Separation Anxiety is Normal
Welcome Back! School is officially in session. As excited as we all might be about school starting it can be difficult for you and/or your child to say goodbye in the mornings. Don't be surprised if your child is having a difficult time even if they are returning to the same classroom, with the same teachers, and the same peers. Separation anxiety is normal and we would like to offer some tips that might be helpful...
Prepare your child. Be sure to help them understand what they can expect. Talk about how the routine will go... "We will walk to entrance. A teacher will meet us there and I will give one hug, one kiss and one high five and then I will leave." Stick to your routine. A change in routine can make separation anxiety even more intense for a child. If you say you are going to give one hug, one kiss and one high five, DO IT! Drawing out the goodbye not only makes it hard but also hinders your child's ability to develop confidence that you are both really expected to do what you say.
Stay calm and let your child know you trust them. Although you might be concerned that your child is going to have a hard transition, be sure to express your confidence in them. You are welcome to give us a call later in the day and we will be happy to check on how they are doing for you. Rest assured that if your child is unable to settle or remains distraught, we will call you. It is important to us that your child feels this is a safe and peaceful place. If they need a shorter day here in order to build that confidence, we will support them.
Return on time. It can be difficult for children to build trust if their parent and/or teacher tell them that mommy or daddy will "be here soon" and you are not. If you are going to be late, give us a call so we can prepare your child. Unexpected events occur and we are happy to support you and your child so call our office if you are running late.
Give it time. It can take up to 6 weeks for children to "normalize." If you have concerns that it is taking your child too long to adjust, be sure to speak with the teachers. They might have some good ideas to help you both. Ask your child about their day. Let them express frustrations but also ask specific questions that might lead them to remember the good parts of their day. "Did you play in the sandbox today?" "Did your teacher read any stories today? What was the story about?"
Most importantly - be consistent!