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  • Toddler Separation Anxiety - Navigating the Tumultuous Times

    April 22, 2024 2 min read

    Toddler Separation Anxiety - Navigating the Tumultuous Times - The Nappy Shop

    Toddler Separation Anxiety - Navigating the Tumultuous Times


    Oh, the joys of toddlerhood! The endless energy, the boundless curiosity, and, of course, the heart-wrenching separation anxiety that can turn drop-offs into world-class dramatic performances and amp up the guilt factor to 11! Fear not, if you are struggling to leave your little one without an hour-long meltdown. Here are some tips to get through this (hopefully short-term) ordeal.

    Build it up

    Start with short separations and gradually increase the time. The greatest fear in any child's mind is that you are not going to return, so build up your toddler's confidence that you will indeed be back. Start by returning quite quickly then slowly adding a few minutes each time.

    Make Your Goodbyes Fun

    Create a special goodbye routine that your child can look forward to. It could be a secret handshake, a funny face contest, or a high-five parade. The more ridiculous, the better! It is best to avoid anything that could drag out proceedings, like guessing passwords or waiting for them to put their bag away. These things can go on for hours when your little one wants to stall.

    Transfer the Comfort

    Most children will have a certain doll or stuffed toy that is their favourite, if not then introduce a special toy or soft blanket that they can use for comfort in your absence. Just make sure that you remember to bring it home with you, you do not want to be stuck with a toddler at home without their blanky because it's locked inside childcare for the night.  it's not something you'll need to retrieve from the school or daycare later.

    Stay Calm and Carry On

    It is never easy to remain neutral in the face of your crying child but remember your little one will pick up on your emotions, so if you're anxious or upset about leaving, they're more likely to feel the same. So, play it cool, even if you want to scoop them up and take them to work with you, put on a brave face. It will benefit you both in the long run.

    Know When to Fold 'Em

    Recognise that when your child is having an especially tough time, it's okay to postpone the separation. Sometimes just giving a few more cuddles and letting them calm down is the best option on the day. Only you really know, so trust your judgment.


    Remember, this too shall pass. Separation anxiety is a normal part of development. It won't last forever, (even though it might feel like it during those tearful goodbyes). It is hard to believe while you are in the throws of the chaos but one day you will look back on these days with wonder (and relief). Your child will be running through the school gate without a backward glance, confident and happy and you will know all the tears were worth it!