Separation anxieties in the beginning of the school year are normal for both child and parent, especially if it’s the first time. In an effort to make this transition as easeful as possible, we have drawn from our years of experience to give you the following tips and suggestions.

1) Take advantage of all summer camp and open house visits that are designed to help you and your child become familiar with the school, classroom and teachers. The more you and your child get familiar with the space, the more comfortable you both will be.

2) Begin reading books about going to school. Some of our favorites are “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn or “Llama, Llama, Misses Mama” by Anna Dewdney

3) Talk about school with your child and let them ask questions. Listen and honor their questions.

4) Make sure you do say goodbye. Leaving when a child is distracted might seem like the easiest option, but children become very upset if they suddenly turn around and a parent is not where they expect them to be.

5) When you do say goodbye, give a quick kiss and a hug, along with the reassurance of your prompt return at dismissal time. Prolonged goodbyes can bring tears and make the separation even more difficult. 

6) Do your best to avoid using questions during drop-off.  For example, saying  “Im going to leave for a few minutes, ok?” can allow your child to think there is a choice and they will immediately seek a way to make you stay.

7) As tempting as it may be, do not to linger in the windows, hallways or where your child might be able to see you.

8) Give your child a picture of you or your family to hold, put in their pocket, or in their backpack/lunch box. Sometimes just seeing this picture can be reassuring.

9) Pack a special security toy or object in your child’s backpack. If they are feeling sad, this item may help to comfort them. 

10)  If you find yourself getting emotional at drop-off, try your best to be positive and cheerful until after drop-off is complete. Children look to adults for reassurance of their surroundings and they might get confused if they see their adult upset. 

11) Make it a priority to be on time for pick-up, especially during the first 3 weeks of school. This will reduce anxiety and concern that you’re not coming back and build a stronger trust between you and your child. 

12) If separation continues to be problematic or stressful, work with your teachers to create a solution that works for everyone. As always, we have you and your child’s best interests in mind.

by: Citibabes Educators