A Cowboy's Life: Helping Toddlers Cope with Separation Anxiety

Helping Toddlers Cope with Separation Anxiety

9:57:00 AM

how to cope with separation anxiety

You know that moment when you think all is well and you can make a clean break from your child without them crying? But as soon as you turn to leave the room you here, "where you going mommy?" As I tell him I'm off to work, the waterworks go off. Why? It's not like I'm abandoning him for good. Does he forget that daddy is in office and isn't going anywhere?

We went through this stage at about 14-18 months and thought it would never end. He's going through it again now, but isn't as bad. He asks why I have to go to work and he's satisfied when I tell him if mommy doesn't work we can't go shopping at Target and Hobby Lobby! (He may think I get paid in gift cards.)

Here are a few other things we do to calm his separation anxiety:

Keep them occupied - I always give him something to do as I am walking out the door. This helps distract his mind from the fact that I am leaving.

Reassure - Always kiss and say goodbye. Then I tell him something we can do once I return. Such as read his favorite book, play in the backyard, build a fort, etc. (Make sure you are willing to keep your word - little ones don't always forget.)

Don't rush - I noticed that when I am in a rush and eager to leave is when he really wants more attention and makes it harder on both of you. Act as if you will be back in minutes and where you are going isn't that important.

Find the triggers - We've noticed that Carson cannot be away from home more than 3 days. So if he goes to grandma's for 2 days in a row, we know that the 3rd day he has to stay home with daddy while he works. He also starts looking out the window around 3:30 to be picked up and if daddy is late, my little guy will let him have it!

*Of course there are some days that nothing will calm him. Those are the days that are frustrating yet wonderful. It still means he's my baby and needs me.

How do you help your child cope with separation anxiety? 

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3 comments

  1. Separation anxiety is so rough- I'm not sure if it is harder for the parents or the kids! With our bio sons, I always tried to pre-empt as much of it as possible by letting other people hold them as much as possible when they were babies and it got easier when we had more than one since they boys loved being with their brothers. My previous foster daughter had major separation anxiety though and had we just took it in little steps, but the situation was different because even though she was only 11 months, she was pretty traumatized having lost everything she knew and I was her security- so hard, but was so glad to do it for her! Our current foster daughter is still a baby so we'll see what happens with her! Great tips and thanks for linking up!
    -S.L. Payne, uncommongrace.net

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  2. I think the keep them occupied is key! Really works for us. Distraction and then for us, slipping away before they know we're gone. The times that I have said goodbye turns into him crying and wanting to come with me.

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  3. Oh I love the reasurring one! I've never thought to promise Mia story time, or something, when we get back! Definitely going to implement that in to our leaving routine!

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