Child Care Separation Anxiety, Routines, And Your Toddler's Morning Transition

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How can you help to ease separation anxiety during the daycare drop-off? Your toddler just started school in a new child care center. Even though they're excited to go, they still find the morning separation challenging. Take a look at how parents can smooth this transition and the separation routines that can reduce drop-off time anxiety. 

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Before you start planning goodbye routines, make sure separation anxiety is the cause of your drop-off dilemma. Separation anxiety is a normal part of child development that happens as infants start to understand object permanence, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP notes that around the nine-month mark, many infants have the developmental ability to notice and realize that a parent is no longer with them. This can result in stress or anxiety.

Even though separation anxiety is common towards the end of the first year, some babies skip this stage. Many children will never show signs of separation anxiety—while others may wait until they are toddlers. 

What Can Parents Do About Separation Anxiety?

While the tears, stress, and strain of separation anxiety may make you worry, this type of behavior usually isn't a lasting problem. This means you aren't likely to have an entire school year filled with difficult drop-offs. Instead, it's a temporary issue that you can easily handle—provided you have the right tools.

Start with your child's teacher. A child day care professional should have the training, knowledge, and experience to appropriately address separation anxiety in toddlers. If the teacher isn't already aware of your toddler's separation anxiety, bridge the subject with them and ask for advice, tips, or help during the drop-off period. 

What Type of Morning Routine Can Ease Separation Anxiety?

Along with tips the teacher provides or direct in-person help, you can also take steps of your own to ease the morning transition. While it's tempting to stick by your child's side and comfort them for as long as they need, this method may leave you in their daycare center room until lunchtime or after. This makes it impossible for a working parent to get to their job on time. 

To reduce the tension and make a hasty exit (without sneaking out of the toddler program room), create your own special goodbye routine. Make the routine meaningful for your child and select something that matches their developmental level. A simple song, a repetitive hug and kiss routine, or even a follow-the-leader style minute-long dance can distract your toddler, prepare them for your exit, and make daycare drop-off easier for everyone. 

For more information, contact a local center like FAMC Early Education.

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