Skip to main content


Some children have no problems staying with a babysitter or going to daycare. They happily wave to their parents and are soon playing and content.  Other children have a much harder time.  Separation Anxiety  is a common challenge. When your child seems sad or angry as you leave them, it can be very distressing for both of you. However, it's important for your child's development to learn to be without you.

Making Separation Easier

Here are things you can do to make the separation easier for everyone.

  • Play games to show that things that go away come back again, like peek-a-boo.

  • Read stories where a child or animal is away from their parents and has a good experience.

  • Visit a new daycare or babysitter for a fun visit before your child has their first stay there.

  • Don't add new things to your routine, such as a new playgroup, until your baby has adjusted to their childcare routine.

  • When leaving your baby, act calm and relaxed.

  • Always take time to say "good-bye"; sneaking away while your baby isn't looking will almost always make the situation worse next time.

  • Give yourself lots of time with the new caregiver to transition before you have to leave.

Transitioning to Child Care

Adjusting  to a new child care situation can be difficult, but there are some things you can do to make the adjustment easier:

  • Give yourself extra time to stay with your child and caregiver on the first day. You may want to consider phasing in child care over time so your child can gradually adjust to the situation if you have the option of doing that.

  • Let your child bring a comfort item with them. A favourite blanket or stuffed animal can help reduce anxiety.

  • Take time to say "good-bye" to your child before you leave and let them know when you will be back. Just being reassured that you will return can make a big difference.

  • Practice getting ready and going to the daycare or babysitter's house before actually starting to go can be a fun way to establish a routine and develop a positive association with the new situation.

  • Talk about child care before it begins. Use the caregivers' names often and let your child know what to expect.

  • Learn about separation anxiety if you think it might be an issue.

SOURCE: Adjusting ( )
Page printed:

Copyright © Vancouver Coastal Health. All Rights Reserved.