Separation anxiety is a normal part of development. Usually it is first seen at six months, and in most children will be resolved by five years old. However, in a few cases, primary aged children can still experience excessive levels of separation anxiety, perhaps where the child worries about being forgotten or the parent not returning.
How can you support your child as they get used to a day on their own at school?
Check your own body language: Frowning, getting flushed, crying, speaking exasperatedly should be avoided. Stay level and calm, and don’t show any outward signals to your child’s tantrums and tears.
Listen to understand: Name the worry, don’t dismiss it, and make it normal. For example, ‘It seems you might feel worried about today. That’s ok, because doing new things can be scary. But you can cope. You did it yesterday.’
Get them busy: Help them to engage in an activity, unpacking their bag or playing with a group of friends.
Have a quick and simple goodbye routine: such as ‘kiss and quick cuddle, see you later this afternoon.’ Be casual and leave without fuss. Once you are gone, your child will soon settle.
Spend extra cuddling and reading time together: In the morning before school, is a great opportunity to fill up your child’s love tank. With a full tank, they’ll be more ready to spend the day without you.
If separation anxiety lasts beyond five weeks, it might be time to suggest a meeting with your child’s teacher so that you can come up with an agreed morning routine that will make it easier for everyone.
At Charlton, we love your children, we notice them and their worries matter to us. We work with the kids after you leave, to ensure that they become settled as quickly and comfortably as possible. By employing the above strategies, you will likely soon find that goodbyes are easier, and a whole lot less stressful for you both.
Mr Hayley Burns Learning Support