I have a 3yr old the consently cries everytime I am about to leave anywhere or even if I get close to the coat closet what should I do?

Tiffany - posted on 12/11/2008 ( 7 moms have responded )




My son is 3 yrs old and I recently got divorced but his dad wasn't around much when we were married. All of the sudden he started crying anytime I got close to our coat closet or tried leaving for work. asking me not to leave. I explain to him that I am just going to work and I will be home soon but he will actually hold onto my jacket and scream or my leg. I don't know what to do?


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[deleted account]

My sons have done this too. The oldest when he was very young (about 1-4 years) - I couldn't even leave the room to go to the bathroom without him crying and following me. But once he started school he was fine. Then my youngest who was completely fine as a toddler, would then cling and cry and complain about being left at pre-school and then school. He would even escape and run back out ! As he got older it seemed more like a behaviour habit he had got into, attention seeking, trying to make me feel guilty for leaving him (he never did it when my husband dropped him off at school !) He seems to have finally grown out of it now he is 8. He still complains about having to go to school though :-)

[deleted account]

My girls need extended transitions (like Melissa just mentioned). Abrupt changes wreak havoc on our family. We get up in the morning & talk about what we are going to do. I am going to wash my face & then come back & get you guys ready to go, then I will get dressed & we can all find our shoes. After we get all dressed & ready, you can watch a cartoon & Mama will go to work. After work we are going to go to the store for (whatever we need) & then do (whatever other chores are slated for the day).
What if you make getting ready to leave a game he can be part of? Like - Mama needs her shoes - Where are Mama's shoes? Can you help me? Maybe he could even put your shoes on for you (it is silly to watch them try).
My kids would get upset when I left until I tooted the car horn goodbye from outside. Then they would giggle & go on to playing.

Melissa - posted on 12/16/2008




try to be reassuring, but like others said... don't linger. i've heard some kids need a little longer processing time when changing from one activity to another... maybe talk to him more before you start getting ready for work, or while... or when you have to leave the room. play a lot of peek-a-boo... they say that reinforces the leaving/coming back... helps with their fears sometimes. play hide-and-seek... and say ... see mommy always comes back!! nothing to be afraid of!! :)

Mary - posted on 12/11/2008




My nanny said that within moments of my tormented departure, my daughter was playing happily, snacking, and back to normal. Check in, and if this is the case, there's nothing to do but go. She also has the same reaction at the end of the day with the nanny, when she leaves. Kids want everyone they love around all the time. So do I, I just don't pull on their pantlegs to make them stay! You're doing what you need to do as a part of your responibility to him, so discard your feelings of guilt as well.

[deleted account]

Yeah...don't linger around giving extra hugs and kisses. Just say good bye..I'll be back after work, and leave. If it makes you feel better to call the sitter/daycare 10 minutes later to check on him, then do that, but don't make the good bye process long and drawn out.

Adrian - posted on 12/11/2008




Most likely he is experiencing separation anxiety which is common around this age. I used to give my sons' a prep talk letting them know Mommy has to go to work which really didn't stop the crying but it kind of helped them understand and I used to have to leave them at daycare and just walk out. The teachers there said they actually would stop crying within 2 minutes of me leaving. It hurts you more than it actually is affecting the child. You just have to not linger around and just say goodbye, give him a kiss and walk away.

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