Separation and transition anxiety

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Separation and transition anxiety

Separations and transitions are difficult for a toddler because whoever they are with and whatever they are doing in the moment is really, really important to them. They have a tough time when it has to come to an end. Preparing to let them know, "In five minutes, we are going to be saying goodbye to our toys." "As soon as I put on my shoes, it is going to be time to go." Preparation is almost the best way to go with this. There are also going to be times when you have to leave them. You say, "In two more minutes, mommy is going to be saying bye and you are going to be having lunch with Mary." Again, give them a little ritual for when they say goodbye to you. Because you are such an important person to your child, saying goodbye might be really tough. They might have to cry really hard. That may be one of the ways they say goodbye. I think it will help ease your conscience if you call the house after you walk out the door. Wait about five minutes. Typically, your child has stopped crying and you can move about your day. You know your child is moving about their day. On those rare times when your child is having a rough time, maybe they have just learned a new skill like crawling, walking or running or you haven't seen them as much as you would like that day; go have dinner with your husband. If you are planning to go to a movie, don't buy the tickets to the movie. Have a nice dinner and call home. If your child is still having a tough time, go home. It's not worth it to put your child and your caregiver through all of those uncomfortable feelings.

See Donna Holloran, MSW's video on Separation and transition anxiety...


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Donna Holloran, MSW

Parent Educator

Donna Holloran moved to Los Angeles from Indianapolis in 1984 to pursue her graduate education and to continue building on her passion---working with young children and their families.  After attaining her MSW from UCLA, Donna also received a Certification in Infant Mental Health.  She practices as a parent educator and child development specialist. In 1996, Donna founded Babygroup in Santa Monica, California.

Babygroup provides guidance and insight to parents of infants and young children in small, intimate parent-child groups, inspiring parents to recognize and respond appropriately to their child’s developmental needs. Babygroup is also about developing strong friendships for parents and children, resulting in a true community of support.

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