What to do When Your Child won’t let you Leave the Room

Posted by in No-Cry Separation Anxiety

Do you find it impossible to take a shower, work at your desk or use the bathroom without your little one tagging along, or crying if you leave the room without him? This kind of separation anxiety is common. The good news is that children eventually outgrow this phase, and that you can move things along by using some of the following ideas.

How to Keep Your Child Entertained so You can Take a Shower #Parenting #Tips @NoCrySolution

Isa, 2

Play the door game

You can practice safe separation by playing a game. Start by making animal noises. Have your child guess the animal, or encourage him to echo you. Once he has the gist of the game, sit him on the floor near a door and hide behind it. Play the game and pop out with each sound. Then play again with the door closed. Once this becomes familiar you can make a few noises if you’re in another room. Not only will he have fun it will show him that you can be in the room with the door closed and everything is still fine!

Have practice sessions

Rather than wait until you must be separated from your child, set up short practice sessions throughout the day. Allow another person to engage your baby in playtime. Then slowly back up and sit a few feet away. After a few minutes get up and leave the room for a minute or two, coming back before your child gets upset, and making a happy entrance, “Looks like you two are having fun!” Slowly build up the time to five minutes, fifteen minutes, and so on. A few practice sessions each day will help your child deal with longer necessary separations.

Get your child occupied in play

Before you leave the room get your child involved in an activity, then have another adult take over while you step back. A great activity is looking out the window at the trees, neighborhood or wildlife, as your child’s focus will be outside and away from you. Once they are engaged, you can make your exit and allow the two of them to continue playing.

How to Keep Your Child Entertained so You can Take a Shower #Parenting #Tips @NoCrySolution

Arwen, 7 mths

Allow your baby independent time

Throughout the day encourage your baby’s independent play. Often babies are so endearing to us that we don’t realize that there are times we can and should encourage a bit of independence – it’s good for your baby to learn that she can entertain herself. Take note of when your little one is happily occupied with a toy. When you see this, step away from her. These solo-play sessions will pay off when you take that one step further and she can’t see you in another room.

Create a special box of toys

Decorate a cardboard box, or purchase a small toy box. Fill it with an assortment of new and interesting toys. Pull out this surprise box of toys only when you need to, such as when you are working in your home office, cooking or showering. When you are done, close up the box an put it away for next time. Rotate the items in the box so that it always contains something new and interesting. Make it an exciting part of your routine and soon your child will be looking forward to it.

Allow others to have more time with your child

Very often a child becomes particularly needy with one parent above all other human beings. This is often because this is the person who tends to his basic needs nearly all of the time. If this is the case, this person becomes a security object. It’s unfair to be the daily constant in his life and then to ask him to separate from you happily when you need him to.

How to Keep Your Child Entertained so You can Take a Shower #Parenting #Tips @NoCrySolution

Ashlen, 8 months

If you find that nearly all of your child’s waking hours are spent with you, try to find ways to have your spouse, partner, babysitter or grandparent spend more time alone with your child. Experience will build security and your child will come to know that other people are also capable of meeting his emotional and physical needs.

All of these ideas can help your baby to feel secure and happy when you’re out of sight.

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Need more tips? The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution for gentle ways to make good-bye easy from six months to six years.


  1. Commenting on the “What to so when your child won’t let you leave the room” post…

    This is exactly where we’re at with our 6-month old daughter. She cries when she can’t see me; it gets worse when she’s tired. We’ve gotten to the point where even my partner can’t hold her at times. Slightly insulting for my partner…

    What can we do to get our daughter to enjoy being with other people? I do leave her with her grand-mothers at times, but it always ends with tears. When I come back, how can I act so that she doesn’t feel like I’m “rescuing” her from the other person? If I try to calm her just by talking to her, she just screams louper, until I pick her up.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Awww Genevieve – that’s because she loves you more than any other person in the whole wide world – and you are the person who makes her feel safe. If you are breastfeeding this makes the bond even more unique. If your partner spends less time with her than you, this is also normal. (More one-on-one time will help.) This will change with practice. Give her the love and reassurance she needs and leave her with people who understand that this is normal with babies and who will be gentle with her when she protests. Hugs to you all!