Mum solves toddler's separation anxiety by using 'life-sized' cardboard cutouts of herself

Photo: Sato Nezi / Twitter
Photo: Sato Nezi / Twitter 

As any parent of a toddler with separation anxiety knows, it's tough to get stuff done when your child screams every time you're out of sight.

A clever couple in Japan have invented a unique solution to her one-year-old's separation anxiety - the mother brings out a life-size cardboard cutout of herself and it seems to work for 20 minutes at a time.

Her husband Sato Nezi has posted a series of photos and a video to Twitter, proving that necessity is the mother of all invention. The couple had a standing and sitting version made so all bases were covered.

He wrote (roughly translated from Japanese), "It's hard because my one-year-old cries as soon as his mum disappears from sight. As a countermeasure, I experimented with what would happen if I set up a 'life-sized panel mother.'"

The photographs show the contented little boy playing with his cardboard mother looking over the lounge room.

The video is even more telling about how genius this parenting hack really is.

She is shown positioning the cutout and leaving the room, presumably in the care of his dad who is filming. The toddler looks around a few times and is satisfied once he spies the cutout of his mother.


The strategy has attracted many comments of amazement and support from Twitter users - and has clearly gone viral in Japan with over 123,000 likes and 47,000 retweets. 

Naturally, there are also plenty of sceptics who think the child will catch on pretty quickly once he realises his mother isn't moving or responding.

"I'm curious what kind of reaction will happen when the cardboard cut-out and the real one appear at the same time!" remarked one commenter. 

Essential Baby readers mostly thought the hack was pretty genius... others not so much.

"I need one of these to stand at the bedroom door so I don't have to stare at her for an hour to get her to sleep in her own bed!" wrote one follower.

Another person thought it was the perfect solution for a mum of twins: "You might need an extra copy of yourself so both twins feel like they have mummy."

This one remarked dryly, "Another option would be to focus on building resilience and emotional intelligence," while another simply wrote, "Cut the cord."

And finally there was, "Talk about creepy."

It's true that this hack is likely to last all of a week and then the parents will be left with two huge cardboard cutouts, but it was well worth it for the Twitter LOLs.

After all, we all do what we have to do as parents to get through those tricky toddler days.