How to help a child with separation anxiety at school

How to help a child with separation anxiety at school

It is such an exciting time when your child takes that first step towards independence and goes to school. They are so cute in their new school clothes and back packs. Most of the time it is a smooth transition that your child will be excited about, but sometimes a child screams and cries for you not to go. This article will help you if your child has separation anxiety.

Children need to learn to develop a secure, trusting relationship with another adult. This is difficult for some children. Some children cry at times of separation for as long as a month. Some children will be so upset at first that they throw up. Some children will hit you in anger at separation and then again when you pick them up.

This is normal, too. It sure can make a parent feel lousy, though. All the emotional turmoil that you and your child are feeling is normal and a good indication that you feel a strong connection and bonding with each other.

When a child cries during the first few days of separating at a new school there are some things you can do to make it easier. Have a predictable goodbye routine. Stay five minutes, give them a hug and kiss, and say goodbye to them. Direct them to the same activity each time you arrive for a while.

If they enjoy coloring, go to the coloring books and get them started there. If they like the swings hug and kiss them and put them on the swing and swing them a few times and then go. Say goodbye in the same place every day. This predictability will soon become a soothing routine for them.

The longer you linger the more prolonged the anxiety will be for your child. Your child will ask for another kiss and hug, this will confuse the goodbye routine. Tell your child one hug, one kiss, and then goodbye. If your child is throwing a tantrum, hand them over to the teacher and leave.

The teacher will be able to calm them down and then it will all be over. This may happen for a few days, but if you are determined to be the “winner” then eventually the tantrums will stop. Then you will both be the “winners” when your child learns to control himself.

Children can learn how to soothe themselves in times of separation by playing a simple game with you; a goodbye, hello game. Using a doll or favorite teddy bear, act out the doll going to school or having a snack and playing with toys at school. Then, have the doll coming home. You can also play, “Hide and Seek” and “Peek a Boo” to show a child the concept of, “ I didn’t see it, now I do”.

Your child will eventually learn the sequence of their day; they go to school, get loves and hugs from you when you leave. At school they will have fun and play and learn to trust themselves and the teacher.

Then, they will get picked up by you for more love and hugs. Children are proud of themselves when they can master their own feelings and enjoy school.


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