Separation anxiety at daycare - help?

My 3-year-old son is starting daycare soon and I’m afraid he’ll have a lot of separation anxiety - he hasn’t spent hardly any time away from my husband and me until now. I don’t want it to be traumatic for him (or us!). Any tips to prep for the first day?

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Andrea posted January 28, 2020

Separation anxiety is so normal for children when first starting school or daycare. To help minimize it and make the transition easier, you can try:
Organizing a playdate or signing up for a “mommy and me” class. This will expose them to others and build up their confidence a bit before the big day. Scheduling time to leave your kiddo with a family friend, another parent or other trusted caregiver - even if just for a couple hours at a time. They will get used to you leaving and returning and learn it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Gigi posted January 28, 2020

During drop-off on the first day, stay calm and positive. Don’t get sad when leaving because your son will pick up on this and get the impression that daycare might be something scary. The absolute best thing you can do is to avoid leaving and coming back. Start your goodbye process in the car if that’s helpful. Once you’re inside the daycare, make it quick and painless. Multiple goodbyes are confusing for kids and will only make it harder on both of you. 1 Like

Brandi posted January 28, 2020

Send a little care package from home with him to daycare. Include a picture of you and your husband and the provider can point to it if he's sad or missing you. This is a great soothing tool. Including his favorite stuffed animal or blankie can also help make the strange new environment feel more familiar to him. 1 Like

Grace posted January 29, 2020

Maybe leave a blankie or special toy with them. Also make the goodbye quick. Prolonging it makes things worse. I say this as a home daycare worker myself. It is totally normal and may happen randomly as well as steady. In my experience kids tend to stop fussing as soon as the door shute or when they see the parents car gone. 1 Like

Jennifer posted January 29, 2020

I'm a family childcare provider and I agree with the previous comments...short sweet positive goodbyes are the best way to avoid a huge meltdown when leaving your child at daycare. Prior to your son starting maybe set up a time for taking him to the daycare to see where he will be going and meet the people he will be spending time with and see all the toys and activities available. Then at home you can talk to him about his new friends he will be going back to see and the cool toys too. I find that being honest with and preparing children for things helps them to cope bc fear of the new or unknown can cause separation anxiety, acting out, withdrawing, etc. 0 Likes

Cathrene posted January 29, 2020

Talk to him about school and what to expect. Drive past the school and point it it to him. Later that day or week drive in the daycare yard and talk to him about the school. The next day after talking with the director go to the school with your child stay for 15 minutes. Later talk to him again about his new school call the teacher when its convenience for her and allow him to talk to her for a minute or two. Do all the above until YOU are ready for him to start. On his first day take him to the school and leave as soon as possible. No lingering you can always check back. Try to pick him up early for a while. Never allow him to be last to leave. 0 Likes

K.Priyanka posted January 29, 2020

I have a home day care. On the very first day of your child in the day care is little sad. The kid may feel that he or she looses the mom or dad. On the second day the kid used to play with other kids and play with toys. The kid feels that he or she is safe and mom or dad would come to pick me in the end of the day. After few days they let parents go without crying.I thing that kids will not get separation anxiety . 0 Likes

Ericka posted January 29, 2020

Most children will have separation anxiety! See if you can do a drop-in service one or two days out of the week. That way you can go ahead and try to get him used to the daycare and then he would probably feel comfortable going, when it says time to go full-time! 0 Likes

Gloria posted January 29, 2020

Take him to someone you trust 2 days a week, then 3 days then for the whole week. Talk to him tell him that you will be back for him and that you trust the person that you are leaving him with. do not lie to him or trick him/or sneak out. he will cry maybe even have a tamtrum but it will get better. Trust is very important to young children. 0 Likes

Valjean posted January 29, 2020

Separation anxiety is typical and normal. Prepare your child a head of time letting him/her know they will be going to school. Visit the school meet the teacher and classmates. Read stories about kids going to school. You do leave never sneak out always let him know you are leaving and will return to him up. You can also have him bring something small from home he can put in his cubby are keep in his pocket that will give him a sense of home. 0 Likes