Toddlers attending school for the first time often experience separation anxiety. As much as it’s difficult to see your kid’s meltdown, crying and tantrums on the first day of class are normal.
According to childhood development experts, this stems from the fact that kids have long been with their parents, that not having their mother or father nearby feels like a threat to their survival. There are lots of ways to help your child cope with separation anxiety though. Here are some of them.
Prep them up
Weeks before school, you should already be training your child to be comfortable with you being away from them. You can try arranging for a bonding activity with a relative, dropping your kid off to the family member’s house and leaving them there for a few hours.
Of course, a talk should be part of your preparation. Your goal is not just to inform them though, but to address their anxieties as well. So, ask them what they feel about going to school, assessing how comfortable they are. Usually, it’s the fear of the unknown that makes kids uneasy, so let them know what to expect.
Talk to your child’s teacher about what happens on a typical school day. If you haven’t found a childcare centre yet, check out the kindergarten in Tootgarook and other close-knit communities, as these institutions often closely partner with parents to address children’s needs better.
Create a goodbye routine
One major reason toddlers get separation anxiety during the first day of school is their parents fail to give a proper goodbye. Some moms even ditch the goodbye part, sneaking out when their kids are already busy with what they’re doing. This results in tantrums all the same.
It’s important to let your kid know that both of you are parting from each other. This will help them better embrace the reality that they do have to be in class and you have to be away. A goodbye is crucial, and a routine would ease them into the idea of separation.
So, create a goodbye routine, say, a creative handshake or a secret eye movement. A hug or kiss will also do, of course. You can also leave them with a transitional object, like a marble stone or a little key chain.
Relay positive signals
Another source of separation anxiety for kids is often the parents’ reaction to the whole thing. You may not realise it, but your facial expression or body language may be communicating uneasiness as well.
So, as much as you want to prepare your child for this, you have to be ready, too. Talk about your feelings with a friend who has gone past the separation anxiety phase already. Get to know the teacher and the school as well. Sometimes, the uncertainty about what goes on inside the classroom is what’s making parents uncomfortable.
Again, separation anxiety among toddlers going to school for the first time is normal. But there are ways to reduce it. Remember these tips as you help your child transition to another season in their life.