How to Overcome Your Toddler’s Separation Anxiety at Daycare

Handling your toddler’s separation anxiety at daycare can be a challenging, but with patience, consistency, and understanding, you can help your child adjust and feel more comfortable. Here are some strategies to consider:

Visit the Daycare Beforehand

Before your toddler starts attending daycare, visit the facility together. Take a tour, meet the caregivers, and explore the environment. It allows your child to become familiar with the surroundings and the people caring for them.

Gradual Introduction

If possible, arrange for a gradual introduction to daycare. Start by spending short periods with your child, gradually increasing the duration over a few days or weeks. It helps your toddler become more comfortable with the new setting and caregivers.

Communicate and Prepare

Talk to your toddler about starting daycare positively and reassuringly. Use age-appropriate language to explain she will be going to a place where she can play, learn, and make new friends. Emphasize you will always come back to pick her up at the end of the day.

Create a Consistent Routine

According to Healthy Children, establishing a consistent routine can provide a sense of security for your toddler. Set specific drop-off and pick-up times at the Chicago day care and maintain consistency with other activities throughout the day. Knowing what to expect can help reduce anxiety.

Practice Separation

Help your toddler develop coping skills by gradually practicing separation in other settings. Arrange for short separations with trusted family members or friends, gradually increasing the duration. It allows your child to learn separations are temporary and that you will return.

Offer Comfort Objects

Allow your toddler to bring a familiar object from home, such as a favorite stuffed animal or a small blanket, to provide comfort in the new environment. Having something familiar can help ease anxiety during the initial adjustment period.

Stay Connected

Many daycares offer ways for parents to stay connected throughout the day. It can include video calls, photo updates, or a mobile app that updates you on your child’s activities. Utilize these resources to check in on your toddler, especially during the early stages of separation.

Build a Relationship with Caregivers

Establish a positive relationship with your toddler’s caregivers. Regularly communicate with them about your child’s interests, routines, and specific needs. The collaboration helps create a supportive environment and ensures everyone is working together to ease separation anxiety.

Remain Calm and Confident

Children often pick up on their parent’s emotions. When saying goodbye, remain calm and confident, even if your child is upset. Reassure them you will return and convey confidence in the caregivers and the daycare environment. Your calm demeanor will help your child feel more secure.

Be Patient and Consistent

Overcoming separation anxiety takes time. Be patient with your child and remain consistent in your approach. Consistency provides a sense of security, and as your toddler becomes more familiar with the daycare routine, their anxiety is likely to diminish.


Remember, every child is unique, and it may take some time for your toddler to adjust to daycare. By following these strategies and providing a supportive and consistent environment, you can help your child navigate separation anxiety and thrive in their new daycare setting.

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