Expert Tips On Separation Anxiety And The First Day Of School

There are many milestones that a child makes in their life, and you want to keep track of them all.

First smile, first steps, and first word are all ones that come to mind for any parent. Each of these is memorable and exciting.

But nothing trumps the anticipated moment of waving goodbye to your little guy as they drive off into the distance toward their independence.

We are talking about the first day of kindergarten, of course. Putting your child on the bus for the first time can seem emotionally overwhelming for you and them.

Separation anxiety is when “children are worried about being separated from caregivers”, according to Child Mind Institute.

The common issue does not always manifest itself with the classic symptoms of being clingy, and having an emotional breakdown when you leave them.

According to the Child Mind Institute, your child may be inattentive and restless in class, have behavior problems, or have trouble answering questions when called upon if they are feeling anxious.

Be wary, as well, if the nurse calls shortly after you leave telling you your child has a stomach ache, or headache and needs you to come pick them up.

Dealing with your child’s anxieties as they begin a big life step isn’t always easy and puts a lot of stress on you as a caring parent.

That’s why we have composed these expert tips for those who suffer from separation anxiety, easing a transition that gets to the most secure of people.

Preparing for what to expect is the most effective way to reduce the anxious feelings associated with transitioning to a new environment.

Try to get in touch with your child’s teacher before the school year begins, either through a meet the teacher day, or a private meeting upon request.

Find out what type of activities will be introduced in the first couple of months. Go over some of those activities during play time so they won’t feel bombarded by new experiences right off the bat.

Bring your child to the classroom in the school he will be attending. Familiarizing your child with a new environment before it is filled with rambunctious 5-year-olds can make them a bit more comfortable.

Introduce your child to their teacher before class begins. That way they will have a familiar face to look to in a room full of strangers.

Kids are excellent at sensing what emotion you are going through. If you feel scared or nervous when you are dropping them off, or putting them on the bus, they will be hesitant of going.

As hard as it is, try to remain calm and collected when you separate from your little one, making them feel safe and secure in their new space.

Keep your cool by implementing techniques to reduce your own anxiety in the classroom, or at the bus stop. Sometimes the parent’s separation anxiety is worse than the child’s.

Parents recommends that you “Ask your child’s teacher what her procedure is when children are crying for their parents.”

Knowing that it is going to be addressed in a loving and considerate way when your child is upset will give you peace of mind that their needs are being met.

Parents reports on how to leave in such a way that it makes everyone’s day run more smoothly:

  • When it’s time to go, make sure to say goodbye to your child. Never sneak out. As tempting as it may be, leaving without saying goodbye to your child risks her trust in you.
  • Once you say goodbye, leave promptly. A long farewell scene might only serve to reinforce a child’s sense that preschool is a bad place.
  • Express your ease with leaving. Some parents wave from outside the classroom window or make a funny goodbye face.
  • Don’t linger. The longer you stay, the harder it is. Let your child know that you’ll be there to pick her up, and say “See you later!” once she’s gotten involved in an activity.
  • Create your own ritual. One of the moms in Shanon Powers’s class, in Kansas City, Missouri, says goodbye to her son the same way every day: She kisses him on the lips and gives him a butterfly kiss (her eyelashes on his cheek), and then they rub noses and hug. When the embrace is over, he knows it’s time for her to go to work.

After the proper goodbyes are said, leaving your child with comfort objects is helpful.

If your child finds solace in a blanket or stuffed animal, maybe allow them to keep it in their backpack.

Another option would be to cut a piece of the blanket, or a photograph of the family, for them to hold in their pocket.

Leaving your child for the first time while they go off to “big boy” school is never easy, but thinking ahead can ease the frantic feelings you get in the moment.

Don’t let this coming school year catch you off guard. With school starting right around the corner, pick out the techniques that you think will work best for you and your child.

Please let us know how you felt on the first day of dropping your child off at kindergarten class or the bus stop, and how you stopped from falling apart.

 

 

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