Monday, August 16, 2010

How to deal with separation anxiety

Written by: Nicky Praseuth

September is just around the corner and it starts a whole new school year for many children. Whether it be that they are returning to school or starting school for the first time. From a full summer of playing, going to camp, or just spending time at home with the family, many children will have trouble adjusting to their new environment for the first couple weeks.

Anxiety is a normal feeling when moving from one environment to another that is unfamiliar. Reactions to distress vary from child to child with common reactions such as crying, clinging, and whining.

Here are some ways you can help your child with their anxiety:
  1. Prepare and discuss with them in advance that they will be going to school soon. Explain that their routine will change (play time, sleep time etc.) and that they will have a new teacher and be able to make new friends. If you know, inform your child about who their teacher will be and which children will be in their class that they are familiar with.
  2. Be positive and try to make their transition fun and exciting! Let them know that you are excited to hear all about their day after school.
  3. If they are sad or upset, let them know it is ok to be sad and reassure them that you (or whoever) will be back to pick them up.
  4. Don’t sneak out but keep your good-byes short and sweet. Make sure you follow through with what you say you are doing. So if you say bye, do not hover around.
  5. Lastly, make it a routine and follow through! Children need consistency.

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