Need Advice with Baby Coping with Separation Anxiety

Updated on March 30, 2008
N.K. asks from Miami Beach, FL
7 answers

My 1 and a half year old daughter is going to start being cared for by a live-in sitter rather than the relative that is currently taking care of her. When we met up with the sitter, my daughter crouched and had a scared expression on her face and did not want to let go of me or walk, because she was unfamiliar with this face.
She also does this when people she knows and loves, such as relatives, change their haircolor and/or hairstyle and does not recognize them even though she will go back to being happy and carefree around them when they go back to their old look because that's the look she is familiar with.
Does anyone have any advice as to how I can get her to approach the sitter without fear and get used to her eventually? I know she isn't going to love her overnight, but at the same time, I don't want her to cry the whole day while I am at work because she is stuck with someone she doesn't know, so if anyone has any advice as to how they can get to know each other starting the first day they start to share the day together without fear and get along, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your responses, here's an update...Well, I had the sitter come over to my house and I brought out the baby and had her try to play with the baby. I stayed around at all times so my daughter didn't feel like she was all alone. She kept running towards me and trying to grab to me and not wanting to walk even though she is fully capable of it but I would leave the room and come back after a few minutes to get her used to it. She was fussy for an hour or so and then ended up calming down after having some cartoons put on and the sitter trying to get her to dance to the theme song. They went to sleep in the same room that night listening to lullabies and now she got used to her, she even likes her! It's been almost a month that they have been together and although she runs up to me when I come back from work, she plays with the sitter a lot and we take her out a lot. I know she is just coming over to greet me because she misses me but is no longer suffering separation anxiety. Now she is happy and laughing when I leave her alone with the sitter, so things ended up working out in just a day!

More Answers


answers from Miami on

Hi N.,

I had a live in sitter for 1yr for my two children and at first they seemed weary and skeptical so I was extremely nervous. A friend of mine advised me to have the sitter come visit for an hour at a time two weeks before she started working. I did this and it was very helpful also because I was able to be there when she was and could introduce her to my "system" and routines! By the end of the time the children were excited about her coming and that ended all anxiety for me! Your daughther may still cry when you leave for work but that is normal. Make sure the first day you do your usually calling and checking in with the sitter. As time progresses your daughther will get more used to the sitter and you'll feel more comfortable.

Good Luck & let me know how it goes.
~ J.



answers from Miami on

Is there any way that you can have the new sitter and the relative meet together with your daughter. I feel that this way your daughter can see that the both of them get along even if it is for a brief cup of coffee. There are times that children will tend to embrace a stranger in the company of someone that they feel confortable with. Its like meeting a friend of mommy or auntie. Exchanging ideas and or experiences with your childs sitter is always best.



answers from Daytona Beach on

Its a time factor. My daughter at 2 still does it. But I would rather my child be cautious than readily available to anyone. So I just explain to people she is shy, it will take some time but once she gets to know you it will be fine. Good luck! Jen



answers from Boca Raton on

Make a time to have her over before she starts watching her. Invite her over on a Saturday or for lunch one day so your daughter has time to get to know her. That should help.



answers from Boca Raton on

I suggest having the sitter come over sometimes before she starts working for you and just hang out with you until your daughter gets used to her. It might only take a few visits. I have a 15 month old girl with the same problem and that's what I've done and it's worked. Good luck!!!



answers from Miami on

Chances are that she will not cry the whole day that you are gone. However, it may help if she could spend time with you and the new caregiver before. Maybe even take her to the caregiver for a little while before you are gone the whole day. I would not show my own concern in front of her - I know it is hard leaving though. When I would leave my own son, I said goodbye and did not give any impression that it was some new, scary or wary thing. I think this helped him. Another thing was that he immediately started in with another activity to sort of distract from the whole "Mommy is leaving". Also, we kept our goodbye ritual the same. The consistancy of our routine made him feel secure it seemed, since he knew what to expect; we say goodbye and he began breakfast with the sitter and at a certain time Mommy came back. It may take time, but it will be okay. Separation anxiety is not a bad thing - most everyone goes through it and it shows that you have really attached with your daughter.



answers from Boca Raton on

Hey. I don't know if this would help, but my son was sort of like that also. It helped if I told relatives and strangers to take it easy. With a little one, people tend to get right up in their faces. A friend of mine was meeting my little guy for the first time and completely acted like she had been his buddy for a while, and he was very very easy going w/ her. Those who were nonchalant with him put him at ease the fastest. Make sure she has an activity ready right away. Try not to drag on your goodbye either. Also, if you have time, take a quick picture of the new sitter and try to familiarize her face/ name with your daughter. It can be a fun game either way. You can mix it w/ other familiar faces in pics. You have. Play the name game…..

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