They Are Still Only Little – Separation Anxiety In Children

They Are Still Only Little – Separation Anxiety In Children

These little people of ours, they grow so fast but something made me realise the other the day that no matter how big and grown up they seem, they are still only little.


Little Man returned to school on Monday after nearly three weeks off school over the Easter holidays. He had a couple of days off sick towards the end of term and so it made his break almost an extra week long. I wasn’t prepared for how this was going to affect him.


He seemed excited all holidays to go back to school and to see his friends. He had a school trip on Tuesday that he’d really been looking forward to so I didn’t foresee the upset that was about to arrive and set the scene for a tricky week.


Back To School

Monday morning arrived and there was an open morning at the school where Reception parents can go in for the first hour and have a look at all of the work they have been doing over the last term. It’s something that I will always try and go to and this time was no different. I walked into the classroom to find my Little Man in tears. Of course, I wondered what on earth had happened in the twenty minutes since I’d dropped him off at the school door and his teacher just said he’d been like it since he arrived.


I sat him down and we had a cuddle and all I could get out of him was “I miss you, Mummy!’


Separation Anxiety

And so this has been our week. Tuesday morning was the same and only made to feel a hundred times worse because he was going off on a coach for the first time ever on his first school trip. Anxiety about this was high anyway but given his state when I dropped him off, of course, it only multiplied.


After what felt like the longest day known to man, his Dad and I arrived to pick him up twenty minutes earlier than necessary and of course, he was absolutely fine and he’d had a great day. Just like everyone had kept on telling me he would. Easy to say that though isn’t it? I know it’s what they think we want to hear, but it’s like I said, in the grand scheme of things, he is still only little. Five is still small and he’s still my baby. Of course, I was going to worry.


Finding Some Comfort

I set about trying to get some ideas of how to help him through this tricky stage. I remember going through a similar phase when I was little, likely on more than one occasion and I can remember how upsetting it was so I wanted to do everything I could to help him.


I asked some of my fellow parent bloggers if they had any pearls of wisdom for me, and they did, so I thought I would share them with you today.


5 Tips To Get Through Separation Anxiety With Children


Lauren – sophiesnursery.com When teaching I would say to parents that, if they have a school bag, let them pack something small from home in it. It gives them a bit of familiarity & helps them feel less anxious.


Laura – fivelittledoves.com When my daughter was going through the same we both drew hearts on our hands so that if she was missing me in the day she could look at the heart and know that I was looking at mine too. It really helped!


Jo – cupoftoast.co.uk  I haven’t done this for my boys, but my Mum used to put a tiny little bit of perfume on a hanky that I’d carry in my pocket. If I missed home during the day I’d smell it and it really helped to relax me. I can still remember the scent now!


Natalie – memeandharri.com  My daughters have a little Pom Pom on their school bags which is to go and snuggle when they miss me. They love it.


Rebecca –  mygirlsandmesite.com I put a little picture in their bag of our family, for her to be able to look at through her breaks. I also explained to the teacher about it if she needed 5 minutes.


A Result

All of these ideas are just the kind of thing I was looking for. I wanted to be able to do something for him that helped him during the day whilst I wasn’t with him. I particularly loved Laura’s idea about the hearts, so that’s just what we did.



He loved his little heart and as it says in the Instagram caption, there were several times in the morning before school that I caught him looking at it and smiling. I’ve got to be honest, I quite love my own little heart too. It makes me feel closer to him throughout the day and it’s reassuring knowing that he feels the same way.


That morning we didn’t have any tears. But the next day there were a few, but he was a brave soldier and walked into school on his own, despite feeling upset. I was so proud of him. I fought back a couple of my own tears and told myself he would be fine. And of course, he was.


As I write this post, that is where we are at. I’ve no idea what the next few days will bring, but it’s nice to know I have a nice little list of things to try and do with him. If I have to do every single one of them to help him feel better, I will. He may be five and looking and acting like a big boy, but he is still only little. He won’t be forever, but to me, he will be. And whilst he misses and wants his Mama that much, I will do everything I can to make it as easy as possible for him.



Have you had little ones struggle with separation anxiety? What did you do to help them? Let me know in the comments.



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  1. thesingleswan
    23rd April 2018 / 8:38 pm

    I absolutely love the heart idea and am going to try it with Cygnet. Cygnet is fine with pre-school – it is only 3 hours a day, but Mondays, when he does nursery wrap-around are a look more challenging. I collect him from nursery at 6 on a Monday (having dropped him at 8) and he tells me that he was sad when I wasn’t there. It makes me sad too. The heart idea is a nice one. Pen x #AnythingGoes

  2. 23rd April 2018 / 9:46 pm

    I love this heart idea! My eldest has always been fine at school. She was one of the few who just skipped straight in while he classmates cling to their parents. My middle daughter starts school in September and I fear she is going to be totally different. She is a lot clingier to me and I’m sure we will have tears. This heart idea is brilliant I’ll make sure I have this up my sleeve (see what I did there?!) for if things get tough! #anythinggoes

  3. 24th April 2018 / 7:30 am

    Awww Jaki, I’m so sorry your little man has been struggling, but glad to hear you’ve found something that helps. Molly is so clingy to me, so I’m dreading when she starts school in September. I worry about her at nursery for a few hours now but school every day will be a different story. But like you said of little man, he was fine once he was there, and I’m sure Molly will be too. It will definitely help that my niece will be in the same class as her too! X #TriumphantTales

    • Jaki
      24th April 2018 / 9:45 am

      That will be a huge help and a comfort to you too. I can say he will be fine until the cows come home but it won’t stop you worrying. But she will be, promise! X

  4. 24th April 2018 / 7:39 am

    What a lovely, lovely idea. I’ve got a post in the offing at the moment about separation anxiety. And just parental/child anxiety as a whole. This parenting malarkey is an emotional rollercoaster eh? #TriumphantTales

    • Jaki
      24th April 2018 / 9:44 am

      Sure is lovely. Every morning he asks for his heart now, it’s become a little ritual!

  5. 24th April 2018 / 11:33 am

    So sorry to hear your son has been struggling. It’s really hard to see them get upset – my daughter used to be the same when lining up at school always used to break my heart. It all changes as they get older x Sim #TriumphantTales

  6. 24th April 2018 / 2:13 pm

    Oh the heart idea is just so lovely! I’m going to try this with my little boy when he’s having a struggle #triumphanttales

  7. 24th April 2018 / 3:54 pm

    Brilliant! My 18 month old is just hitting her first stage of separation anxiety. I’m sure she’ll have another bout of it in a few years once she starts school ad these are all lovely ideas! Thanks you for this brilliant bag of ideas to keep for a rainy day!

  8. 24th April 2018 / 7:12 pm

    all 3 of my boys had issues about not being with me or at home at various stages in their lives, usually there was something that I could get to the bottom of, like they didn’t like where their coat peg was or they had to wait till a certain time to have their snack and they didn’t like having to wait so would rather i didn’t;t take them to school, we ended up switching nurseries for the eldest and he was settled straight away and the youngest we had to pull from state school as half way through year 2 it was obvious he was never going to settle and once he sussed the school would call me if he got over upset, the tears just didn’t stop. #triumphanttales

  9. viewfromthebeachchair
    24th April 2018 / 8:26 pm

    I may have to try the heart thing. I have a little that sometimes finds it hard to say see you later! #triumphanttales

  10. 24th April 2018 / 9:05 pm

    Some lovely ideas! It’s so awful to leave a little one upset, but as a Primary Teacher, I can promise that in 15 years, I’ve hardly ever seen anyone cry for more than 5 minutes after their mummy’s gone – fortunately they are easily distracted by their friends and a busy school day. Knowing this hasn’t stopped me feeling wretched on many occasions though!

  11. 25th April 2018 / 8:29 am

    There’s some fantastic advice in this post and I’ll be taking it all in as we have the same issues every now and then with our Daughter, who’s the same age as yours I think. I love the heart idea! #TriumphantTales

  12. 25th April 2018 / 12:34 pm

    I really struggled on this one particularly with my youngest boy who I was so keen to keep home deep down in my heart anyway. They are older now and home-educated so no such worries. Always very good to tap into the real life experience of other mums. Wishing you all the best #TriumphantTales

  13. 25th April 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Ah Jaki all the love. I’ve had my share of tearful drop-offs with my Little Man and it’s one of the worst things a mum has to go through. Hopefully it will pass soon – they usually get like that after a long break:) But I agree, however big they are they will always be our babies.

  14. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    26th April 2018 / 9:29 pm

    I hope this week has gone better for you both. Zach started at preschool last week and it is a real struggle as he is getting very distressed. He loves it there as long as I’m there too! #triumphanttales

  15. 27th April 2018 / 10:41 pm

    Aw bless him, they are still so little, I have one who is so much more cuddly than the other one but they are both really happy to see me every day when I pick them up, thankfully we have never had any tears in the mornings so I feel very lucky, they have always had each other nearby even if they aren’t in the same class. #triumphanttales

  16. 28th April 2018 / 7:32 pm

    I guess it’s so easy to think they’re grown until this happens. They are so little and not for long. I’ll remember these in case we have something similar happen #TriumphantTales

  17. aliduke79hotmailcom
    28th April 2018 / 8:50 pm

    It is always hard when we see our children upset. I love the idea of drawing the hearts, I am sure he finds it very reassuring.

  18. 30th April 2018 / 9:49 am

    Aaw, that idea with the hearts is so touching, I’m in tears now! Great that it seems to be helpful for your little man too ❤️
    And you’re absolutely right, they’re only little xx

  19. 30th April 2018 / 7:02 pm

    There are some lovely ideas here. I think the heart one is particularly perfect. #TriumphantTales

  20. 3rd May 2018 / 6:31 pm

    Oh my, both of our littles struggled with this, as my Mrs. dropped them off. Little still does. Funny, when I drop them off, they are fine. I think they know how to play to her emotional strings. At the end of the day, they are always enthusiastic and happy. Heck, in five minutes or less that happens! #triumphanttales good luck! xoxo

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