4 Ways to Ease Your Child's Separation Anxiety
If crying and tantrums are commonplace in your daily preschool drop-off, your child may have separation anxiety. Many children experience separation anxiety between one year and five years old. It is usually a phase that passes quickly. You can help your child feel more comfortable when away from you by following these tips.
- Follow a regular schedule. Part of separation anxiety is that your toddler is unsure when you are going to come back or if you are going to come back at all. By setting daily routines for drop off and pick up at school, you can help them better understand that you always come back at a certain time.
- Introduce new places and people slowly. If your child is going to start daycare, visit the daycare with them a few times so they can get used to the surroundings, routine and other children. When it comes time to drop them off alone, they may not mind as much because they know how much fun daycare is.
- Stay calm. If your child has separation anxiety, they find goodbyes scary and sad. If you also appear sad or worried, this will only make the situation worse. Stay calm, positive and happy to help them learn that goodbyes are okay.
- Be firm. It can be incredibly hard to leave your upset child, especially the first few times. However, if you give in to their crying and go back to them, you teach them that crying and screaming will make you come back. You also keep them from getting used to the routine. Repeat the same affirming goodbye phrase every day to help both you and your child stay positive.
If your child is older and refusing to go to school or seems to refuse to only go to one place, other factors such as bullying or teasing may be causing their anxiety. Read more information about separation anxiety in children and school.