My child won’t stop crying for me after I leave. How do you respond?
I love my child so much, they mean everything to me. But I also have to work to support us. Recently I’ve been told that my child will not stop crying for me after I leave for work. This really breaks my heart. I know that they are in good hands and that they will be well taken care of no matter what they are doing, but hearing that my child is this upset is terrible. We are not in a position where I can stay home with them all of the time so I have to keep leaving them though. It would also be nice to go on date nights with my partner without feeling bad that I’ve left my crying child at home. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be hurting my child, but they are with a person that I trust. I really don’t know how to respond to this situation at all.
I understand just how terrible this situation can be and how stressful it is for both you and your child. Young kids just don’t understand that just because you are leaving doesn’t mean that you won’t come back. What you can do, with the person watching your kids if they are willing, or a family member or friends, is to leave for short periods of time. You can start with five or ten minutes, then go back inside and hug and cuddle your child. Do it a couple of times, and once they have calmed down, stay away for a bit longer. You can slowly increase the amount of time that you are gone. This will show them that even if you do need to leave, you will come back, starting with a short amount of time. Also, you can have the person watching your child start playing with them and distract them so that you can slip out of the house without them noticing.
This situation can be really heartbreaking for yourself and your child. This is most likely separation anxiety. One of my colleagues that I was close with faced this kind of situation and she implemented some methods that worked for her. The first thing she did was to create an exit ritual i.e she always tried to play with her child a little bit before slipping away, always telling her baby when she will be back. Another she did was to keep her promises, always returning when you said she will and in so doing she was able to create a level of trust and confidence in her child. She also did video calls with them when she was at work, during her lunch break, she made them see her face and hear her voice. I think that reassured her children that she was alright and coming back home.