My Daughter Screams If I Leave Her Sight....

Updated on June 27, 2008
J.J. asks from Newport News, VA
10 answers

I have a son who is almost 21 months old and a daughter who is 7 months old. When she was 2 to 4 months old, she was colicky and screamed all the time. I was the only one who could and would console her. Now she is attached at the hip and gets upset when she realizes I am out of her line of vision. I am afraid to even leave her in the daycare at my health club because I don't want her to scream her head off. Her brother gets upset for a bit in the beginning and then moves on to play. I really want to have at least an hour to myself a few times a week to workout. How do I get her out of screaming for me? Other than letting her do it a few times and realizing I come back. Any other suggestions!

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answers from Washington DC on

I agree with others who have suggested not leaving her with strangers at a daycare while she is going through this phase. (And it is a phase; my son was exactly the same; he was a fretful baby and he fussed almost constantly unless I was carrying him, but it got better once he was able to crawl and move himself around because then he could follow me if he wanted to). Start by leaving her for short periods of time with someone she knows already - your husband or a grand parent for example. Go out for one hour and don't take your phone. If she cries, she cries. At least you know she is in good hands and you need a break. This will start gently teaching her that there are other important people in her life and that mommy needs mommy time but she will always come back.
Things will get easier soon.
L. P


answers from Allentown on

Hi J.,

Get in touch with Dr. Katharine Leslie, CFLE

Ask her for some help.

Get involved in a mom's support group. Take some parenting classes. Join a Civic group.

Kiwanis International

Hope the helps. Good luck. D.


answers from Dover on

I completely agree with Megan. Because of her age, you can't explain the situation to her so there's no getting around teaching her that when you leave, you always come back. But, with that being said, Erin made an excellent point about leaving her with people she knows & trusts until she's out of this phase. It's completely normal & could also come back around the 2nd year, it did with my daughter, but again, we got through it. Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

Sorry, I don't have any specific advice other than this is a normal developmental phase and to hang in there! A couple great resources are: and

Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.,
I went through this with my second child. I would be at the gym for 15 minutes then they would come and get me. She was fine at the gym/childcare situations until about 5 months of age and then went into overdrive with seperaton anxiety. I actually took a month off from the gym because it was so bad. When I went back one of the childcare workers was very patient with her and loved on her and we finally got through it. I went to a super gym back in NC and the childcare was fantastic with enough workers that my baby could have the attention she needed. Look into the childcare setup at your current gym. Are there enough workers? Is there someone specific to watch and care for the babies? If you have to go to a different gym the extra money is worth the 1-2 hours of taking care of yourself. I also consistently left her with childcare at our church. Usually the same women who loved her and was patient with her.
Important to note: she is 5 and is able to go to school without crying for me!
Good luck and take care of yourself!!



answers from Washington DC on

Try not rushing to her when she screams for you. Also, when in a room with others, try to put some space between the two of you so that she can learn that its okay to be around others. If you have to leave the room, keep talking to her so that she knows you are still there. Eventually she will stop. It will start again when she gets older. My daughter is going through this now, but if we distract her with an activity she's fine. As far as working out, could you possibly go when she's asleep? Then it wouldn't be so stressful on everyone.


answers from Washington DC on

Unfortunately, familiarizing her with leaving and coming back is what I think is required.

I wouldn't leave her alone. I would leave her with people she trusts, but she will need to start accepting other people.

However, she is in the stranger anxiety phase, so that might have its own pitfalls. It might not be a great time to try introducing her to complete strangers.



answers from Norfolk on

Some kids are just more high need than others. You might try finding someone to come to your house to watch the kids. One of my daughters was very high need and I had a family friend come to watch my kids. I did not leave her with the sitter initially. She just saw her at the house a lot and at church. This person became a safe person and about the only person other than me that she would go to for a long time. But I only needed one so I could go have a little me time and know that she was happy and feeling secure. The good news is children that are high need do not cling to you forever and giving them the extra attention they requires will not spoil them and they eventually become quite independent. Mine is now 4yr. and is perfectly happy to go to classes and socialize. It was a long road but worth it


answers from Norfolk on

I think you need to start leaving her for short times now. If you don't now when she can't run after you it will be harder on her. I would start by leaving her alone in a room for short bursts. I would start by doing it while you are house cleaning. Give yourself something to do, so you are actually busy it will be easier that way. Not a long time just long enough for her to start crying for a min. or two. Do that off and on all day. Than the next day make it a little longer. Each day extand the time a little more. By the time she's a yr old she should be ok with you leaving the room. That is why i would start putting her into a health club childcare area for like 1hr. You would be amazed as to what having other kids will do for her. She will cry when you leave but after you've been gone for a little while 99% of kids stop crying to watch the other kids. I've done childcare all my life.
OR you can just go cold turkey and leave her in childcare. now. I'm telling you which ever you choose she won't remember you ever did it after a
good luck


answers from Washington DC on

sorry, but i think you're going to have decide which choice is your priority. i personally don't think it's the end of the world if a kid screams for a bit while they're learning to detach, but if you're not willing for that to happen, you're going to need to wait on that you-time.
good luck!

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