Separation anxiety is a very real issue among young children. It’s something that most parents have to go through when their child first starts school. Everything is new, both for the child and the parent, and it can be a really stressful time in life.
So, what can you do about separation anxiety? Is there any way to prepare for it and to overcome it? Or, at least lessen the stress levels associated with separation anxiety?
Let’s take a look at 5 ways you can help your child with separation anxiety issues.
#1 – It’s a Good Idea To Practice Separation Early On
Practising separation can start off in small, bite-sized pieces to get your child used to it slowly, over a period of time. The earlier you start to do this, the better.
When little kids spend all their days with a parent, then suddenly that parent drops them off for the first day of school, it’s a massive shock. This shock factor will be minimised or eradicated altogether if separation has previously been practised on a regular basis.
One way you can do this is to leave your young child with a caregiver or a friend or relative. Start out with very short periods of separation, extending the length of time you are away as you go on. Very soon, your child will become used to you leaving them, but confident that you will always come back.
#2 – When You Leave, Leave Quickly
Practising long and lengthy goodbyes every single time you leave the house is only going to develop a bad habit in a child and make separation anxiety even harder to deal with. The longer you take to leave and say goodbye, the more guilty you will start to feel for leaving. This is not good for you or your child.
Instead, practice leaving without fanfare and very brief goodbyes. Just step out the door and go, no matter what you’re feeling on the inside. Your child will soon become accustomed to short goodbyes and the fact that you have to leave them from time to time. They’ll also develop a sense of independence after a while, which is a vital character trait for them to have.
#3 – Talk To Your Child
Communicate with your young child on a regular basis. Explain to them that there are occasions when you have to leave home. Always emphasise that you’ll always come back, that when you do go out, it’s only temporary
Children often understand more than we give them credit for and through the process of repetition, your child will learn to understand and accept the fact that you can’t always be home with them 24/7. By practising separation and reassurance through communication, they’ll soon become accustomed to it.
If you promise to return home at a certain time, do your very best to stick to that promise, as this will instil more confidence in your child.
#4 – Leave Them With a Familiar Caregiver
Part of separation anxiety stems from a break in a familiar routine. There’s no avoiding this entirely, but what you can do is strive to leave them with a familiar caregiver while you are away.
If you’re using babysitters, for example, if a different babysitter appears every other day, your child is not going to feel comfortable and secure. Try and use the same person on each occasion so a sense of familiarity and security is developed.
#5 – Enrol Your Child In a Day Care Centre
Enrolling your child in a day care centre or early learning centre is a huge step you can take to overcome separation anxiety and prepare them for when they start going to school. Early learning day care centres are filled with young children and fun activities. In no time, your child will feel right at home.
Just search online to find quality day care centres near you. Example searches would be:
- Day care Sydney
- Day care centres for children in Sydney
- Sydney daycare centres
- Early learning centres near me
- And so on…
Separation anxiety can be overcome, but it’s vital you start practicing separation at a very early age. Children are intelligent and highly adaptable. Overcome your guilt for leaving them and your child will soon become accustomed to it.