Top Separation Anxiety Tips for Parents

When your child starts preschool for the first time, you might find your child in tears, clinging on to you with a strength you never knew they had. It might be difficult to experience, but separation anxiety is normal for young children to experience–especially when learning to say goodbye to their parents for the first time. In fact, psychologists say that it is a standard part of childhood development.

Children With Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is the fear of being separated from a parent or loved one. It can cause bouts of tears and crying, tantrums, or even defiance. Here are the top separation anxiety tips for parents to help your child overcome fear and anxiety, and help your child feel more secure.

Have a Practice Run

A good way to help prevent separation anxiety is to have a practice run of being away from your child. Let your child stay with a babysitter or grandparent for a few hours while you run errands, or while having a date night with your spouse. Getting your child used to being in someone else’s care helps take away the fears of not being with you.

Create a Goodbye Ritual

Creating a brief and specific goodbye ritual can help your child’s separation anxiety come to a halt. Develop a secret handshake or wave, or a special kiss given only at times of separating. You can also leave your kiddo with a significant object so they know you are thinking of them through the day like a wishing stone, charm, or photo they can keep in their pocket or bag.

Stick to a Routine

Kids do best when they keep to a routine. With proper rest and a nutritious breakfast each day, they will be ready and have less anxiety about you leaving them. Let your little one help pack their own lunch and get their clothes ready the night before to prepare your child and help them feel less anxious.

Read About It

There are numerous books available about children and how normal it is for parents to leave them in the care of someone else. A few books to consider are:

  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Ann Dewdney
  • I Miss You, Stinky Face by
  • I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  • No Matter What by Debi Gliori

Positive Signals

Don’t apologize to your child for leaving. By saying “I’m sorry honey, but mommy needs to leave.” is a bad idea and creates negative feelings in your child’s mind. Always send positive signals and let them know how much fun they are about to have with their friends and caregivers. Be sure to give a cheerful goodbye.

Don’t Stick Around

One of the biggest problems tends to be when mom or dad turn goodbye into a 20-minute ordeal. Get in the habit of giving your hugs and kisses, saying goodbye and then leaving immediately. Dragging out a goodbye when dropping your child off at preschool for the first time is certain to cause anxiety and tears to spring up in your child. Click To Tweet

Talk About the Process

Communicate with your child and share with them what is happening. Your child trusts you, so if you are open and honest and tell them what to expect, they will more likely have less anxiety when the time comes.

Dealing With Separation Anxiety

It can be difficult watching your child experience separation anxiety but don’t fret. Most the time, their anxieties will ease in a short time and learn to love being away from their parents and with friends at preschool.

To learn more about the best way to deal with separation anxiety, Contact Us.