How to Help Preschoolers Deal with Separation Anxiety

Separation is hard. For the littlest of kids, the concept alone seems impossible. You can have your kids prepare for preschool early on but sometimes, there is no telling how they will react when that day finally comes.

While some kids embrace the first day of school wholeheartedly, others would be a lot more apprehensive and afraid. They may start whining and crying on the way to school, refuse to go inside the classroom or lie on the floor kicking and screaming when you’re about to leave.

Scenarios like these have been played out over and over again. These are summed up in two words—separation anxiety.

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a form of disorder wherein excessive anxiety is experienced when one is removed from the home environment or an attachment figure. In young children, separation anxiety is manifested in their fear of being split from their parents or guardians.

For babies, separation anxiety can start as early as seven to nine months. It’s the age where infants associate love, care and safety with the adult that spent the most time with them. This is referred to as the primary caregiver, a role usually filled by mums.

 

You will stumble upon a lot of advice on how to deal with separation anxiety but before you follow them, make sure to understand the needs of your child first. Separation anxiety symptoms can differ from one child to another. Typically, children will either cry, throw a temper tantrum or be extra clingy—or exhibit a combination of these behaviours.

Turn Things Around With These Tips

The number one rule for saying goodbyes? Say goodbye. Distracting your child with a toy or a gadget and then sneaking out will only worsen the situation. Your kid might be even more upset than you intended once he realises that you just vanished without a word.

When you do say goodbye though, stay calm and relaxed. Children are quite responsive to their parents’ reactions. Showing sadness and concern will influence your son or daughter’s emotions so it’s best to be as encouraging as you can.

When you drop off your children at a daycare or kindergarten, keep in mind that you are leaving them in an entirely new setting. Prior to the first day of their new schedule, spend time at the location. Introduce your kids to the child care coordinators and preschool teachers beforehand. That way, they will get a sense of security and trust when left under the care of people they are familiar with.

Get Assistance for Child Separation Anxiety

The Berry Patch Preschool LogoTo little girls and boys, no one can compare to the affection shown by mum and dad. But it is important to let them know that they can receive the care and attention they need from other adults too.

When choosing a daycare or preschool centre, consider the adults’ ability to connect and empathise with your kids. At The Berry Patch, we’ve dealt with separation anxiety in children each time a new school year begins. Providing consistent support in a healthy, child-friendly environment is what we take pride in. Contact us today for more details.