Coping with separation anxiety

My New Life

Nov 2 2022 • 28 mins

The stress of separation is real — it can be upsetting for both you and your child. Whether it be a child sobbing for you to stay when the babysitter shows up or clinging to your leg at drop-off, it’s easy to feel like you’re doing it all wrong when these raw emotions take over.

My New Life’s Jessica Rolph welcomes Family Psychologist Ashleigh Warner to help parents navigate this tricky terrain. Ashleigh reassures us that these feelings are normal, and shares ways to make separations easier on everyone involved.


[1:45] What is causing our babies and toddlers to get so upset when we leave the room?

[3:02] Ashleigh talks about Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s model of attachment.

[5:15] Ashleigh explains why it is completely normal for a child to struggle at drop-off.

[6:37] What happens if there are a few caregivers, who might even change day by day?

[7:30] How to handle attachment in a daycare setting for a baby?

[9:03] Is sneaking out recommended? How should parents handle separation?

[11:21] What can caretakers do to make separation less traumatic?

[14:45] What is the role of distraction? Are distractions recommended?

[15:58] How long is it okay for a child to be crying and upset over a separation?

[17:34] Is it ok to go back for your child if the crying is more than you can handle?

[21:05] Should caregivers be practicing a few things at home before a big transition like starting daycare or preschool?

[22:30] What are ways that caregivers can build trust in their children that they will always return?

[23:30] Jessica presents the question of a listener. She’s a Navy mom who is gone a lot, and finds it painful when her child expresses a preference for Daddy. What advice does Ashleigh have for this mom?

[25:02] How can a parent ease the transition when returning to work?

[26:38] Jessica shares her takeaways from her conversation with Ashleigh Warner.

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