Does your child cry when you leave the house?

Recently I posted a reply on the Nappy Valley parenting forum to a post from a mum whose little girl is suffering from separation anxiety.  As it's a common problem, I thought I would share a couple of suggestions here.

Girl child crying

Remember that some anxiety at times of separation is normal in very young children. It might be helpful for you to leave an item of your clothing with your child when you leave the house, for example a scarf or something that your child identifies with. This can provide a symbolic reminder for children and can help to reassure them in their parent’s absence. It can also be useful to create a familiar routine so that your child will know what to expect; this can help to strengthen internal feelings of security. Your partner or your nanny or whoever is staying with the child could play a CD or song that they enjoy as you leave the house, or use a well-loved teddy or object to interact with in order to explain what they are going to do during the day.

If you're leaving your child with a nanny, I would recommend that you have everything ready for when the nanny arrives. You can then sit down together to talk about the day with your child present; it is important to maintain a calm and positive atmosphere during this time if you can. When it is time for you to leave, I would recommend saying goodbye in a similar way. This might involve a kiss / cuddle and giving your child the familiar item that belongs to you (e.g. scarf).  You can also let him/ her know when you will be home. It might be useful for you and your nanny to plan some separate time together in which you can agree on how you will prepare a familiar and supportive transition. It is important that your child feels that you are working together in a positive way to take care of his or her needs; this will help them to manage the separation more easily.

Lizz Summers

Voice & Presentation Skills Coach