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Easing Separation Anxiety: Advice from Moms

Dannielle in Sacramento
If my daughter cried when I dropped her off at Grandma's, I gave her an extra long hug and promised an activity we could do when I got home from work. She loves going to Grandma's now. And she especially loves our tea parties after work!

Glenda in Oklahoma City
Is the sitter everything she appears to be? She may be neglecting or verbal abusing him. I would ask him what happens when he goes there. You may want to give him dolls to demonstrate, as he may find it easier to express himself that way.

Judy in Cloverdale
Talk to other parents who go to this sitter and find out if their children are experiencing anxiety, too. If so, find another babysitter! If not, I think I would find another babysitter, anyway.

Stephanie in Lake Arrowhead
Let him go to the babysitter's door and knock at it while you sit and watch from the car. That way he'll feel like he's a big kid going somewhere fun. My aunt had to do that with her child, and it seemed to work.

Amy in Buffalo
Work with the babysitter so that he receives a special award or sticker for a smooth transition. The more positive the experience and the more set his routine, the better he will be. For many kids, the transition is just a show. They are fine all day long and enjoy themselves.

Also, perhaps you could work with the babysitter to create a more welcoming environment. If there's some toy he really enjoys, maybe you could leave it at the sitter's house.

Chris in Curtis
My friend finally found a new sitter, and now her daughter is very happy. She is not sure if it was the surroundings, the other children or the childcare provider, but whatever it was her daughter was not happy where she was.

Dig dip to see what is bothering your son about going, or even make a few unexpected visits at different times and different days. You may be surprised at what you find.

Jamie in Silvis, Illinois
Pack a basket of toys for the way to the sitter's house and a different set of toys for the way home. That always seems to work for my son.

Shelia in River Ridge, La.
I have found that short goodbyes only make it worse. Try allowing your son to hug you as much as he needs to, and make sure that you ask him for hugs as well. When I let my son get all the "bye-byes" out of his system he usually turns around to go play. When he's settled, I leave. Having a little extra time is required, though. I leave the house 30 minutes earlier to give my son enough time to make the transition.

Chevon in New York
Two days out of the week may not be enough for your son to get comfortable with the sitter. Maybe you could try taking him to the sitter's house to visit on a day you don't work. You could even stay with him on one of those days. If he sees that you like it there, he may be more inclined to stay.

Lori in Lusby
I have a child in my care who has separation anxiety. I found it comforted him when he was allowed to bring a blanket and stuffed animal from home. I also asked Mom to put family pictures in a book that we could look over during the day. It may help if you find some books about going to childcare to read the night before.

Always reassure him that you love him and will be back for him. Finally, name the event that will take place before you pick him up. For example: "I'll be here for you after naptime."

Joanne in St. Joesph, MI
Perhaps something has changed in the babysitter's household, or your household, that's causing your child anxiety when leaving you. You need to ask the sitter if she noticed a change in your child's personality or character. Most 3-year-olds have enough language to be able to tell you how they feel inside, so talk to your son, too!