Sometimes separation anxiety is triggered by a stressful change in your toddler’s life (such as a new sibling, home, or child-care arrangement). Or it can occur when your toddler (whether by design or by accident) has rarely been outside your care and isn’t used to being around other adults. Hence, the freak-out when it’s time to introduce a sitter into the mix. Sometimes, however, it seems like nothing but elaborate theatrics – the tearful meltdowns every morning at day-care drop-off, which (your child’s teacher assures you) are over as soon as the door closes behind you.
Regardless of what’s causing your child’s clinginess, your best bet is to approach her with empathy – and a willingness to brush a few (or a lot) of tears off your shoulder on your way out. Don’t belittle, bribe, or beg; her feelings are valid, even if they are frustrating. When you’re leaving her at child care (or at home with a sitter), help her get busy with an activity she enjoys. Then make your departure short and sweet: A hug and a kiss, a few reassuring words, and a cheerful wave. (It’s never a good idea to sneak off when your toddler is looking the other way. This can backfire fast, since she may quickly conclude that it’s wisest never to let you out of her sight.) Once you’re gone, stay gone – looking back or giving in to her cries will only prolong the agony for both of you. Reassure yourself by checking in with the caregiver later. You’ll most likely learn that the drama of departure has long since dissipated, replaced by utter happiness.
If given the chance to branch out and be a little bit more independent can also help with clinginess. Enroll your child at Akeba Academy, your child will be able to branch out and interact with others and have so much fun that the next time you have to somewhere to go your child wouldn’t mind leaving your side. Give us a call (912) 289-2725