Lockdown has caused our children to spend an unusually large amount of time at home with their families and so thought I would offer my Top Tips for dealing with separation anxiety. With the schools and nurseries re-opening I think this will be a challenge for a lot of parents even if it has never been an issue before.
Remember that how you react will impact the frequency, intensity and duration of your child’s behaviour so try and remain calm and be consistent.
Talk About It
Talking to your child about what is going to happen can help minimise their anxiety. Explain that school/nursery will be different to how they are used to it being but point out the positives like seeing their friends and teachers and reassure them that school/nursery is only allowed to open because they feel it is safe to do so and you would not send them if wasn’t.
Remind your child of their usual routine on school/nursery days. So what time they are up and dressed, eat breakfast and what time you leave the house and perhaps do a practice run a couple of days before so that there is less panic on the day which will help ease their anxiety.
Allow your child to be upset
It is never nice seeing your child upset and often we tell them not to cry but actually, allowing their emotions to be expressed will help alleviate the stress.
Acknowledge that it hard to say goodbye and accept that they will feel sad when you leave.
Keep it Short and Sweet
As difficult it is when your child is clinging to you wailing, try and keep your goodbye short and sweet. The longer you hang around the more intense it will become, the harder it will be for the teachers and the more disruptive it will be for the whole class.
Never go back, no matter how hard it is. Instead wait 15/20 minutes and give the school/nursery a call if you feel you need to.
Also, don’t go without them noticing as it will only make the situation worse and it will break their trust.
It is important that you acknowledge how brave your child has been for getting on with their day when you know it was really hard for them to do and that you give them some praise for doing so. Praising them will give their self esteem a boost and help build their confidence.
It is likely that you will also have your own anxieties but modelling resilience will hugely help your child to be resilient so try to not let your own emotions take over.
… that you are doing an important job in helping to teach your child how to deal with their emotions and that will help them in many ways throughout their lives.
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Jess Bleeze is a mum of 1 & has a contagious passion for supporting growing families and supporting small businesses in Tendring & Colchester and throughout the UK.
Jess is the MyBump2Baby area manager for Tendring & Colchester. Head over to her area where you can find everything pregnancy to pre-school related in Tendring & Colchester plus Jess’ parenting blog.