My 14 month old just started crying when I leave the room or exit a door, in about the last month or so. This is a new phase for us, and I'm starting to feel guilt as well as a sense of entrapment (like I'm trapped in the room with him and can't even go to the bathroom).

But here's my problem: I am starting the transition to home day care (another woman's home) next week. (He will only be doing one morning a week for the next several weeks and then working his way to full days by the time I return to work in February).

Here is my question: I will be staying with him in the house for the first 1/2 hour or so so he can get acclimatized to the new environment, but when it's time for me to go, is it better to sneak out or make an obvious "Goodbye, Mommy's leaving now" exit?

I KNOW if he SEES me leave out the front door he will cry. But is it mean to sneak out?

asked 30 Oct '10, 15:13

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

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Answers to some of these questions might help

(30 Oct '10, 17:38) Tammy ♦♦

Our daughter seems to take a queue from our reactions, so if we say, "Goodbye, see you later!" and calmly walk away, she seems OK. If we make a big emotional deal out of it, she'll pick up on that and get emotional too.

Tammy said we always have to say goodbye, otherwise she might just look up and panic that you're gone all of a sudden. We don't want an anxious kid to think their parents can just disappear if they're not watching them all the time. Made sense to me, and even though our daughter seems like an anxious kid in social situations, we've rarely ever had a problem when someone leaves.


answered 30 Oct '10, 15:58

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Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%


+1 for the link between sneaking out and making them anxious, that is exactly how I think.

(31 Oct '10, 14:58) Meg Stephenson

Totally agree, anxiety can only be worsened with 'disappearing parents'.

(01 Nov '10, 05:47) Benjol

I have often read that you should work on smaller "practice" separations -- like leaving the room for 5 minutes while he's with a grandparent or another parent. Say something like "I'm going to the other room, I'll be right back, OK?" casually. Leave right away, and come back in a few minutes.

FWIW, my 17 month old went through a tough time when he would cry whenever dad dropped him off at daycare -- or even whenever dad left the room (for some reason he didn't mind much when I left, boo hoo), but he was fine in 5 minutes. Now he doesn't cry at all anymore. This is a rough phase but it passes.


answered 01 Nov '10, 14:00

Anne's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

With my son, he is still, at 2, very clingy to me, though he has for the most part outgrown the separation anxiety. But still, when I drop him off at Sunday School I play it by ear and make my exit appropriate to his mood that day. On the days when he is excited to go, I tell him goodbye and let him see me leave. But if he is being especially clingy, I hang around until he is settled in with a puzzle or something and then head out quietly - I don't exactly sneak out, but I also don't draw attention to myself as I go.


answered 30 Oct '10, 17:06

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

I have a similar experience with my 19-month son. For daycare or babysitting, I tell him good bye and that I will be back. Care providers report that he calms down fairly quickly (if he even cares). However, the same is not true for Sabbath School/church when I have to find someone to watch him while I help with service preparations. In that case, everyone reports he's happier much quicker if I sneak away. Otherwise, he can cry the entire time I'm gone (1 to 1 1/2 hrs).

(01 Nov '10, 20:11) Kiesa ♦

My oldest friend used to run a home day care and always completely forbid her "parents" from sneaking out. Well, she begged and pleaded that they please, please not do it. It really makes the problem a lot worse. Seperation anxiety is about being afraid that your big people will just disappear, disappearing on them really reinforces it.

She asked parents to please just say, "Bye, I'm going to work now, (or to do my errands, or whatever), and I'll be back in time to pick you up to go home for supper (or lunch, but something they would do together after pick up time)! Big kiss, hug, "I love you more than ..." and leave. She swears she could always distract the little ones and they were done crying before their Mom's or Dad's had pulled onto the street out of her drive. She wasn't too sure if some of the Mom's were done crying by then.

She had her kids after she closed her daycare and says it's way, way, way harder to be the parent leaving in this situation (and in my experience, she's exactly right about that!).

It's hard to say goodbye when you know they're going to be upset, I've been there too, and it's just one of those times when having to be the grown-up breaks your heart.


answered 31 Oct '10, 20:07

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accept rate: 30%

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Asked: 30 Oct '10, 15:13

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Last updated: 02 Nov '10, 11:12