5 Tips For Coping With Separation Anxiety

Both of my children suffered from Separation Anxiety. Every time I dropped them off at a childminder’s they would wail and scream, flinging their little arms at me like I was abandoning them on the bleak, stone steps of a Dickensian Workhouse.

Back then I felt like I was splintering into a million pieces. I’d sit in my car and bawl into the steering wheel… Either that or go home and stuff my face with chocolate brownies. I didn’t deserve my children. I was the worst mother alive. There I was, slowly drowning in a dirty, great swamp of Mother’s Guilt.

So I turned to the Internet (as you do), scouring message boards for tips and solutions. Some worked. Some didn’t… Here are my Definitive Top 5 Tips for making that (heart)break a little easier on everyone:

Leave your child with a keepsake from home:

Something that smells of you/your perfume is even better. I used to twist one of my scarves around Emily’s teddy. When it was time to leave I would encourage her to cuddle it. To Emily, the soft, golden fur smelt of home and reassurance. The tears would subside. All was well again.

Chat about something you can do together later:

When I dropped Jess off I’d ask her what she wanted for lunch. It helped channel her emotional download into that age-old dilemma of bagel or baked beans. It became a ritual. Food distraction = swift, uncomplicated exit.

Don’t dawdle:

Easier said than done, especially when those little fists are locked tightly around your neck. I’d say my goodbyes in a calm but firm voice and then leave (whilst fighting every instinct to run back and cuddle away all of that insecurity and bewilderment.) Don’t be a chicken. Always say your goodbyes as it helps your little one to adapt. No one likes a dumper, least of all the dumped.

When in doubt…text!

I had a system with one childminder where she’d send me regular picture messages of Emily elbow-deep in playdoh. In turn, I would send her a few of me doing boring stuff at home. By doing this the kids knew I was alive (and how much fun their childminder’s house was compared to theirs), and I wouldn’t keep weeping into my laptop.

Mother’s instinct is usually right:

Emily never settled with one childminder. It was a mystery to us all. The woman was Ofsted Rated ‘Outstanding’, she was lovely and approachable, and best of all had a house like Toys ‘R’ Us. We persevered for a few months and then removed our daughter. Emily wasn’t happy and there was something niggling me about the whole set-up that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. As it turns out, one of the other children in her care had been biting and hitting Emily when she wasn’t looking. My friend had witnessed the whole thing one day in a baby class. Cue some MAJOR stomach-churning mummy guilt…….

In the end we tried Emily in a pre-school environment instead and that, combined with a few of the tactics above, made her Separation Anxiety evaporate by her second week. Always go with your gut! If you’re not happy try another childcare provider.

Let me know if any of these tips have worked for you too.



Mummy Times Two

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  1. April 18, 2017 / 10:17 am

    This is a really helpful post – I don’t have to leave my daughter yet, but I think I’ll struggle when I do. If she has Separation Anxiety, it’ll make it even worse so I’ll be using this guide!

    • April 18, 2017 / 10:14 pm

      Thank you! Fingers crossed you won’t have an issue – many don’t. I think mine were particularly clingy! xx

  2. April 18, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Lovely blog post hun I am very luck that my LO stays with grandparents while i work but i will definitely putting some of these into practice when child minders or nursery comes into play.

    • April 18, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      Thanks Katrina! Fingers crossed you have a smoother transition than me when the time comes! xx

  3. April 20, 2017 / 11:42 am

    Going with your gut is crucial. My youngest still cries at 4 1/2 at nursery but five minutes later he’s fine. Still makes me feel rubbish at drop off x

    • April 20, 2017 / 1:56 pm

      I know that feeling well! Thanks so much for commenting x

  4. April 20, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    As I prepare for a weekend away from all three of my boys this couldn’t have come at a better time. #postsfromtheheart

    • April 20, 2017 / 9:45 pm

      I hope you find it useful! Have a lovely weekend 🙂 xx

  5. April 23, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    Both of my kids get separation anxiety and it’s hard when you have to leave them screaming #Postsfromtheheart

    • April 24, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      It’s awful, isn’t it? Really gut-wrenching! Thanks for commenting xx

  6. April 23, 2017 / 11:14 pm

    There’s some good advice here. My little one has separation anxiety, but isn’t old enough for many of these tips yet. If it continues though, I’ll be using some of these. #PostsFromTheHeart

    • April 24, 2017 / 1:42 pm

      Thanks so much for saying so. Good luck! Cx

  7. April 24, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    Great post. My daughter has separation anxiety when she is away from me and for 8 months I have left her crying every single day at school, it’s utterly heartbreaking! #postsfromtheheart

    • April 24, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      Oh it’s so hard! My 6 yr old still gives me a tough morning every now and again. Thanks so much for commenting xx

  8. April 27, 2017 / 2:17 pm

    Great post, I’m going through this with my 7 month old at the moment 🙁 he’s being left with family 3 days while I’m at work but he still cries almost the entire day and the mummy guilt is overwhelming. Im going to try the perfume trick fingers crossed #brilliantblogposts

    • April 27, 2017 / 6:16 pm

      Ah, sorry to hear that. They tend to settle eventually but it’s so tough on us mummies! Thanks for commenting xx

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