Whether your child is starting elementary school, preschool or daycare soon, he or she may be facing separation anxiety.
That first time away from home can result in crying, tantrums and clinginess, common symptoms of separation anxiety. Don’t worry. It’s normal among young children, and there are a number of strategies you can use to lessen your child’s fears.
Make it a point to check out your child’s school and teacher well before he begins to attend, suggests PBS Kids. Bring your child to visit and get acquainted with the new surroundings where she will soon be spending her days and let her explore her room. Find out your child’s schedule so you can prepare him for what to expect.
It’s imperative to make sure your child has had a good night’s sleep the night before and has eaten a healthy breakfast. Have your child help you prepare her backpack the night before and get up a little early so you can take time to get ready and get into a new routine.
Establishing a special daily ritual to say goodbye can help ease separation anxiety, adds PBS Kids. Never “sneak” out of the classroom. Instead, you and your child can create your own secret handshake or goodbye wave or high-five, following a hug and kiss. Leave a tiny memento in his backpack. Always tell your child you love her and will see her later in the day.
Don’t let your child sense your own anxiety about leaving him. Be upbeat, and say goodbye with a smile on your face. Kids are great at reading their parents’ feelings and body language.
While separation anxiety is common, there are situations that can exacerbate it, such as divorce or other life-altering events, notes Parents magazine. If your child exhibits extreme symptoms, such as vomiting or fear that never goes away, consult your pediatrician.