My two-year-old screams and cries when I drop her off at day care every morning. How can I help her adjust to being away from me?
Most kids this age experience feelings of distress when a parent leaves them. These emotions usually stem from worries that a parent who leaves may never come back.
As difficult as it may be, resist the urge to run back at the sight of tears or to have a long, drawn-out goodbye. Instead, establish a goodbye ritual that is pleasant and consistent, yet firm. Stay calm, and reassure your child that you will be back. Tell her when you will return in terms she can understand, such as after her afternoon naptime.
Most kids calm down quickly and begin to go about their daily routines after parents leave. Sometimes it helps to leave a transitional object (like a favorite blanket or doll) your child can use for comfort while you’re away.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: April 2010
Have a question? Email us.
Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.