School Separation Anxiety Tips
Many loving parents get anxious sending their children off to school. A few strategies listed below may assist both you and your child. Keep in mind that the more secure you feel, the more confident your child may be. The Classroom Goodbye: When you drop your child off in the classroom, look around to see what is changing every day. What’s new on the walls? Which books are in the book corner? Where did that hamster come from?
Noticing the details may help you reconnect with your child later when you can talk about them together. Having a specific ritual when you arrive will lend a sense of comfort and routine as well, such as a hug or “high five” for the day.
If leaving is an issue and there are some tears involved, try these tips and hopefully this won’t happen for more than a few days. 1. Avoid long goodbyes. Remember that hug or high five?
2. Use encouraging words. “This looks like fun” “Oh, you love to do that”. 3. Get them playing with other children. 4. The teacher probably deals with this often. Enlisting her aide can work as well. Lastly, as tempting as it might be to escape when they’re not looking, it won’t help you tomorrow when they think you might just disappear again. A proper goodbye will set them on their way.
Talk about school at home. Specific questions might get your kids talking. “What was the best part of the story your teacher read today” “What’s it like to be team leader?” “What did you do on the playground?” Fortunately, you don’t need to be there to learn about what your child does at school. Discuss what the teacher writes in any correspondence or newsletters. When your child brings home work, comment on it with specifics. Communicating with your child about their day is healthy and reassuring for the both of you.
Your separation pangs. Parents worry if the teachers will really know how to care for their child. They feel loss because this may be the first time their child is away from home this long. They feel bad because they work full time and can’t be at school to help their child adjust in person. They may feel guilty if they have to leave a crying child at school and go to work. If any of these feelings find you, try to work things through by talking with a friend, your partner, or the school guidance counselor.
Your role. If you are having trouble separating, your child can pick this up. One way to help you both feel better is by developing a trusting relationship with the teacher and the school. Try to meet the teacher before your child begins school every year. Familiarize yourself and your child with the school itself. If you pick your child up, engage in brief chats with the teacher about your child’s day or anything you feel the teacher might need to know.
Your job as a parent is to be there for your child and protect them. You work hard to have a close relationship with them. Of course you feel sad when you separate, and a bit worried about whether he/she will be okay. Don't be embarrassed, nature designed us that way!