Separation Anxiety in Kids: How to Make Them Smile

Your little one is finally of age to begin preschool! Oh the jubilation!

No more will he or she always be mirrored by the loving presence of mommy or daddy. Your little one is finally of age to take his first tiny steps out in the world. While you as a parent are likely to be both thrilled yet a little sad at the same time; rest assured the feeling is only natural. Letting go of your baby is hard, but it will be tougher still on the child in question.

Separation Anxiety

Understand that your child has no idea of what to expect of this whole new world. They have no clue that they are even expected to face that new world without mommy and daddy by their side, something they have never experienced before. It is a natural tendency for kids to suffer from separation anxiety. But with time even the most pampered of kids will understand that, you are not gone for good!

That's when the tears and tantrums make an appearance and you don't know what to do. Are you really making the right choice by leaving your child? The separation guilt weighs on your own heart too. Don't let it overcome you, but instead use your understanding to turn this new experience into an adventure with these helpful tips. An adventure that 2 months later you are likely to see your little angel coming beaming home from.

Stay Strong

Yes, you will feel guilty. It is the very first time that both of you are spending time away from each other. Be strong and committed to the cause. Your child needs to experience the world on their own and this is only the first step. Resist the urge to take them out of school as this will only confuse the child even more. The next time you attempt the same thing; the child will throw another tantrum possibly bigger and expect to get out of it. This will make growing up a painful ordeal both for you and the child!

Stay consistent

A child needs to learn independence the same way they learn right from wrong. Keep goodbye's short and sweet with the promise that you will come back for them. Being consistent is the easiest way to adapt to any new routine and this is no different.

Trust the Teacher

Your child's preschool teacher should be taken into confidence at the beginning. This will help the teacher understand the child better, creating a more meaningful bond between them. Eating, sleeping and potty training patterns are distinct with every child. If there are any specific methods that you typically adopt to calm your child down, then sharing them with your child's teacher will help them handle the child better. This enables the child to trust the teacher as well, in the long run.

Don't Sneak Off

Sneaking off on your child is not an ideal way to go about the situation. This only serves to make the child suspicious of your comings and goings. Be honest and straight-forward with your child, even if initially they don't like it, the child will come to rely on the information you give them.

Stay Positive

It's been days of tears, tantrums and frustration from both sides. While some children may adapt sooner than others, this is no reason to compare other children with your own. Certain children adapt to the situation by crying while others might be quiet. All children do eventually outgrow the separation anxiety. However, be advised because breaks or vacations may make the situation regress. Remember, consistency is the key. If you believe that you are doing the right thing, you child will sense it too.

Have a Warm-up Day
Before the first day, you may visit the school with your child. Often, preschools have visiting days so your child can freely explore the classroom as well as the play area. It’ll help your child become familiar with the school’s surroundings while being in the comforting presence of their parents. 

Stick to a Routine
Children need plenty of rest, and they must eat a nutritious breakfast before their first day of school. This helps them relax, be their best, and not feel rushed. Pack their lunch the night before and include a light snack for snack time in their lunchbox. Make sure to have their clothes, socks, shoes, and school bags ready the night before because it will save you a lot of time in the morning. 

One day when that smile finally makes an appearance at the mention of going to school; you'll find it was all worth it.


Dorothy Hastings

Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three Preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child's social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.

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