My 2-year-old screams and cries when I drop her off at day care every morning. How can I help her adjust to being away from me?
Most kids this age experience feelings of distress when a parent leaves them. These emotions usually stem from worries that a parent who leaves may never come back.
As difficult as it might be, resist the urge to run back at the sight of tears or to have a long, drawn-out goodbye. Instead, establish a goodbye ritual that is pleasant and consistent, yet firm. Stay calm and reassure your daughter that you will be back. Tell her when you will return in terms she can understand, such as after her afternoon naptime.
Most kids calm down quickly and begin to go about their daily routines after parents leave. Sometimes it helps to leave a cherished object (like a favorite blanket or doll) your child can use for comfort while you're away.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Helping Your Child Adjust to Preschool The more comfortable you are with placing your child in preschool and the more familiar the setting is for your child, the fewer problems you - and your child - will encounter.|
|Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias Experiencing and dealing with anxieties can prepare young people to handle the unsettling experiences and challenging situations of life.|
|Childhood Stress Being a kid doesn't always mean being carefree - even the youngest tots worry. Find out what stresses kids out and how to help them cope.|
|Temper Tantrums Temper tantrums range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and breath holding. Get the facts on managing - and preventing - temper tantrums.|
|Don't Babies Have Separation Anxiety? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Separation Anxiety Teary and tantrum-filled goodbyes are common with separation anxiety, which is a perfectly normal part of childhood development.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.