- Jessica Berk
Tips for Toddler Separation Anxiety
The dreaded nighttime routine you know so well – you relive it every night, after all…
When it’s time to say goodnight and turn off the lights, but your toddler just doesn’t want to let you go.
But… What if they’re just feeling a little anxious about you leaving?
I’ll show you two things: my favorite book, plus a sweet, easy project you can do with your kiddo to help relieve some of their separation anxiety.
>>Watch this blog on my Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇
Must-have bedtime book for toddlers
Feelings of separation anxiety are totally normal with toddlers.
At around 3 years old, they’re starting to better understand relationships and realizing that they’re just one of many people in your life.
They may also be starting to figure out that after you’ve put them to bed, you’re going back to the house to do something more fun than going to sleep - like go hang out with Dad or Mom.
And, oh yeah – they’re mastering the skill of getting what they want!
So while separation anxiety is normal, we need to help our kids understand they’re safe and can be happy and calm when we aren’t with them.
Here is my all-time favorite bedtime book to overcome separation anxiety at bedtime.
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
The concept of the story is that we’re never truly alone. We’re always connected to our loved ones with an invisible string of love.
The book starts with twins who are awakened by a storm and run to find their mom. Mom reassures them that they’re never truly alone because they’re always connected to her with an invisible string of love - something they can’t see, but can feel.
It goes on to talk about how we’re connected to all of our loved ones: pets, family in other places, and our friends.
The story ends with the twins falling back asleep during the storm, and dreaming about how the whole world is connected with invisible strings. They feel reassured that even though they’re in bed, they’re never actually alone.
For kids who struggle to be alone at bedtime, this book is a great comfort.
Overcome separation anxiety
You can really take the idea of the invisible string to the next level when you pair it with this sweet and simple art project your kid will love.
Cut two hearts out of paper, one each for you and your child to decorate. When you’re done, tape them on the wall next to each of your beds. Your child can touch their paper heart to remind themselves that you’re always together even when you’re sleeping in different rooms.
Alternatively, you could tape the heart onto a family picture.
If you try reading this book and making the art project but still struggle to get out of your child’s room at bedtime, I recommend you join my next toddler sleep masterclass, The Proven Method to Get Your Toddler to Go To Sleep Alone. It’s totally free.
All you have to do is reserve your spot. You’ll also get a link to watch the replay at your convenience.