Separation Anxiety– Ideas for Back to School
Many children experience some separation anxiety when they begin a new school year, especially if this is their first time in preschool. Here are some ideas you can try with your child if he or she is having a difficult time saying goodbye:
- Prepare your child by talking about going to school and what will happen there.
- Spend a few minutes of special time with your child at home in the morning.
- Create a routine around leaving and returning. For example, you may have a special hug, kiss, or greeting for saying goodbye and hello.
- Make sure to say goodbye to your child before leaving, “sneaking out” can make the child more upset later. But then leave promptly.
- Choose a security object to bring along to school. This could be a favorite toy or blanket, or a photo of your family. It is a good idea to talk to your child’s teacher before discussing this with your child, to come up with a plan that will work for the classroom (many classrooms have policies about toys, etc. from home). You can develop a plan with your child’s teacher where the use of the security object can be phased out (for example, your child brings a family photo to school and keeps it in his backpack. He goes to his bag and looks at the photo if he starts to feel upset).
A great book to read with your child before starting school is the Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn