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Tips for dealing with separation anxiety
- Create quick good-bye rituals. No matter how you say goodbye, keep the good-bye short and sweet. If you linger, the transition time does too. So will the anxiety.
- Be consistent. Try to do the same drop-off with the same ritual at the same time each day you separate to avoid unexpected factors whenever you can. A routine can diminish the anxiety and will allow your child to simultaneously build trust in their independence and in you.
- Watch yourself — and your emotional cues “Children can sense when you’re anxious or concerned about something; it’s called social referencing”. Children pick up emotional and facial cues from their parents. So if you’re worried about something, though you may not verbalize it, your child may pick up on that vibe and become anxious themselves. So as anxious or sad as you feel, put on a smile and keep going!
- Practice being apart. Take your child off to grandma’s home, schedule playdates, and allow friends and family to provide child care for you (even for an hour) on the weekend. Also practice your good-bye ritual the same as if you were saying goodbye at school. Give your child a chance to prepare, experience, and thrive in your absence.