Why Is My Child Having Separation Issues Now?

My sweet, sad girl when separated

Fia has been a champ when it comes to sitters. I credited it with my superb parenting skills. Having never been a parent before, I’m not sure why I thought I was so brilliant, but I had this theory: by exposing her to a lot of different people from the newborn stage on, she would be used to different caretakers and be okay when I wasn’t around. So what happens to babies at 21 months with their separation issues? Or is Fia just a late bloomer? I thought this was an issue much earlier on in their development. I was feeling relief for dodging that bullet.

Now, anytime one of her sitters walks in, she starts wailing. Real tears and everything. It blows. They tell me as soon as I leave she is fine, and I believe them. But why such angst? I also just enrolled her in this Spanish playgroup thing.  It’s from 9-noon twice a week and I drop her off. It’s not that she cries so much after I leave. It’s more the clinging and whimpering that happens while I’m still there. She knows I’m going to go and gets herself all worked up. Once I’m gone, the teachers say she recovers quickly. But I don’t understand why this is happening now.

I work from home, so my schedule is flexible. Phil also works from home. So we’re probably around more than most people. Could therein lie the problem? Is it possible that the lack of a sitter schedule/routine is throwing her into turmoil? Would I be better off not having the sitters so irregularly and instead when we move to LA find a part time playgroup like the Spanish thing so there is some consistency? Or is this just a phase she will work through?

I await the wisdom of you who have been here before.

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  1. by Heather

    On September 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Jill — Mason is younger than Fia but I’ve found that we only have problems with separation anxiety when his routine is messed up. I have a friend with a 16-month-old son who has made the same observation. So I think you’re onto something with this whole routine consistency thing. If I were in your place I’d definitely find a regular playgroup for Fia. She’ll be in a totally new environment and that consistency could be tremendously helpful as she adjusts to life on the left coast:)

  2. by jen

    On September 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Jade is 24 months. And seems to go thru phases. Crying when i leave everyday for about month then fine for a few weeks. No idea why, our routine hasn’t changed at all