childcare drop-off can feel like an impossible situation, remember that these difficult seasons don’t last forever. Continue to reassure your child that you will always be present when they need you, and over time the anxiety will fade. The best solution for a child’s fear is consistent affection and connection.
A toddler’s separation anxiety is hard for everyone involved. But with patient guidance and encouragement, both you and your child can navigate this difficult season with grace. Are you looking for childcare in a place where teachers and other staff support you as a parent in all situations? Consider Legacy Academy Woodruff Road. Call or visit for more information today.