Please Mommy Don’t Go!

You will never feel more loved then when your child cries for the first time at the sight of you leaving.  In their eyes, at this stage of their development, YOU are their greatest love.  And because of their uncertainty that you will return, they are heartbroken to see you walk away.  The first time it happens is heart wrenching.  Some parents aren’t able to leave when they hear their baby calling out for them.  Your child’s cries affirm their love for you, and this  is one of the first ways they expresses it.
Separation anxiety begins around the age of 10 months and peaks by 18 months.  It usually subsides between 2 1/2 to 3 years of age.  It is a natural stage of development in your child’s social-emotional skills.  Your leaving and returning helps your child to learn object permanence;  even when you aren’t with them you are somewhere else.  Another reason why separation anxiety occurs is because at this young age your child has no concept of time.  Whether it be one minute or 8 hours, your child just knows that you are gone and they want you back!  With practice, your child will eventually learn that you will return and their anxiety will resolve.

Here are some tips to help ease the transition of when you have to leave your child’s side:

-Make your goodbye quick and try distracting your child with a toy or object of interest.
-Verbally reassure them that you will be back.  Provide them with a picture of you to hold while you are away.
-Creating a picture schedule may be helpful for older children.  The schedule will help them to understand what  happens next in their day and reassure them that you are returning.
-Usually the child stops crying within minutes of your departure.  Give your babysitter/family member a call to make sure that your child has calmed down, then let go of the guilt!!

Your reward for the pain of leaving them is seeing their smiling face when you return.  Just as their cries made you feel loved when you left them, their excited, smiling face when you return…well there is nothing like it!  It reminds you that THEY are your greatest love too!

0 replies
  1. Renae
    Renae says:

    I love this blog! Being a child care provider I really appreciate the tips that you gave on helping to ease of transition. I've seen many parents drop their child off and want to chat with me about this or that – this actually makes the transition SO much worse. I have to take time away from the other children to have discussions with the parent AND “little Johnny” has a harder time, because he's been clinging with anxiety to Mom's legs. OR he has finally gotten interested in a toy, but Mom feels bad leaving without one last “see you later honey” and the process starts all over again. My suggestion – if your child is having a hard time at drop off, drop at the door, don't even go in with him/her. I know that may sound harsh, but between cell phones, text messaging and e-mail you should have other forms of communication with the sitter. Obviously communication is key with the person who is spending so much time with your child – I'm just saying there are other means. In my experience when a child has a hard time at drop off they calm down within a couple minutes & I text the Mom and let her know that. We also have made many cards/pictures for Mom or Dad if “little Johnny” gets sad throughout the day. Just my two sense 🙂


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