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Managing Preschool Separation Anxiety – Goodbye Without Tears

Updated: May 14, 2023

Adapted from  Ronnie Koenig – Parents Magazine

Separation anxiety for first time preschoolers in common. With the start of the preschool year approaching, it’s a good time to review of ways to ease separation anxiety for your child. Both child and parent experience separation anxiety. Emotions range from excitement and joy to tears and separation anxiety.

The Anticipation

The anticipation of “what will be” begins before the first day of school for a child with separation anxiety. For children, separation anxiety is focused on not knowing what to expect in preschool. For parents the main source of separation anxiety is the thought that their child will feel abandoned by Mom and Dad.

The following are five tried and true ways that will assist in easing separation anxiety for your child

BE CONSISTENT:

Consistency is key when it comes to making preschool a part of your child’s new routine. Routine will help your preschooler ease separation anxiety. Keeping goodbyes short and sweet is important so that your child knows what to expect. It will shorten your departure. At pick up let your child know that “Mommy came to back to pick you up like I said I would!” Using this consistent drop off/pick up routine will make for a healthy, happy day and year for your child.

GET THE TEACHER INVOLVED:

The best time to give the teacher necessary information about your child’s separation anxiety would be before the first day of school. This can be done by meeting with the teacher, via email, a phone call or a note. The teachers at The Toddler Club preschool are warm, caring, and experienced. They know the importance of caring for individual students and how to ease their transition into preschool. Our teachers want to know things about your child. For example; eating, sleeping, and toileting patterns, medical issues or food allergies and your child’s favorite game, color and songs.


PREPARE A COMFORT OBJECT:

Bringing a small reminder of home such as a favorite book, doll, or favorite snack to preschool helps separation anxiety. Eventually, children almost always outgrow the need to bring a comfort object to school.



DON’T SNEAK AWAY:

Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy.D., child and family psychotherapist and the author says “It can take up to ten weeks for a child to fully be ready to be left at school without her mother.” It might be tempting to sneak out of the room, but your little one will feel more afraid if you suddenly disappear. Dr. Fran Walfish recommends that “The best way to handle separation anxiety is by Mom sitting next to her or in the classroom but with no interaction but rather be there as a safety net.” Seeing her involved in an activity is a good cue that it’s time for you to say your goodbyes and then leave.



RESIST SURPRISE VISITS:

Once you’ve left your child for the day, resist the temptation to go back and check on her or phone the school every hour. This will not help your child get past her separation anxiety. It is extremely helpful for moms to develop a team approach with their child’s teacher. This way, mom can feel safe and confident that her child will be well cared for when she is not there. Trust the teacher and trust yourself. Have confidence that you made the best decision to chose The Toddler Club; the best preschool for your child.


To read the original article from Parents.com please click here


Watch a fabulous video on this topic called, “A Successful Preschool Transition: Managing Separation Anxiety” below. To watch it on YouTube please click here




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