My son is 2.5 years old. He's at that stage where being separated from his Mama is very stressful. All toddlers go through this. However, it is worse than normal with my son. He has a neurological disorder that makes it nearly impossible for him to speak, and this lack of the ability to communicate makes him very anxious when he's around strangers. We communicate with ASL, but most people don't, and going to the daycare tends to be a major struggle. He also has sensory processing issues - which just make everything more difficult for him to process and cope with.
We first heard one of the Llama Llama books at our local library storytime. My son loved the Llama, so when I saw a book titled "Llama Llama misses Mama" I had to get it. Turns out, this is one of the most useful book in the house right now! The story is about Llama Llama, a young llama (go figure) who is starting at school for the first time. He doesn't want to go, doesn't understand why Mama has to leave, and gets very upset. When he finally breaks down, the teacher explains that Mama llama had to go to work, but that at the end of each day, she'd return. And in the meantime, Llama Llama would get to play fun games with new friends. The other students then make an effort to include Llama Llama in the games. Pretty soon, Llama Llama is having so much fun, he doesn't realize it's the end of the day and Mama has returned. He learns that school is fun and that (and here's the important part for me) when Mama leaves him at school (daycare), she always comes back to get him.
It took a few nights of reading this story before my son began to get it. When it came time to take him to daycare for a few hours, I explained that he was Llama Llama and I was Mama Llama. I had to go to work, he would play with friends and then I'd come get him. You know what? The meltdown wasn't half as bad as normal...and apparently he calmed down almost as soon as I left this time! The book helped!
We are now working on "Llama Llama Mad at Mama" - a story about having to be patient while shopping with Mama. I highly recommend the Llama Llama books to anyone with a young child, even if the child isn't having problems like this. The books are fun to read with rhythm and rhymes. The illustrations are great, and the lessons behind the stories are priceless!