Get Your Kid to Let You Leave - Ground Work

Laying the Groundwork

Let her know in advance when you are going out. Use some sort of visual prop to help her mentally and emotionally prepare. Show her a calendar, make a countdown chart, or use a paper loop chain, taking away a loop each day. Your child’s personality, experience with being left with caregivers, and age will dictate how far in advance of the date you let her know. Some children will become anxious with too much time; others need sufficient time to prepare.

Normalize the experience by enlisting neighborhood kids or parents to talk about how great it is when they are home with a babysitter.

Make sure your child knows who is going to take care of her. Ideally your child will have spent some time with the person before the momentous date.

Let her know exactly what she is going to do with the sitter: “After dinner the sitter will read you a story, help you brush your teeth, and put you to bed.”

Let her know how and when you are going to say goodbye: “After a story and a hug, we are leaving.” IMPORTANT: You must follow through with whatever you say. If you linger or cave in to “one more story,” you give your child the message that you are uneasy with leaving. Though that may be the case, do not show it if you still plan on making your move.

Write down instructions and important numbers for your babysitter so that questions can be answered with a phone call, not a visit from you.


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