How to Decrease Separation Anxiety When You Drop Your Child Off at Daycare

Posted on: 2 September 2015

One of the hardest things about being a parent is going back to work after your maternity or paternity leave is finished or after your child is old enough for you to feel comfortable sending him or her to daycare. You are leaving your child in a strange place and, regardless of the child's age, you both will have a difficult time performing this action. Your child might scream and cry and you might find yourself extremely worried about him or her to the point of distraction. One way to decrease your suffering is to decrease the separation anxiety of your child. Here are some tips for decreasing separation anxiety.

1. Practice with a Babysitter

The first step is to practice with a babysitter. Invite an older child or nanny to your home to watch your child for an hour the first time. Tell your child what is going to happen. Then, when the babysitter comes, just leave. Don't look back. You're just going to be gone for an hour. This might be difficult because your child is crying. After thirty minutes, call the babysitter to see how your child is doing. In many cases, your child might be playing happily by this point. Do this several times leading up to the first time your child goes to daycare. Each time, leave your child for a longer period of time so that he or she gets used to being with different people for a few hours.

2. Create a Ritual

When you leave your child, you are going to want to do so without fanfare or else you might alert your child to the fact that something is wrong or different. However, a ritual can help your child ease into being at daycare without you, making the transition easier. Consider kissing your child three times on the forehead, creating a short, goodbye handshake that you perform every time, or a call and response phrase pairing that your child can do with you. Your child will find this ritual comforting and will be more willing to accept new situations.

3. Leave after Lunch or Breakfast

If possible, drop your child off right after he or she eats lunch or breakfast. Hungry children are worse at coping with separation anxiety and if you leave right after a meal, you can feel confident that your child will experience the least amount of emotional discomfort possible.

For more information, talk to your daycare center like Mendon Child Care Ctr.