It’s not uncommon for children ages one to four to struggle a little with separation anxiety when their parents drop them off at child care or leave them home for a night out. As caregivers, we are used to this and understand that separation anxiety is a normal process that many younger children go through. However, there are some things you can do to reduce it. Here are some tips we hope you will find useful:
- Develop a Ritual: Rituals are reassuring to children. They help them prepare for the fact that you are going to leave. In establishing a ritual, you are letting your children know that you are leaving and coming back rather than suddenly disappearing. The ritual could be as simple as a hug and kiss goodbye, singing the goodbye song together, or waving to each other through a window as you leave your home or child care center.
- Practice Being Separated: We always recommend that parents bring their children to our child care centers before their first day of being enrolled to help establish a sense of comfort. You can simply come for a few minutes to drop of your supplies and start to develop a routine. Then, on your first day of drop off, make sure to involve your classroom teacher in helping you ease into this transition.
- Learn to Cope: This goes for the guardian and the children. We understand that leaving your little ones can be hard. However, it’s important for guardians to remain strong and not give in. This will help your children learn to cope. So when it is time to leave, do your ritual, then leave right away. It may be challenging, but it will likely help your children in the long run.
Dealing with separation anxiety can be a difficult task. Just remember that it’s a normal part of development. With a little bit of practice, the frustrations involved with separation anxiety can be greatly reduced.
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