Kids

5 Things my Toddler taught me about Separation Anxiety

Hey Cuties,

How was your weekend? Did you go from a 60 degree Sunday to a 37 degree Monday? Well we did, and it’s downright rude and disrespectful. I went to Philly and I can’t wait to share my recap with you. It won’t go up until next Monday because this week is Nori week on the blog. She is “My Girl” his “Fats” she is our second and final child and our only girl. She is funny, she is shy, she is bold, she is a lot of things but she will very lovingly give you the side eye of death. She is no stranger to the blog at all. If you follow me on social media then you see the pictures of me tackling her hair each week or her prancing around life in a tutu. She turns four years old tomorrow and she has been counting down since October.

My Girl is a classic threenager, she is bossy, she is needy, and she wants what she wants when she wants it. She believes she should also have this said thing without question. When she isn’t bossing around her big brother she is loving, she is sweet, she shares, she loves to walk around singing or will chill and do her own thing in her room. She is also emotionally in tune which is really fascinating to watch sometimes. She is very cautious of people outside of her home but will let her guard down when she is ready. Not when you’re ready, you’re on her time; she is not on yours.

Like most kids My Girl loves her big brother. She tells on him, she fights him but that is all love people. They build forts and make up silly games and all of that.  My kids are 7 years +2 months apart, but in 4 short years they have formed an un-breakable bond.  My daughter isn’t the type you can just spring change on. This means I do a lot of talking and explaining. This eases her anxiety as well as my own. Remember her first day of daycare story? If not catch up HERE! My son had been looking forward to the big 6th grade only field trip for at least a year. You remember that age when you felt like you ruled the school because y’all were the oldest class. Did I mention that this field trip was for five days? {Why didn’t I have that as a kid? I need to call the people for a childhood do-over.} Oh and Babe aka their Dad would also be going. Oh okay, so if you are keeping score that is 0 us 10 them.

how to help a child with separation anxiety

Sunday night my son is all packed and ready. He just needed to shower and hit the bed. As he gets ready for said shower I’m tucking in the threenager when she erupts into tears, blabbering and drooling.  When I ask her what’s wrong she mumbles she is going to miss her brother; between dramatic breaths and lots of chest movement. I comfort her but remind her about all this good girl power. {Communication} She is not here for it.  I then radio for back up, by back up I mean I get her brother before he gets another toe wet in the shower. Make him put on a towel and come talk her off the ledge. *sigh* He gives her his old build a bear to sleep with while he is gone. He says some sweet things, gives her a hug and kiss on the forehead. She cries herself to sleep.

how to help a child with separation anxiety 1

Goodbye hugs with Dad & Big Bro

Monday we dropped the boys off and said our good-byes. I snapped pictures and we watched as the bus rounded the corner. You can see my son waving as long as he could.  She breaks down crying in my arms. *heavy sigh* More cuddles, talks and encouragement; she dries her eyes in time to walk into Daycare. {Celebrate them}

Night 1: We had company the first night {Shout out to my Bloggy Boo’s} she was so distracted and {entertain}ed that she forgot they were gone. After they left we were up late doing hair, both of us were to tired too worry about the boys called to check on us.

Night 2: We had dinner with my Mom and sister. I thought we were in the clear but the night wrapped up with a pillow full of tears. I felt so bad for her. {Entertain} {Comfort} I decide to print out some pictures and put them right beside her bed. This way she could roll over and see both of them when she opened her eyes.

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A month later these pictures are still up.

Night 3: We talked and talked and talked some more. We came up with a plan to have a welcome home party and we would focus our energy on that instead of crying our-self to sleep. {Welcome Home Party, Entertain} She was excited about the party and had ideas already. She is great at planning a party. At bedtime I told her how proud I was that she went to bed with no tears. We talked about missing people we love and I explained that it is natural and healthy and will last into adulthood. {Celebrate them, Communication, Comfort}

Night 4: Our party ideas came together and we didn’t have to buy anything. I printed a Welcome Home sign for us to tape to the wall. Nothing fancy but a sweet presentation for the boys. Friday was a big day and My Girl and I were really excited. She had a holiday program at her school and her two favorites were returning home. We picked out the perfect outfit, chatted a bit about being big girls for the week. We ended with tight hugs and kisses and I love you. {Comfort, Communication, Entertain, Celebrate Them & Welcome Home Party}

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Cute colorful paper products & a sign

I allowed her to have full creative control, which is tough for me. Especially when it comes to crafting and decorating; she was so proud of herself.

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The day had finally arrived; she woke up ready to go. She was a bit sad because the boys would miss her first school program. {She didn’t know that Dad was a bit sad about it as well.} I made up for it by inviting the grandparents. I also recorded it so the boys could watch on the ride back home.  My Girl had a melt down at the end of her program performance. She was nervous, she is shy and she was already emotional from the boys being gone. I’m so proud of her for toughing it out. Her break downs were emotionally draining on me as well. We always want to fix it, but sometimes you simply can’t. I couldn’t so I taught her how to cope.  I did a lot of travel this year and she didn’t seem to care. This weekend she did care that I went to Philly overnight. Maybe this is just the age/stage. Next up a birthday…

5 Things I learned about separation anxiety…thanks to a weeklong school field trip

1.      Comfort – Give those hugs and kisses; let them know it is going to be okay.
2.      Communication – Tell them ahead of time what the plan is so they aren’t shocked. 
3.      Entertain – Have company over, go out, do something fun, have a movie night, camp out in the living room, etc.
4.      Celebrate Them – Tell them how proud you are that they did xyz. Celebrate them not crying or getting down in the dumps. That is a big deal!
5.      Plan a welcome home party – Let them do all the creating, just go with the flow. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it is the thought that counts.

Thanks to life I had to learn how to help a child with separation anxiety.

Lifestyle Blogger MimiCuteLips shares the 5 Things her Toddler taught her about Separation Anxiety

Have you dealt with separation anxiety? Do you have any tips/tricks that helped you deal? Chat with me in the comment below or FB, IG or Twitter.

mimicutelips

Article written by:

Mimi Green is the Lifestyle Media Correspondent and editor behind MimiCuteLips®. She is a mother of two and a girlfriend to one. You can find Mimi working media at your favorite events, traveling and trying out new adventures, or working on a dope DIY project.

Join the discussion

  1. Alli

    A 5-day field trip? I want a childhood do-over, too! It’s so sweet to see how close your kids are. Of course, when she’s crying her eyes out, I’m sure your thoughts were not on how sweet she is. 🙂 You did a great job with her separation anxiety and the tips are wonderful.

  2. Ashley Whipple

    Your children are so sweet. What a special bond they have. I just melted when your son gave your daughter his build a bear to sleep with. What a kind thing to do.

  3. Cara (@StylishGeek)

    What a lovely story you shared! Interestingly I thought of myself and not the experience my daughter went through when you talked about separation anxiety. I still have feelings of missing my siblings who live half across the world!

    • MimiCuteLips

      Cara, I think as adults we also suffer from separation anxiety. I miss the kids when they are gone. I miss Babe when he is out of town. I think its natural.

  4. travel blogger

    Such a moving story. Isn’t is surprising how much kids teach us! I need to keep these in mind when my little one goes to school.

  5. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    Communication is so important. I always need to tell my kids what we’re doing so they can be prepared and know what to expect. Oh and I totally have a threenager lol!

  6. Anosa

    I have once as an adult, the first time I realised that I was truly moving out of my parents home when they dropped me off at university. Seeing the car drive away had me in tears, I will never forget that feeling I wanted to run to them and tell them not to go. Great post.

  7. Liz Mays

    Aww poor thing. I think you have a good strategy. My daughter used to have trouble with me leaving.

  8. Michele D

    Aw, she missed her family. Separation is so hard for the younger ones at that age. I bet she was happy to see her dad and brother again.

  9. Ron Leyba

    Haven’t deal yet with separation anxiety. Your post will come in handy for sure in case such situation occurs.

  10. Rebecca Swenor

    This is a really cute story and I love the threenager concept which is so true for so many little ones. These are great tips for parents that have children with separation anxiety. I think you did a great job distracting her and your self of course. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  11. Allison Jones

    The relationship your daughter has with her big bro is adorable! I think these are great tips for handling separation anxiety in kids and adults alike.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

  12. Jovanhanna

    Happy Birthday to beautiful Miss Nori. I learn so much about life from my little ones. I’m glad you girls made it without the boys and celebrated their return. You have such a beautiful family I love it!!!

  13. Carin Kilby Clark

    Awwwww… so absolutely sweet. I love the story and the way you helped her through it. You’re such a great mom! Your kids are very lucky to have you. <3

  14. Ickle Pickle

    Brilliant post – I too have a threenager – and he suffers from separation anxiety too – bless him. It is awful – for him – and me. Kaz

  15. Tomiko

    That is something my daughter and I never had.. we both were like goodbye, bye, see you later, I need time away from you..as she has gotten older she misses me more when I travel for work but as baby not so much

    • MimiCuteLips

      Its crazy because my daughter doesn’t usually care when I travel. I traveled a lot in 2015 and I would be gone for 5 days at a time. She didn’t even care.

  16. Jeanine

    I’ve left my kids to only give birth and be in the hospital, and I had such a hard time with it. I couldn’t imagine a week away from them. This is something I need to work on though as I’m sure my kids would be just fine. Their anxiety is pretty much non-exsistant, I think probably because theres so many of them and so much going on at our place all the time!

  17. Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

    Aw, that’s so sweet…my kids are close, too. A welcome home party is such a wonderful way to get the youngers involved and shift their focus!

  18. Donna Shana

    Awh, poor baby. She is so cute. I love the tips, especially the welcome how party- making a big deal, we missed you- great tip!

  19. vidya sudarsan

    I agree with all the five points you have listed here. Separation anxiety is hard to overcome and there is nothing like a warm welcome when united. Well written post!

  20. Patricia

    Yes, you have to celebrate them when they are still young. Kids grow so fast.

  21. alexandria

    Aw. Your poor little girl. My daughter is super sensitive, too. That threenager thing is hilarious. There are no terrible twos with girls, its three. That sass comes out of nowhere. Lol.

  22. Mimi

    I haven’t had to deal with separation anxiety with my children but I was totally worried about it with Addison because she was home with me for so long before she went to school.

    Now, I have a family member and her son pitches a fit every time she leaves us with him. Instead of getting aggravated by his screaming I think I will try a few of your tips to calm him a bit.

    • MimiCuteLips

      We certainly baby Nori more than we ever did her brother. She is my girl so I can’t help myself.

      Oh yes, this will help me. He could even make something special for her or to show her when she gets back.

  23. Tanay

    My sweet Nori. I’m glad that week has come and gone! Everyone learned something and you got a party out of it in the end! Glad her and her brother have such an amazing bond! Love it!

  24. Marielle Altenor

    Your daughter sounds like what my daughter is going to be like and mine is only 3 months old lol Such a character! Our kids have the same age difference too. I’m so looking forward to see if they also have a strong bond like your kids do.

    • MimiCuteLips

      Oh cool Marielle, each day is an adventure with these two. Its funny to see their bond grow but don’t get me wrong. THEY FUSS.

  25. Jonna

    this story was so sweet. as an only child I don’t think I’ll have a bond with anyone like that because I’m so used to everyone else being optional, plus I’m an introvert. But it’s so touching to see that bond. you handled it like a pro!

  26. Siobhan (BeFree Project)

    Awww.. I’m glad you and Nori survived the boys being gone. Nori is such a sweetie and I love the decorations. How sweet!

    Siobhan
    http://www.befreeproject.com

  27. Jamila

    I haven’t really gone through separation anxiety, but I know my 2 year niece probably will be when she’s old enough to go to school and be around new people.

  28. kita

    My child will tell me bye in a minute but she does get scared when I leave her in the garage if she falls asleep she wakes up screaming bloody murder saying we left her but I need my peace and I don’t wake sleeping kids up. Other than that she is good to go.

  29. Kiwi

    Aw this is the sweetest story I read of a brother and sister relationship I ever heard! This makes me yearn for an older brother I have always wanted one…so I have to aim and pray one day God Blesses me with a boy first and a girl second…I love the welcome home party idea. I can tell she really loves him so sweet!

  30. LaQuisha Hall

    This is so special! Strategies for teens and adults too!

  31. Pingback: Cool Baker Magic Mixer Maker Review - MimiCuteLips

  32. camara

    So informative and downright sweet!

  33. Candice

    How Sweet and Loving to plan a party for her brother! I can see my kids doing this. My kids are 7 years apart as well. My son is 7 and my daughter is 5 months old. He rushes home to see her after school and has a meltdown if you say anything at all bad about his little sister or mispronounce her name. I hope she grows to love him just like your daughter loves her big brother.

  34. XmasDolly

    Fortunately, I never had to deal with that. I raised four children on my own and I had to undo the wrong their father had done. Example: He would scream at my son and scold him for crying because men don’t cry he would say. My heart went out to him & when I had the courage to finally leave this…., my son was quiet one evening and I asked him what was wrong and he poured his heart out to me and I told him it’s okay to cry, it makes you a bigger man & I told him how grandpa cried when his mama left him and went to heaven. He was so surprised (he loved his grandpa) and the tears flowed like warm rain and we both cried and laughed at the same time! Oh and BIG HUGE HUGS too!

    • MimiCuteLips

      Parenting is so tough, we have to worry how people treat our kids. What lessons they are teaching them and then making sure they are the correct lessons. Crying to a human thing, it takes more of a man to show his real emotions than one to pretend like they aren’t hurting.

  35. Chasing Joy (Arlett) (@Chasing_Joy)

    This really is a great post. You did a good job with your little girl. I like that you point out that sometimes you can’t fix it but can teach kids how to cope.

    Pinnin this post.

  36. Valerie robinson

    This post is great! My kids are stuck together like glue and are always looking for one another. I dread the day that they have to separate for any reason, but this has prepared me for what’s ahead. I think I’m actually worse than the kids!

  37. Amanda

    I recently subscribed to your blog and I love it! This story truly makes my heart smile! It gives me wonderful advice on how to deal with separation anxiety! My little one is almost one and she already has had some moments dealing with it. I am so proud of my childhood friend and all the great things that you’re doing keep up the great work! Continue to be a great mom, wifey, blogger and entrepreneur!

    • MimiCuteLips

      Awww, you are so sweet; my eyes are all teary. I love to share my life and I always do it with the hopes that I inspire other women to live the life they desire. Whatever that looks like. =)

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