How to deal with separation anxiety among pre-school kids?

First day of school ! Do any of us remember our first day of school? No we don’t remember the very first day. But if we ask our parents about it, they would remember it as it was a very special day when their kid started his/her school.

Do any kid wants to leave their parents, home and their toys and go to school? I can’t think of many kids who would love doing that. The first day of school is hard for kids and parents both. As in most of the cases, this is the first time the kid and parents are gonna be away for hours.

Kids want to play with their toys and stay around their family. Same happens with parents, specially with young parents, they feel anxious and afraid to send their kid away from them even for few hours. This feeling of hesitant, denial and anxious is what leads to separation anxiety.

What is Separation Anxiety?

The child's fear of being separated from their parent is called Separation Anxiety.

Children generally become nervous when they are sent away from their home and parents. It is mostly observed in preschool kids. Kids who experience separation anxiety usually shout and cry. Dropping the children off at school becomes especially difficult for parents when they see them crying & pleading not to leave them there.

Let’s look at how new parents and teachers might identify a child’s separation anxiety:

  • Extreme crying
  • Clingy
  • Repeated outbursts of anger
  • Apprehensive about meeting new people
  • Sudden outburst when parents or familiar people are not in sight.
  • Avoiding Interaction

Tips to deal with Separation Anxiety

The effort to help children overcome the anxiety needs to come from both parents and teachers. Following are some ways every parent should try to make their kids familiar with the new environment :

Explain the routine of pre-school:

    • Let them know about the games they will play there, the new kids they will meet and also about the new environment.
    • Tell them you will be there to pick them up after school ends.
    • Inform them that they will also eat their lunch at school with the new friend they might make.

Visiting the school

    • Before the school begins, visit the preschool together with your kid. Show them the classroom & play area and highlight the various activities they will be doing there everyday.
    • Also mention the schools name to them.
    • Prepare them for the first day of preschool over the first week by saying, "Next week, you'll go to Little Falcons Preschool and play with the kids there.
    • When you pass the school while driving, discreetly point it out to your child.

Meeting the teacher

    • If possible try to meet the teachers. Teachers are most likely to understand children’s psychology.
    • The preschool transition for students is also anticipated to be made easier by qualified teachers.
    • Show your child that you like and trust the teacher. This will help your child have an easier time forming an attachment with the teacher.
    • Your youngster will feel more at comfortable in their class if they recognise some of the people.

Make a deal with them

    • If they are becoming anxious, distract them and give them their favourite toy if they attend the class.
    • Give them their favourite school lunch.

Handle Preschool Anxiety

    • Prepare sweet messages and put them in their pocket, promising them they can read them when they reach school.
    • Create a handshake & weave.
    • Kiss, hug and say goodbye with a smile.
    • Let them know you adore and support them.

For Teachers

Following are some ways every teacher should try to make the kids familiar with the new environment :

  • Greet each student with their name & a warm smile.
  • Do not make comparisons between the children.
  • Deal patiently with them.
  • Help them calm down after their parents leave.
  • Try to develop a friendly bond with kids.
  • Tell the children about all the lovely things they can do before returning home.