ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Helping your Child with Separation Anxiety

Updated on February 22, 2013

One of the worst feelings in the world is that first time that you leave your child and she screams and cries and begs you not to go. You know that you're going to be back shortly and that everything will be just fine, but she doesn't know that. It tears you up inside, seeing the raw pain on your child's face as she struggles to understand why you are leaving her. It tugs at something deep inside you, partially because you know that she is not always going to feel this way about you and you almost want to treasure it even though it's so awful. Because you don't want your child to be in pain (and because you want to leave the house without a tearful tug-of-war), you want to do your best to ease separation anxiety.

The first thing that you need to do is get some perspective on the situation. Most parents that have trouble helping their child with separation anxiety are suffering from emotional difficulty of their own over the situation. If this is the case, you will get pulled into the emotional heat of the moment every time that you and your child are going to separate. You need to figure out what's going on with you, what your feelings are and what you need to do as an adult to cope with them. Not only will this set the stage for a calm separation between yourself and your child, but it will set a good example for her. You'll show her that mommy's a big girl and ultimately, she'll want to be a big girl, too.

Once you've gotten your own emotions under control, you should take care of the intellectual side of your own needs in this situation. Read up on child development and the age-appropriate behavior for separation anxiety. This will assist you in getting a grasp on what's going on in the mind of your child. With this knowledge, you'll have a good understanding of whether your child's behavior is normal and age-appropriate (which it probably is) or if something else might be going on to cause the problem. Being able to place yourself in her shoes will help you to come up with creative ideas for helping her through this time.

There are many good ideas for assisting your child with the actual separation. The basic key is to come up with ways to help remind her that you will soon be back. If she isn't afraid of being abandoned, she won't be so terrified that you're leaving. Tricks that fall into the category include things like doing a craft at home with a picture of you and her, a craft which she can take to school. For example, a necklace with a picture on it can be worn to daycare or when a babysitter comes, and you'll remind your child to look at the necklace to remember that you'll be back soon. Another example of this is to remind your child when you leave that you want to know one special thing that she did while you were gone. Make sure that as soon as you see her, you ask about this special thing. That will reinforce that you are going to return every time you leave.

The other side of the coin is making sure that your child's alternative care is pleasant. Children sometimes have separation anxiety because they genuinely don't like the place or person they are being left with. A good care provider will help with the transition by having a set activity for the child which is exciting. If you have a babysitter come to the home, create a ritual for this transition. As you're getting ready to leave, have the child get started on the activity. When the babysitter arrives, the child should show the babysitter what the activity is and how it's going. This eases the transition. A child who is bored, uncomfortable or fearful with a daycare provider will show signs of separation anxiety.


Submit a Comment

  • TurnOnYourSenses profile image


    8 years ago

    I have found that if you start young and say goodbye when you leave, true they may be upset at first with the babysitter as you go, but over time, they learn that you always come back. I find when people sneak out to avoid the crying, the child becomes anxious even when the parent is home because, the child never knows when you might "disappear". Say goodbye, reassure the child you will return, and make it a big deal when you come back! The kids always adjust quicker than we think with the babysitter. They stop crying minutes after we leave. I leave the house often to go to work, so I am talking from experience.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)