Sudden Clinginess

  • My two year old has been in daycare since she was six months old. She recently moved up to a preschool class in the same building. While she was perfectly fine the first week, since then she’s been increasingly clingy whenever I drop her off and even at home.

    My older daughter went through a similar experience, but I thought it was because she was starting preschool for the first time (no daycare previously). This obviously isn’t the case with my little one. Has your toddler suddenly hit a clingy phase? What do you do to help get them through?

  • My daughter has similar problems when we go out and she doesn't come with us. Distracting her in some way works well at times, but she is beginning to catch on. She now knows to connect the putting on of the shoes and the gathering of certain items as signs that someone is leaving and the sadness sets in then.

  • My 18 month old was absoultely fine going to the gym playroom until he hit 16 months old.. all of a sudden he would scream and cry the entire time I was gone. They had to call me after 20 minutes because they couldn't get him to stop crying. He was soooo clingy to me that even when my mom wanted to hold him, he would fuss.

    I just kept taking him to the gym, kept giving him to my mom and kept hiring babysitters as usual. When I came home, I would give him kisses and tell him that I loved him. After a few weeks, he calmed down and realized that I was going to come back. Now he is fine at the gym again.

    Consistency is the key to getting thought this phase. Don't change your plans just because they are clingy..they need to know that you can leave and return without the entire world falling apart. It is a tough phase though and I am glad we are through it......for the  moment at least!

  • Separation anxiety can occur at any age. It is simply a part of development and is perfectly normal...to an extent. It is a sign that the child has developed a healthy attachment to his/her caregiver. It can occur suddenly and sometimes be alarming to parents. Separation anxiety is most common between 12-24 months of age. It may be disheartening to parents if the child has always been comfortable with separation and then suddenly cries and had a tantrum when the parent/caregiver leaves. There are a few reasons why this can occur. The child may be overtired, sick, uncomfortable with the babysitter/daycare center employee or environment, or simply does not like a change in routine. The best way to deal with separation anxiety is to stay with the child until he/she is comfortable. Try your best to keep a set schedule. Allowing the child to have a routine will ease all fears. If a child has trouble with the daycare setting, read books about kids in daycare and how much fun it can be. These stories will put the child at ease. When leaving the child at daycare or with the babysitter, don't show the child that you are upset about leaving because the child can detect this, only causing more anxiety. Give the child a hug and a kiss and be upbeat. Tell the child that you are leaving so they do not feel abandoned. Make sure you have planned activities for your child so they can keep busy with the babysitter and not think about the fact that you are not in close proximity. Separation anxiety is normal and can last quite a while. The child will eventually grow out of it and remember that this is only a phase. It will soon pass! If you show that you are stressed, the child will detect this and become more stressed. Stay calm and ease your child's fears! My niece had extreme separation at the age of 7 and cried every day before school. My sister had to sit in the back of the classroom, but everyday, she spent less and less time in the classroom and eventually, she was able to drop my niece off with no problems. This works for many parents and is definitely worth a try!