Learn about the actions we’re taking to address the impact of Covid-19
Help your little one cope with separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common and natural feeling that many children experience when they are away from their parents or primary caregivers. It usually starts between 6 months and 3 years of age, and it can vary in intensity and duration depending on the child’s temperament, attachment, and environment. Help your little one cope with separation anxiety.

Ways Children Exhibit Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can manifest in different ways, such as crying, clinging, refusing to go to sleep, or becoming upset in new situations. It can also affect the parents, who may feel guilty, worried, or frustrated when they have to leave their child.

A Normal Part of Development

However, separation anxiety is not a sign of bad parenting or a problem with your child. It is a normal part of development that shows your child is forming a strong bond with you and is learning about the world around them. It also means that your child is reaching important milestones, such as gaining a sense of self and understanding that things and people still exist even when they are out of sight.

Helping your Child Transition

Some strategies can help you and your child cope with separation anxiety and make the transition to daycare easier and smoother. Here are some tips based on reputable pediatric sources:

  • Help your child practice separation with you before going to daycare. You can start by leaving your child with a trusted friend or relative for a short time while you run an errand, and gradually increase the length and frequency of the separations. This will help your child get used to being apart from you and learn that you will always come back.


  •  Practice the drop-off routine at home. You can role-play with your child how you will say goodbye at daycare, what they will do there, and how you will reunite at the end of the day. You can also read books or watch videos about going to daycare with your child to prepare them for what to expect.
  • Be consistent with the routine. Try to keep the same schedule every day, and avoid changing it without warning your child. Also, try not to leave when your child is tired, hungry, or restless, as this can make them more anxious. Choose a time when your child is calm and well-rested, and stick to it as much as possible.

Reassure your Children

  • Be reassuring when you leave, explaining what you are doing and why you are leaving. Tell your child where you are going, when you will be back, and what you will do together later. Avoid making promises that you cannot keep, such as saying that you will call them during the day or that you will come back sooner than planned. This can confuse your child and make them more anxious.
  • Leave a note for your child to read when you leave, such as “Mommy loves you,” or “Daddy will be back soon.” You can also leave a soft toy or blanket with your child to help them feel more comfortable and secure. These comfort objects can help your child self-soothe when they are feeling upset or lonely.
  • Comfort your child when they are afraid. When you are together, listen to what your child has to say about their feelings and fears. Respond with understanding and compassion, and avoid trivializing or dismissing their worries. Acknowledge their emotions and validate them, such as saying “I know it’s hard to say goodbye,” or “It’s okay to feel sad sometimes.” Help your child find ways to cope with their feelings, such as drawing pictures, singing songs, or hugging their toy.

New Caregivers

  • Introduce any new caregiver gradually. If you are about to introduce a new babysitter or nanny, arrange some short get-togethers with the three of you before leaving your child alone with them. This way, your child can get to know them better and feel more comfortable with them.


Separation anxiety can be challenging for both children and parents, but it is not something to be ashamed of or worried about. With patience, support, and encouragement, your child will learn to overcome their fears and enjoy their time at daycare.


Helping Children Overcome Daycare Separation Anxiety – Childcare Resources 

How to manage your child’s separation anxiety – UNICEF 

How to Reduce Separation Anxiety at Daycare Drop Off! – BumoCare 

Separation Anxiety (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth 

5 Signs Your Toddler’s Daycare Anxieties Are No Longer ‘Normal’ – Saranga Psychiatry