Separation Anxiety - Portage,WI

Updated on September 22, 2009
G.B. asks from Portage, WI
4 answers

Hello Mommies!
My dear friend is very concerned about her 3 year old son. He just started 3 yr old preschool 2x/week and his teacher told my friend that her son is having "separation anxiety issues". Any suggestions on how to deal with separation anxiety in a 3 yr old? Thanks!
G. B

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answers from Milwaukee on

This is what I do with my daughter (3 years old) who goes to preschool two times a week, she does not have separation anxiety but does need a routine.

*** Walk in hang up book bag and coat if we have those items (if possible do this anyway even if item is not needed, it just creates a routine that way they know what is coming)

*** Ask if the child needs to use the bathroom before you leave, or have the child use the toilet to help establish routine again.

*** Then I tell her that I will be back when the big hand is here and the little hand is here (maybe even draw it on a piece of paper put it in a pocket so they can take it out and look at it whenever needed) if it is a digital clock in the class room then write down the numbers.

*** Say hello to the teacher/helpers which might help transition mind into preschool mode. If there is free time when they arrive, or get there early, ask child what they are going to play with.

*** Say good bye, hugs, kisses, tell them again that you will be back shortly and to listen to the teacher and have fun... and leave, do not watch or hang out that sends a vibe that you are worried/anxious which the child picks up on and mirrors back making the issue worse.

These are some of the tips that our preschool teacher game us, it should only take 5 minutes to drop off a child, dragging it out can create more anxiety. Most preschool teachers will give/have tips on separation anxiety, so ask for tips.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We did LOTS of talking about the fact that I'd be back. We also used "social stories" about separating. Good luck to your friend.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi G.,

I used do this for a 1.5 year old:

Sometimes, I would take him shopping, and in general to interact with other unfamiliar faces. At the gym they had a daycare for parents to workout, so I used to drop him off there because he would not stay there longer just 45 minutes to an hour, and I was not too far from him, and he knew soon that I was coming back.
She can practice to leave him with someone to go to the grocery store, or so, and little by little leave him every time for longer periods of time, and he finally he will not realize how long mom is gone but he will know she will be back.

Hope this idea helps your friend.



answers from Madison on

When my daughter started Jr kindergarten this fall, we were both going through a bit of separation anxiety. The first week of school we both talked a lot about what we did during the day when we were not with each other, it helped a lot.

Last week when I was bringing my daughter to school I told her how much I was going to miss her during the day, and she said, "it's ok mom, I will see you in my heart and you will see me in yours"

Anyway, I think, at least for us it was more about wanting to be part of each others life still, than still needing to be with each other every second of the very long winded advice would be to have your friend have her son bring a family picture to school with him to look at when he is lonely for her/them and also talk a lot before and after school about what she is going to do/what she did when he was at school so he does not feel like he is missing out on anything when he is gone.

I also leave little surprises for her on her car seat for when I pick her up from school and it gives her something to look forward to at the end of her already very exciting school day.

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