Guest Post: Conscious Parenting ~ 3 Tips for Avoiding Separation Anxiety

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Separation anxiety is a hard thing to go through, both as a child and for the parents. And, it isn’t something that plagues a child for a few years in childhood and then magically disappears. It can affect a person for decades. At some point in childhood, it does go stealth, because children don’t want to be embarrassed or seem like a “baby” in front of their friends. However, it can still be there, lingering underneath the surface. Everyone assumes it has resolved itself and that “children are resilient.” Don’t be fooled. If left unresolved, it can come out in numerous other ways later. Fortunately, it can be avoided.


Here are three tips to avoid separation anxiety:


1 – Meeting Baby’s Needs: Answer the needs of your infant/baby immediately. Leaving a baby to cry in his crib when you want him to sleep, or wait for food on a certain schedule, relays the message that he is not important and that his needs may not be met. That is a scary place for a baby who is 100% reliant upon another person for survival.  A baby needs to feel safe and loved. Your child will either believe in a loving and caring world, or a world in which everyone fends for themselves, there’s not enough to go around, and where love may or may not be present. As a parent, you have a lot of power over which belief your child takes on.


2 – Leaving Your Child at Daycare: If your child is having issues for any reason with being left at daycare, preschool, with a sitter, etc., leaving them anyway is not the best option. I know teachers and sitters may say, “She’ll be okay.” However, deep inside, all your child knows is that their #1 advocate (you) just walked out the door in their time of need. Instead, think “transition.” What does your child need for transition? As early as possible, begin having conversations with your children about being at daycare, with a sitter, or any other time away from mom and/or dad. Talk about when they are afraid, when they are not afraid, what they need, and how to bridge the gaps. You are not only helping them become more comfortable with being away (because you take the time to listen and care), but you are simultaneously planting seeds for a lifetime of open communication. It’s a dance. This isn’t all of it, but this will get you started. Having a teenager that comes to you for advice, insights or just a hearing ear starts with you opening the conversation as a baby, toddler, and young child. Taking the time to help them transition in the younger years will make a huge difference in your relationship over the course of many years to come.


3 – Sneaking out. When you drop off your children and they get “distracted,” how often do you rush off because you “lucked out” and won’t have a teary morning? Did you say “good-bye”? Even though it seems counter-intuitive, be sure you get their attention and say “good-bye” (or create your good-bye ritual before you walk in). Never “sneak” out. It may seem better and more convenient in the moment. However, internally, a child will make an unconscious mental and emotional note that you just left him. The mistrust that is created will linger. The more it happens, the less they trust you and the world around them. It may take longer in the beginning to say goodbye. However, remember that you are building something far more important in that moment. You are building trust. Trust is an essential element in parenting. You will need it in spades when they become teenagers. Start building it now.

Traci last one 1 22 07Traci Carman is the Founder of “A Loving Way ~ How I Parent Makes a Difference”. She has been a mother for nearly 25 years and has three children. She is a Parenting Coach, Speaker and Author, and is certified in Coaching, Performance Consulting, Training of NLP and Neurological Repatterning, Reiki and Meditation. She is known for her practical and intuitive parenting style. ( / 800-647-1171)


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I remember when I was still working in an office, my two kids and I always had that goodbye ritual everyday. They weren't crying but it was taking so long just to get out of the house. I gave them activities they can do while I was out so they could spend their time on other things than missing me the whole day.
  2. I have worked in the daycare and I have to say i hated it when parents would spend the first week in there with the kids, I say this because once the parent left the kid would still freak out. What I did with my son was talk to him about it and tell him all the exciting things that he will do there. Then after a few times he would never cry at all, in fact when he gets there he says bye to me give me a hug and kiss and goes to play. Remember each kid is different so what worked for me might now work for you...
  3. I really like the point made in #2. Talking with a child is super important. As a parent to four children ranging in age from toddler to teens, I'm so glad that I opened that window to encourage conversation. My teens are comfortable enough to come to me with questions about sex, drugs, alcohol and physical development and we constantly keep those conversations going so as to give them confidence.
  4. I remember my one daughter having seperation anxiety when she was about 18 months old and I left her at a daycare. However it turns out she had her reasons. She was only there 2 weeks and by the second week she was bite in the face by another child. When children can't yet talk, sometimes it is best to be cautious, as there might be something going on you don't know about. I feel this other child was bullying her and this is why she was acting this way. I was told this child is a bitter, as if it just a phase they were waiting for him to outgrow. I thought why is he here. I never took my daughter back and found a sitter. I never had an issue with her after that.
  5. My son hasn't been happy about daycare this week, so I am going to sit with him for a little while the next time that I drop him off and visit at lunch. Your post inspired me that this is ok!
  6. I had separation anxiety as a child going into nursery school, again in 5th grade and generalized anxiety disorder into adulthood. Unfortunately back when I was young, my parents didn't really know how to handle it, but fortunately these days there are good resources like this post and other methods designed specifically to help children. Thanks for posting!