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My 3year Old is Having Separation Anxiety.

My 3-year-old daughter is attending day care full-time. Before that, she was with a baby sitter, who had two other children. She enjoys being at daycare, and talks excitably about what she did and is often not ready to leave when I come to pick her up. Yet, every day when I leave her, I have to literally peel her off my leg crying. The teachers assure me that she stops crying right after I'm gone and has a great day. I just can't understand why, after two years of day care she still cries; I went back to work, when she was 6 months old. Yet, my daughter seems to like the daycare program once her day gets started. Separations have always been, and still are, very hard for her. She also cried with the sitter, who treated her like one of her own. She even cries when I have to leave her with my parents! They say she is just "pushing my buttons, trying to make me feel guilty," and it works! It rips my heart out to leave her. What can I do to help her cope with separation?

Guilty Mommy,
Barrie, On

Dear Guilty Mommy,

Your daughter is sad you're leaving and she lets you know it. Because of your strong mother-daughter bond, you'll probably miss each other whenever you have to say good-bye - that's normal. To prepare her for the next separation, I would suggest that you tell her in advance that you will be dropping her off, and picking her up soon. Find someone she likes in the daycare centre when you arrive, and do your hugs and good-byes quickly. Then leave. Your daughter has adapted to the routine, if she stops crying when you leave. You, on the other hand, probably feel miserable all morning because you left her in tears. Over time and with age, she'll probably stop crying with each parting as she makes friends at the daycare. This is part of forming an attachment to others. This may not seem like much advice on how to help your daughter, but it doesn't sound like she really needs help. I suspect that your daughter has come to terms with the separations, but senses that you haven't. Hang in there, and everything should turn out fine.

Mr. Oak
Parent Tree Panel


 
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