Do you know how to deal with your child’s separation anxiety? One of the hardest things a parent has to deal with is their young child having separation anxiety. This is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental vulnerabilities. Children from low socioeconomic families, a history of anxiety and how much mother’s were stressed during pregnancy. Many children with anxiety disorder refuse to go to school. So how can you help your child adjust? Here are some ways to help your child feel less anxious about school and being away from you.
How To Deal With Your Child’s Separation Anxiety
- Create quick goodbye rituals. When I worked in day care I would see different variations from secret handshakes to a sequence of goodbye kisses to sequences of fist bumps and high fives.
- Be consistent and drop off at the same time with the same goodbye ritual everyday. If you want, make one up for Mom and one for Dad, depending upon who drops off.
- Upon separation, give your child your full one on one attention, be loving and then leave quickly. No matter how hard they cry for you to stay, it usually doesn’t last long after you leave.
More Ways To Deal With Separation Anxiety
- Keep your promise and come back at the same time everyday. This is extremely important as I have seen too many kids get very anxious when Mom or Dad isn’t there right on time. If you’re going to be late, please give your child’s teacher a call. That way, they can explain to your child why you are running late. For example, “Kayla, Bryan’s swimming lesson is running late so Mommy will be a little later than usual to pick you up.” You have no idea how many relieved faces I have seen from just a simple phone call.
- Be specific with your child. If you’re going to be back by 3:00, let your child know you will be back after nap but before snack time. This will help ease their anxiety.
- Practice being apart. Ship your kids off to grandma’s or for a play date with a friend and see how it goes. Before you’re child starts day care or preschool, practice your goodbye ritual.
- As a teacher, I sometimes tell the kids, “The sooner Mommy and Daddy go to work and have a good day then they can come back and pick you up.” Once they realized the sooner they are apart from their parents, the day will pass and they will come back, this helps.
It takes time for any child to adjust to new surroundings and new routines. If at first these things don’t bring your child comfort, don’t despair. Things will get better as time goes on, I promise. Don’t ever feel like it’s just your child, I have seen kids that normally have no problems with drop offs have melt downs sometimes. Kids have bad days just like the rest of us. By using the suggestions above, you can help your child with their separation anxiety and thrive.