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Toddler with major separation anxiety, feeling so guilty(2 Posts)
DD is almost 17 months and normally very happy and content. I'm a university student and prior to lockdown she was regularly looked after by my parents whilst I was at uni with no problems whatsoever. She was happy there and never seemed to miss me!
Obviously, since lockdown she has not been looked after by anyone aside from me or my partner. She has seen her grandparents out on walks ect but that's it. Today, with the restrictions gradually being lifted and restaurants reopening, my partner and I decided to go out for some lunch for the first time in five months and leave DD with my mum. I did expect her to protest a little as I said goodbye and she did, but I thought she would be okay after a while.
We weren't gone that long, perhaps 2.5/3 hours, but when we got home DD was howling almost inconsolably 😭 My mum said she had been like that pretty much the whole time we were gone.... She managed to distract her for about half an hour with toys, but the rest of the time she was walking around the house looking for us and crying her eyes out. She refused to eat anything and just cried and cried. My mum feels awful as she tried to comfort her and nothing was working, and now I feel absolutely awful too as she got so upset 😣 As soon as we came in and picked her up she cheered up and started smiling and laughing!
She seems absolutely fine now and has gone to bed happily, but I still feel like the worst mum ever. I'm also worried all of that crying may have damaged her psychologically although I know that's probably me being rather silly!
I have left DD with her dad before (to go shopping ect) and she's always been fine, likewise with her dad leaving to go to work, but I think the fact that we were BOTH gone really upset her. She is normally fine with me walking into another room although she may occasionally whinge a bit and try to follow me. Nothing terrible, though.
I am worried as I go back to uni in September so will have no choice but to leave her with my parents. I don't want her to spend day after day bawling her eyes out 😭
Any tips for helping to overcome this separation anxiety? Would leaving her for small increments of time and then gradually increasing them work?
Thank you 😊
Could you have your mum to play whilst you are there to start with and then when DS is comfortable, disappear to make a drink or generally be out if the way, and then leave once you've done those steps.
It's so hard for them to understand what's going on.