11 Children’s Books to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

11 Children’s Books to Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

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Separation anxiety is a normal rite of passage for young children. It’s common at school or daycare drop-off, but can occur any time a child has to separate from their parent or caregiver.

With three kids – all of whom have been in some form of childcare for most of their life – I’m no stranger to separation anxiety. We’ve gone through phases of absolutely terrible daycare drop-offs. I’m talking the kind that leave you fighting back tears yourself, and send the mom guilt into overdrive.

Next week, I’ll be sharing some of our general strategies to make daycare drop-offs easier. But today, I wanted to focus in on one of those strategies – books. Books are one of my favourite ways to help children process transitions and big events in their life. They help prepare children for new situations, and reassure them that they’re not alone in their thoughts and feelings.

I’ve rounded up a collection of 11 children’s books about separation anxiety. For the most part, these books are aimed at children who are separating from their parents to attend school or daycare, and are appropriate for toddlers and young children.

1. The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

When Chester Raccoon is nervous about starting school, his mother lets him in on a family secret – the kissing hand. This beautiful classic is a favourite amongst teachers, and will reassure your little one that their mother’s love will be with them wherever they go.

2. Llama Llama Misses Mama, by Anna Dewdney

A rhyming book that will help quell first-day fears, and teach children that there’s lots to love about school. “Don’t be sad, new little llama! It’s OK to miss your mama. But don’t forget – when day is through, she will come right back to you!”

3. Bye-Bye Time, by Elizabeth Verdick

This simple book is aimed at toddlers, and helps establish a short and sweet goodbye routine.

4. I Love You All Day Long, by Francesca Rusackas

Owen’s mom reassures him that no matter what he’s doing while they’re apart, she loves him all day long.

Related: Starting Childcare: Tips to Make it Easier

5.Oh My Baby, Little One, by Kathi Appelt

I love this one! This book takes the reader though the child’s day – and the mother’s – while explaining that their love is with them even when they’re apart.

6. Daniel Goes to School, by Becky Friedman

This is an excellent book if your child is a Daniel Tiger fan (or even if they’re not!). There’s also an episode of the show on the same topic, and – as always with Daniel Tiger – a catchy “Grown-Ups Come Back” song (watch it here).

7. The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst

This book isn’t focused just on school, but deals with the many situations where we find ourselves apart from the people that we love. It reminds us that even when we’re apart, we’re connected to our loved ones by an invisible string made of love.

Related: 18 Big Sibling Books to Prepare for a New Baby

8. When Mama Comes Home Tonight, by Eileen Spinelli

This sweet rhyming book doesn’t focus on the separation, but on all the things to look forward to when mama comes home tonight. My two-year-old daughter is currently obsessed with this book.

9. That’s Me Loving You, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This is a simple and sweet rhyming book, reminding children that their parents’ love is with them even when they’re apart (“That pouring rain? That’s me missing you. That soft breeze? That’s me kissing you.”).

10. Wemberly Worried, by Kevin Henkes

This book is a good one if your child is a worrier – it will help to reassure them that they are not alone with their worries. My only caution (as somebody who was an anxiety-prone child myself) is that it may give them more things to worry about.

11. Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell

Three baby owls wake up in the night to discover their mother is missing. They try to be brave and to comfort each other, but worry that their mother won’t return. In the end, Owl Mother comes back, to much fanfare and excitement. Children will relate to the baby owl’s worry, and the book reinforces the idea that parents come back.

Separation anxiety is a normal rite of passage for kids and toddlers. Help your child overcome difficult school or daycare drop-offs with these 11 children's books about separation anxiety. #childrensbooks #separationanxiety #daycare #startingschool

Do you have a favourite children’s book about separation anxiety that I didn’t include? Let me know in the comments!

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