Navigating Separation Anxiety: 10 YA Tips for Parents during Childcare Transitions

Navigating Separation Anxiety: 10 YA Tips for Parents during Childcare Transitions

Separation anxiety is a common phase that many children go through, and it’s very common for children as they begin to start daycare or preschool. It’s a challenging time for both children and parents, as it can be emotionally taxing for everyone involved.  

BUT, with the right strategies and support, parents can help their children navigate this phase with a greater understanding, benefit both parents and child.  

These are some of our tips for helping parents with their child’s separation anxiety from our expert team at Young Academics.  


1. Prepare Ahead of Time 

One of the best ways to ease separation anxiety is to prepare your child in advance! If you know you’ll be leaving them when you return to work or dropping them off at school or a childcare centre, start talking about it a few days or even weeks before the actual event.  

Explain where you’re going, when you’ll be back, and reassure them that you’ll always come back. This simple step can go a long way in making your child feel more secure in navigating their anxiety around this big change. 


2. Create a Familiar Routine 

Routines are comforting for children, and they provide a sense of stability and predictability. Establish a daily routine for your child, including mealtimes, playtimes, and bedtime and try to stick to set times for pick-up and drop-off of your child.  

When children know what to expect, it can reduce their anxiety about being apart from you. 


3. Gradual Separations 

If your child is struggling with separation anxiety, consider gradual separations as you begin. Start with short periods of time apart and gradually increase them as your child becomes accustomed to the separation. This approach can help your child adjust to being away from you and builds their confidence in your return. 


4. Choose Caregivers Wisely 

When selecting caregivers, whether it’s a babysitter, early learning service, or a family member, ensure they are experienced and understanding of separation anxiety. At Young Academics our early childhood teachers are experts at navigating the difficult world of separation anxiety.  

Our caregivers provide a loving and supportive environment that can make a world of difference in helping your child feel secure. 


5. Stay Calm and Positive 

Children are highly attuned to their parents’ emotions. If you’re anxious or upset about leaving your child, they are more likely to feel the same – stay calm and positive during drop-offs, reassuring your child that everything will be okay.  

Your confidence can help when it comes to easing their anxiety. 


6. Develop a Goodbye Ritual 

Creating a special goodbye ritual can be comforting for your child. It could be a simple wave, a secret handshake, or a hug and a kiss. Having this routine can make the separation process smoother and less stressful for your child. 


7. Keep Communication Open 

Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and fears and listen attentively and validate their emotions. Let them know it’s okay to miss you and that you understand how they feel. By keeping the lines of communication open, you’ll be better equipped to address their concerns as they arrive. 


8. Offer Comfort Objects 

Many children find comfort in carrying a special object like a stuffed animal, blanket, or a favourite toy. Allow your child to bring their comfort item with them when you’re apart. These comfort objects may provide a source of security and reassurance for your child.


9. Praise and Positive Reinforcement 

When your child successfully manages separation without excessive distress, be sure to praise and reward them for their courage and resilience. Positive reinforcement can motivate your child to handle future separations more confidently. 


10. Seek Professional Help if Needed 

In most cases, separation anxiety is a normal developmental phase that children outgrow. However, if your child’s anxiety is severe, persistent, or interfering with their daily life, it may be necessary to consult with your GP or a child psychologist for guidance and support. 


How can Young Academics Help?  

Separation anxiety is a challenging phase for both children and parents, but it’s a natural part of development. With patience, understanding, and the right strategies, parents can help their children navigate this phase and grow into more independent and confident individuals.  

Remember that every child is unique, so it may take time to find the right approach for your child. By following these tips and offering plenty of love and reassurance, you can help your child overcome separation anxiety and thrive in their growing independence.