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the newbie: Separation Anxiety

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


While June has had a lot of time with Grandma, her regular babysitter, and the other parents and babies in our apartment building, she’s starting to get a little clingy with me — even in familiar places! Last week we went to our usual appointment at the YMCA, where I drop her off in the childcare room and then get a workout in, and she clung to me in terror and screamed.

It seemed so strange — she knows this room and these babysitters. She usually sniffles a little bit but then gets distracted by all the great toys they have and the enthusiasm of the staff, not to mention the other kids, who mesmerize her. But this time, she cried and cried as I left the room. I felt awful, but I told myself that she would be fine. I was sure that I’d return to find her happily playing with the dollhouse or the cars.

No go. About 20 minutes into my Total Body Fitness class, one of the childcare providers came to get me to tell me that June was still crying. I put away my equipment and went to get her — she looked so fearful and worried that it broke my heart.

I know that separation anxiety is normal, and she’s almost 14 months old so maybe it’s just really taking hold of her now. Still, what’s the best way to deal with it? My instinct is that I need to continue to walk away and give her experiences where she has to work through this new fear, but that’s awfully hard to do!

Any advice?