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Subject: Separation Anxiety??
I have identical twin girls who just turned 3. Recently, we have had 2 big changes in our lives. First, my wife started coaching and isn't home very often. Specifically, she isn't home in the evenings for bed. Second, we changed the girls from a neighborhood sitter to a Pre-School/Daycare setting.
Now, with that said, one of the twins has become very attached to me. Her and I have always been close (and the other twin close to mom), but her behavior seems extreme these days. She is worst for me when I drop her off in the morning at school. When I pick her up she is crying, but stops when we get into the car. She is always asking "Where's my daddy?" when I am not home. When she is with my wife, she is constantly asking for me. When I am home she is usually pretty content, as long as she knows I am staying there. She has started waking up in the middle of the night looking for me too.
The stress of this situation is really starting to have an impact on my wife and I. While we recognize the changes my have caused some of her anxiety, we are struggling with strategies to help her overcome this. Or is it something we might be doing or need to change? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: Dear Vince,
Separation anxiety is common and more so when a child's routine has changed. You mention two very huge changes that your daughter is reacting to and doesn't know how to handle yet emotionally.
The first thing is to make sure her routines bedtime, meals, morning etc...(not her schedule) are consistent. Then I would read some of the previous postings on separation anxiety and follow the suggestions. Some of the suggestions I have posted previously include sending an item of clothing or a blanket that smells like you, a picture of you and her together, show her on the clock what time you will pick her up.
Try and remember that a 3 year olds sense of time is much different than yours. For her the time she is away seems like a year or two. To you it is busier and goes by much quicker. Anything you can send with her to comfort her will assist her to adjust.
M Kay Keller