Every parent knows the familiar feeling of fear and uncertainty when they drop their child off at childcare for the very first time – Will they be safe? Will they make friends? Will they have fun? Will they miss me? These fears are completely normal and, for the most part, will be resolved once you get into a childcare routine and see how your child thrives! But what about children who have separation anxiety and are having trouble being away from you all day?

Try out a few of these ideas to face separation anxiety:

Start preparing early

Separation anxiety often stems from fear of the unknown or a break in a pre-established routine. Both you and your child might experience this! That’s why it can be helpful to start preparing for childcare early. Get your child (and yourself) in the habit of packing a lunch every day, getting up at a certain time, or even driving by the childcare center. This helps ease the first day nerves a little bit and makes the transition much easier.

Make goodbyes into a “see you later”

As a child, having a parent say goodbye can be frightening at first, and they may not immediately understand that you will be coming back for them later! Try to make your goodbye routine as cheerful as possible to help put your child’s fears at rest. Tell them that you’ll see them later, and maybe even mention your plans for that evening like what you’ll have for dinner or the movie you’ll watch. This provides peace of mind that their time at childcare is temporary, not permanent.

Hype up childcare

Children are surprisingly good at reading their parent’s body language, and they likely will pick up if you are nervous or stressed about dropping them off at childcare! It can be helpful to hype up your child’s childcare routine to give them something to be excited about – talk about the playground they’ll have access to, the fun crafts they’ll do, etc. This can turn those nerves to anticipation and help ease any anxiety they might be facing.

Show interest in their day

It might take several days, or even weeks, to completely move past separation anxiety, so it’s important to have a plan in place to ease this transition as much as possible! Investing in your child’s childcare experience by asking about their day, what they did, how they liked their teachers, etc. can help to establish childcare as a normal part of their routine.

Separation anxiety is normal for every child and parent starting their childcare journey. The good news is that it won’t last forever, and with these handy tips you can help to ensure both you and your little one are as prepared for the childcare experience as possible!

Heaven’s Elect Christian Learning Center is a Non-denominational Christian childcare center fully licensed by the state of Michigan. Our Midland childcare center has been serving the community since 2000. Please contact us at heavenselect.com.