Separation anxiety is fairly normal occurrence and most children will experience this at some stage. And it's something they will eventually grow out of. My daughter suffered from it when she started prep so i've learnt some things along the way so I thought I would share them with you all.
1) Make sure tell them what is happening.
Explain using direct language what will be happening try to do this as many times as possible before you leave home or while your driving in the car. i.e Mummy/Daddy will be helping you unpack your lunchbox, water bottle and fruit snack then you will need to sit on the mat to get ready for your teacher.
2) Don’t sneak off
Make sure you tell your children when you will be back whatever you do, don't sneak out without saying goodbye. So for example: "Mummy/Daddies is going now she will be back when all of the other mummies come to collect their children" "Mummy/Daddy loves you very much - have a great day"
3) Stay relaxed and happy.
Your child will naturally mirror you and follow your lead so if you stay calm and relaxed they will too. If you look worried or feel tense they will too. If you feel those tears coming yourself make sure you do your best to not let them escape.
4) Don’t drag out your goodbye’s
Settle your child into an enjoyable activity then say your goodbyes with a cuddle and kiss then leave. Don't drag it out.
If your child continues to suffer greatly from separation anxiety here’s a little tip. You can make a little photo album with photos of them. Leave this with the teacher just incase they get upset during the day that way the teacher has a way to relax them.
Some photo's to include would be:
- Getting ready for school
- Riding in the car
- Going through the front gate
- Walking into the classroom
- Sitting down with their favourite activity
- Eating lunch
- Mummy/Daddy coming to pick them up
- Driving home
- Home doing their favourite activity
This way it's a visual reminder that Mummy/Daddy will come back and they will be taken back home.
You know your child best. If you’re worried about his anxiety, consider seeking professional help. Here are some places to start:
· your child’s school counsellor
· your child’s GP or paediatrician
· local children’s health or community health centre