Working in childcare and having 4 children of my own, I'm very familiar with kids with separation anxiety. Dealing with the signs can be very difficult and range from crying to all out tantrums. Here are a few of my tricks and tips to help your child deal with being separated from you.
Step 1: Start the training at home and early. Establish Trust
Usual problem: Often smaller children are entertained completely all day and not left to entertain themselves.
Answer: While playing take "little breaks" from your child. Say works like "I'm going to the bathroom, I'll be right back". Do it and return and say words like, "I'm back or mommy always comes back". If you need to cook dinner say, "I'm going to go cook dinner, how about you play here while mommy cooks and I'll be back when I'm ready for you to eat." By doing this they learn that you mean what you say.
This teaches your child that you can be trust worthy.
I usually do things around the house until my daughter comes up to say hi and then take that moment to engage with her. Often after a little engagement they will usually go back to play by themselves. If you can't get that far try sitting on the couch with a book while your child plays on the floor. Start little and work your way up.
Step 2: Use your resources to arrange for a few babysitters or use child care workers.
Always tell your child where you are going and that they will be staying in the child care area or with a baby sitter and that you will pick them up in say 30 min or 1 hour.
You can get them use to a concept of time by using a timer at home.
So they know about how long things are. Always tell them you are leaving before you leave, never sneak out. If they are holding on as if their life depends on it take them to the child care worker or baby sitter and have them hold them until you leave. Tell them as you leave, "I will be back, mommy always comes back" and then walk out. Don't look at them and second guess leaving. It's a good idea to arrange in advance how long you will allow them to cry for you.
Step 3: Rinse and repeat.Just keep doing this process over and over again and eventually they will start making you wait to leave.
Check out these other great posts on Dealing with Children and other Brilliant Momma Ideas.
Being a Better Parent: Confront your child's Disobedience
Discipline of Children
Teach your child responsibility by the use of chores