Do Parents Get Separation Anxiety?

We know that it’s common for our little ones to experience separation anxiety when they start daycare. There are plenty of resources for parents and caregivers to use to help ease separation anxiety in their children. But what about anxiety in parents surrounding starting daycare?

Separation anxiety can occur in parents just as it can in their children. Parental separation anxiety can start before baby is born, crop up post-partum, or develop as a result of a child starting daycare and/or the parent going back to work. It may also be triggered by existing anxiety or depression.1

Tips for Minimizing Separation Anxiety in Parents

While it’s normal to feel nervous about your child starting daycare, that doesn’t mean it’s a great feeling to deal with. Here are some tips for managing daycare anxiety in parents:1

  • Acknowledge your feelings. If you find yourself nervous about your little one starting daycare, recognize the correlation and acknowledge it. Ignoring or denying your feelings won’t help you manage them.

  • Stay busy. If your little one is starting daycare because you’re going back to work, this should be easy. But if you won’t be going back to a job, find other ways to keep yourself occupied—plan outings with friends, dive into a hobby, or take the opportunity to start or try something new.

  • Talk with other parents. You’re not alone in missing your child when they’re gone. Reach out to other parents who you trust in your family or friend circle to talk about the daycare anxiety you’re feeling. You may find that they have other helpful tips for how to mitigate being nervous about daycare.

  • Keep your anxiety away from your little one. While you should acknowledge and be open about how you’re feeling, you shouldn’t project your daycare anxiety onto your little one. If your child doesn’t offer up that they’re nervous about daycare, don’t go looking for it. Remain positive and upbeat about drop-offs.

If you find yourself having a difficult time getting over your anxiety about daycare, consider speaking to a health care professional to gain a better understanding of your emotions and to learn tips for managing them.1 Taking the time to find an appropriate daycare provider may go a long way toward easing potential separation anxiety in both parents and their little ones.

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