Separation anxiety: Resources and Discussions

For many young children, starting back up into the routine of attending preschool can cause a little bit of separation anxiety.

Wy and Messy Painting

It is important, as a parent or as a teacher, to understand the stressors that lead up to and compound the problem of separation anxiety. As many of you know, my nephew Wy often comes to my house to hang out with me but what you may not know is that there was a time when Wy would get upset and throw himself to the ground whenever he realized that it was time for his mommy to leave.

Separation Anxiety: Resource and Discussion

Separation anxiety is something that all parents and caregivers should understand how to address in a healthy and productive manner.

No Cry Separation Anxiety

Elizabeth does a wonderful job covering the issue of separation anxiety in a simple to read and easy to follow manner. Elizabeth’s book covers tips for babies, toddlers, preschool, and school age children. Here is a sneak peak at some of Elizabeth’s tips…

  • Allow children to warm up to new situations
  • Tell stories that teach
  • Have a dress rehearsal
  • Give your child a calming trinket
  • Have a specific routine for parenting
  • Don’t plant worry seeds

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the amazing insight and ideas Elizabeth shares through her book. Each topic above comes with a complete description of what to do and why.

Oh, and in the back of Elizabeth’s book is an envelope with a special surprise – I won’t spoil it for you:)

I know that many of you have developed your own strategies for separation anxiety. Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.


  1. Casey L says

    We are raising a 2 year old (NOT OUR CHILD) but who is a drug addicts baby… We have had to put her in a preschool and I would love to have this book in order to have the caregiver of the child understand ways to even furthur help this child not have such anxiety over “daycare/preschool” She has endured soo much and is having a very hard time adjusting would love to know some more ideas on how to help her with this.

  2. Noelle says

    I have been a Preschool Teacher for 5 years, and in that time I have seen children who make the transition from home to school with ease, as well as children who struggle to make that transition. One of the suggestions I offer families when dealing with this emotional topic, is to develop a drop-off routine; bringing the child to school at the same time each day. Typically in a Preschool setting the routine will be the same at that specific time, and the child will begin to develop a sense of familiarity and predictability. Another suggestion, this time to the Teaching staff, is to be sensitive to each individual child’s temperament. Example: Some children will come to you with open arms, and others will take longer to feel a sense of trust in you and the environment. Do not “rush” the child that is slow to warm up, this will make the child feel even more overwhelmed, and will delay the transitional process.

  3. says

    Looks like a great book! What helped my son with seperation anxiety when we started school was the book called “Llama llama misses mama” it is such a lovely book!

  4. says

    Bless your heart – I just read your comment and it broke my heart too:) This can be so difficult on everyone involved – I do hope you find some real solutions so your child’s first grade experience, and yours, can be a wonderful time:) Hang in there!

  5. Christy says

    My two children were 3 and 5 the first time I left them. We started for just 1 hour and then increased the time period. We are changing schools this year and my 7 year old is experiencing some anxiety so we have walked through the school several times. We let her play on the playground and have some other anchor experiances while I was with her so hopefully the first day will be much smoother.

  6. Chris says

    A lot of preschools these days are still have no technique or advice for parents with kids that are anxious. My daughter had so much separation anxiety at her preschool we had to pull her out. Normally she is a fun loving person and loves to be around new people. We tried of a lot of different things but nothing worked. I WOULD love to read this book to get a better understanding of why some kids are ok and others are not.

  7. Amy M says

    There have been children in my care who have had separation anxiety. I would love ideas on how to better ease the anxiety.

  8. says

    I work with preschoolers and kindergartners, so I deal with separation anxiety on a regular basis. We have the ones whose parents stick around all morning, thus prolonging the child’s agony. There are the ones who simply cut and run. And there are others who have no idea what to do. The same is with the children. I had one who cried every day for six months last year. You could get him to choose work, but he cried the whole time, often swearing under his breath.

    I do remember one child I was nannying doing the same thing to me one summer. I made the summer camp counselors just take him from me, and went out to the car crying, myself. So, I do understand the feeling.

    I would just love to read the book to have even more information to share with parents, as well as potentially helping in my classroom.

  9. Robyn says

    As a director, I have encountered this problem many, many times. Children all react differently. I spend quite a bit of time during my new parent orientation sessions describing the exact advice that Elizabeth gives in her book. My best advice is to talk, talk, talk about what the preschool experience will be for your child. The more the child can envision the experience in her little mind, the more at ease they will be before the first day. We allow the children to come to school the week before their first day for a Welcome Day. They meet the teacher, visit the room, meet new friends and decorate their cubbie area. It is a great way to ease into that first week of school. Don’t forget that parents have separation anxiety too! I give parents tips on how to deal with that also! Their reaction to the situation will either diminish or enhance their child’s reaction.

  10. Laura Gail says

    My experience has been that it’s harder on parents than on children. I would love some new ideas on making it easier for everyone! I had a set of twins last year that never did get it all figured out. After every break-Christmas, Easter… even a three day weekend, we had to start over again. It was awful.

  11. Katrina says

    I posted this on FB, but thought I’d enter the giveaway for this book in hopes to win and include in the resource center of our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) group. My lil guy and I have established a parting routine that includes three hugs (one big, one medium and one small) and three kisses (big, medium and small). Then when we reunite, we reverse the kisses and hugs (small, medium and BIG!!).

  12. says

    My 4 year old really suffers for this! We never call her shy b/c we do not want to feed the fear. She will be starting Kindergarten this year & I think this book would be great for ME to read before she starts!
    Thanks for the chance to win!


  13. nita mustain says

    As a teacher of “twos” in a childcare setting, I constantly deal with separation anxiety when parents drop off. I also have children that are transitioning from the toddler room to the two’s room. Some of these little people are very attached to their toddler teachers and have a hard time moving up. We give them a two week gradual transition time. The hard part for me is trying to give them the comfort they need and deserve, while continuing on with the routine of the room. Our ratio is 16-2, which is not nearly enough, but DCFS says it is. Any suggestions as to how to help these little friends? Maybe the book might have some ideas….

  14. Jennifer L. says

    I had hoped to put my daughter in pre-school this September (she’ll be 2 yrs. 9 mos. then), but I’m going to take advantage of the fact that I don’t HAVE to and keep her in a transition class. I’m fortunate that the pre-school I’ve chosen has a transition program. We tried the short, 6-week program that just ended and it. did. not. go. well. I didn’t even leave – just went up the hall to a separate room and she knew where I was and went back to the usual routine, but she melted down. On subsequent days, she looked me right in the eye and said “you will NOT leave this room” and insisted on direct physical contact. So, instead of pre-school, we have enrolled in a longer transition program and are shooting for pre-school in February. A book with thoughts on separation anxiety and ideas of what we can do and say when at home in preparation for separation sounds like just the thing we need to give her (and me!) the tools to deal with all this.