The Best Ways to Handle Separation Anxiety

boy with separation anxiety

Tearing yourself away from a screaming, distraught child is so tough. The vast majority of kids struggle with separation anxiety when faced with leaving their parents and caregivers at some point in their lives. They will eventually grow out of it—but that doesn’t make things any easier when you’re leaving a hysterical child. This checklist will give you tools to ease your child’s fears, and make separations easier on everybody.


Try to sneak out.
Let your child know you are going, and that you will come back.
Give a reassuring hug and wave goodbye.

 Try something new each time you go.
 Create a goodbye routine.
 Wave from the same window each time.

 Show your own anxiety about leaving.
 Stay upbeat for your child.
 Stay as calm and positive as you can.

 Ignore your child’s stress.
 Let your child know that you miss her when you go, too.
 “I feel sad when I leave you, too. But I will be back later to pick you up.”

 Make the transition rushed.
 Allow a few minutes to give some calming hugs and say goodbye.
 Ask a new sitter to come 15 -30 minutes early to help ease your child into the new situation.

 Go nuts trying to fix the problem.
 If you’ve tried it all with no success, you may just need to wait for your child to grow past this stage.
 Use the same words and routine each time you go, and make a calm exit.

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