Separation Anxiety

The beginning of a new school/pre -school year can be very stressful not only for the parent but the child. Separation anxiety disorder in children who are heading off to nursery is extremely common. If your child is struggling with the new routine or feeling anxious, follow these strategies for saying goodbye without tears.

Be Consistent

There are some families that see their child have a bad first reaction to pre -school and immediately decide to pull them out of the classroom. This will deny the child the opportunity to learn how to work through their feelings and sets a precedent of not having to face problems.

Instead, consistency is key when it comes to making Pre- School a part of your child’s new routine. Simply going together on a regular basis will provide your little one with a strong sense of anticipation. Keep your goodbyes short and sweet so that your child knows what to expect but don’t prolong your departure.

Getting the Teacher Involved

Brief your teacher with the necessary information that will help her and your child get to know one another better. Their eating and sleeping patterns are just as important as knowing their favourite colour. It is also important that the teacher knows the techniques families use to calm their child when they are upset or are feeling anxious. Also, please inform the teacher of any allergies or medical issues.

Do Not Sneak Away

If you suddenly disappear this can cause the child to be more anxious, it can take up to ten weeks before a child to be fully ready for mum to leave. Once you say your goodbyes it is best to leave immediately.

Avoid Comparing Your Child with Others

Honour your child’s process is the best way for a smooth transition to Pre -School. Your child will eventually outgrow their separation anxiety.

Resist Surprise Visits

Once you have left your child resist the temptation to go back, it is extremely important for the parent to develop a team approach with the teacher. The parent will then feel confident that her child will be well cared for when she is not there. Trust the teacher and trust yourself.

Carol Pedersen

Executive Principal