Separation anxiety in kids isn’t uncommon. Most children who are heading off to school for the first time will experience this. If your kid struggles when you drop them off at school, there are strategies to say goodbye without them crying.
Starting preschool is a milestone for all children. It excites them and fills them with glee, but there are also feelings of uncertainty.
For kids, the main reason for their anxiety is that they don’t know what to expect in the new environment. In their early years, kids have spent all their lives with their parents and family. Now, going to school for the first time means a new environment with entirely new rules. For parents, they develop anxiety as they worry about their child feeling abandoned.
Here are some ways to help you deal with separation anxiety.
Talk about School Positively
Parents want their kids to think about school in a positive way, so it makes sense if you talk about school in a positive way. If you talk to your child about school negatively, this will just add to their fear that it isn’t a great place to be. Avoid making school an issue to argue about. Explain to your child that school is an experience we all go through and emphasize the great things they will do there. Tell them about the other kids they get to play with. Tell them about the books to read and the games they will play.
Many mothers will pull their children out of the classroom the first time they see them have a bad reaction. This gives a negative association to school for the child, limiting their opportunities to learn. It will set a precedent of not facing a problem head-on. That is why consistency is key. Be consistent when it comes to your child’s new preschool routine. As you drive them to school, give your child a strong sense of anticipation and keep your goodbyes short. When you pick them at the end of the day, tell them that you came back for them just like you said you would.
Involve the Teacher
An ideal preschool teacher is a caring and experienced professional who can anticipate what the students need. However, since your child is still new, you can brief the teacher what they need to know about your child. This will help the teacher know how to help ease the transition. Don’t forget to inform the teacher if your child has any allergies or other medical issues.
Don’t Leave Without Saying Goodbye
Once you have let your child get settled in the classroom, you might be tempted to sneak away without saying goodbye. This is a bad idea because this will instill fear in them once they find out that you suddenly disappeared. Your child will struggle more on the next day as they will feel paranoid about you suddenly disappearing again.
Practice a goodbye ritual. Decide with your child on something like a special handshake, a special hug, or a special phrase you could say to each other. Once you’ve had your goodbyes, tell them you’ll be back after school to pick them up and don’t linger.
Prepare your Child’s Comfort Object
Transitioning from just being at home to going to school may be a bit difficult for some children. One way to ease this transition is to let your child bring a piece of home to school. It can be a favorite blanket or teddy bear, something to hold on to when they feel uneasy or scared.
The first days of preschool will be overwhelming for both the parent and the child. By keeping these tips in mind, it will help the transition to school be easier.
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