How to easily animate child objects

I have a prefab in my scene and I want to be able to create animations for it. Each animation should be controlled by one animation controller (applied to the prefab root) but the actual properties that are animated will be child components of the prefab.

My problem is that when I select the prefab, and choose create animation in the animation window like this…

Now if I click on a sub object that I wish to animate, the animation in the animation window disappears…

I can add the object manually, by selecting add property, and choosing the right object from the list etc… But I really don’t want to have to do this… this is a time consuming way to create keyframe animations.

Is there anyway I can change this behavior?

You can click and lock the little padlock in the upper right corner of the Animation window to not lose focus when switching to a child object that has another Animator component as nearest parent. Then simply have the record button active and start changing the property you want to animate and a key-frame will be added.

The alternative is to only have one Animator controller in the hierarchy tree going upwards so the focus will not be lost.