Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Infants and toddlers have little sense of time and few memories of past experiences. When you leave, your child may not know when — or if — you'll return. To ease your child's separation anxiety:

  • Practice goodbyes. Leave your child with a trusted caregiver for short periods of time. Eventually your child will learn that he or she can count on you to return.
  • Time your departure carefully. Your child may be more likely to have a fit when you leave if he or she is tired, hungry or restless. If you can, leave when your child is fed and rested.
  • Give your child something to look forward to. Discuss with your child something fun that will happen while you're gone.
  • Don't prolong your goodbye. If you're leaving your child at home or in another familiar environment, give your child a gentle goodbye — then go. Encourage your child's caregiver to distract your child with a favorite toy or engage your child in a new activity right away. If you're leaving your child in a new environment, you might play with your child for a few minutes to ease the transition. When you leave, remind your child that you'll be back. Be specific about when you'll return, such as "after lunch" or "after your nap."
  • Leave a reminder. Offer a special blanket, stuffed animal or other comforting object for your child to hold while you're gone.
  • Keep the tears in perspective. Your child's tears are an attempt to keep you from leaving. When you're gone, the tears aren't likely to last long — especially once your child is engaged in a new activity.

Remember, separation anxiety is a rite of passage for infants and toddlers. Be patient as your child learns that it's OK to spend time away from you.

Jun. 08, 2012