Separation anxiety is a normal emotional development when a child is separated from family and environment they are accustomed to. The good news is this stage will pass and you can help the child to overcome this anxiety by following a few guidelines.
‐ Build in time for your child to get comfortable with us. The orientation is intended to help transition your child to the new environment.
‐ Don’t prolong goodbyes. Develop a routine of telling your child where you are going and you will be back. Kiss and hug and say goodbye. A child can detect anxiety on your part, so keep it light.
‐ Separation anxiety also occur in adults who will sneak a peek, make repeated return trips to the school, stand near the classroom window, prolonging the farewell. This often times makes it harder for you, the child and the school.
‐ In the past we have experienced a child’s tears soon subsides after the parent has left. So develop a healthy routine of saying goodbye.
‐ Where required, the school will notify you of an extended orientation period for your child.
Strategies to prepare your child for school
- Make an appointment to visit the school with your child. Often times you will be required to come in before school commences to fit for uniforms and complete the registrations. Take this opportunity to bring your child along.
- Build enthusiasm and lessen anxiety by explaining what your child’s routine might be like in kindergarten. Meet with the teachers and if possible, check out the classroom. Give you child time to acclimatize, often this could mean tracing their hands along a classroom wall and poking their head into a classroom of new friends. By observing the activities lessens the unknown for the child.
- Point out people your child can go to for help in case she/he is overwhelmed in the initial days.
- Expose your child to new experiences encourage them to explore age appropriate challenges as away to develop their creative and social development.
- Get up early on the first day of school, so the trip is leisurely and not rushed through the morning on the first day at school.
- The parent’s role is to provide assurance and confidence… be a scaffolding, not a pillar. As your child feels more secure, gradually melt into the background. Your goal is to let the teacher take over so you can get on with your day and for the child to discover their independence. Don’t linger. The longer you stay, the harder it is. Let your child know that you’ll be there to pick him up, and say “See you later!” once he’s gotten involved in an activity.
- Put on happy face, tension breeds tension. If your tone’s upbeat and confident that your child will have a good time, its likely he’ll be upbeat, too.
- Independence is a key milestone in a child, with support and encouragement a child’s independence will soon take flight.
Just remember, it’s normal for kids to cry when it’s time to separate (though some don’t). If it’s taking a while for your little one to adjust, don’t panic, our teachers and care givers have seen it all and they know just what to do.