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You may share this article with others, but please be sure to let them know you found it at Chubbie Cubbie's Preschool & Curriculum.

Separation Anxiety at Daycare ~

Why it Happens ~

Children are comfortable with their environment when they feel their needs are being met.  I know that sounds a bit advanced thinking for a toddler, but what I mean by it is that they need to feel safe, secure, loved, know they will receive help when needed, be fed, and that sort of thing.  When attending a new daycare it may take some time for them to gain those feelings.  It can take up to 2-3 weeks before they are fully comfortable with their new environment.

Ways to Control & Prevent it ~

The best way to control separation anxiety is to help stop it before it even begins.  Prior to your child's first day at daycare plan at least one or two visits.  Spend about 1/2 an hour or so there.  Let them play and interact with their soon to be new friends.  Let them become familiar with the new environment.  Pay close attention to who and what they play with.

One of the best things to do is begin a morning routine.  Each morning, at home, explain to your child that it is daycare day.  Remind them of how much fun they will be having during the day and reassure her that you will be back later in the day to pick them up after she's enjoyed her fun-filled day.  Talk about how she can play with "favorite toy" with "friend's name".  Talk about an activity or two the provider has planned that day.  You can even talk about what's for lunch.  Ask her what they thinks would be fun to do at daycare today.  Toddlers love to feel in command.  If they know they can help plan part of their day they are more than happy to do it.
When you get to daycare, help her get ready for her day (take off coat, put away belongings, etc.).  Remind her of what you talked about at home.   Be firm, but kind, when it's time for you to leave.  Let her know you understand it's hard to say goodbye to mommy, but you love her and you know she's going to have so much fun while you're gone.  Try not to drag out a long goodbye.  It will just make it harder on you, her, and your provider.

If your child cries when you leave, ask your care provider how long after you leave that she remains upset?  As hard as it is to believe, children are often off and playing happily within minutes of their parents leaving.  If this is the case, then there really is nothing to worry about.  Just reassure her that she's going to have a wonderful day and you'll be back soon. 

When I was a provider, I followed the same routine.  After the parent left, I reminded them of what we were going to be doing that day and how much fun it was going to be.  I often asked the child if they would like to help me prepare for the day as well.  Perhaps your provider can try this as well.




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