How to reduce separation anxiety when you leave your child in school


Are you worried about leaving your child in preschool for the first time? Then read this article that tells you how to reduce separation anxiety in your preschooler.

As excited as you may be about your child starting school and beginning a new life as a preschooler – it is normal and natural for you to feel anxious as well.

Leaving your child – in a strange place with strangers for the first time cannot be easy for any parent.

No matter how well you have researched the credentials of the school – no matter how many parents you have got great reviews from about the school – you are still bound to feel anxious when it is time for you to leave your child at school.

The tension and anxiety you feel about leaving your child at school is certainly compounded manifold if your child is anxious as well. If your child begins to cry and cling to you when it is time for you to leave school – it can make leaving and walking away even more difficult for you.

If you are the a parent who is leaving your child alone in school for the first time – remember that it is normal, natural and even good for your child to be anxious about staying away from you. It means that there is a strong attachment bond between the two of you. It also means that her brain has now developed sufficiently and can identify people and places as different. This is a very important development as it will keep your child safe from danger.

Remember that it is natural for your child to be upset because she thinks she is stepping out of the circle of safety of home and parents where she has lived from the time she was born.

But also remember that since you are putting your child in a school that you know is wonderfully safe and good – in reality you are not sending her out of your circle of security. Rather – you are extending the circle of security. You are extending the circle of security to include the school and the teachers there.

If you can convince yourself that your child is not in danger – your child will feel safe too. Children can read their parents thoughts and emotions very well. And if you are convinced that your child is safe – your child will think the same and there will be no more tears.

Some other things you can do to make the separation easier for both of you as well

  1. Keep calm and look happy when you drop your child off at school. Talk excitedly of all that is going to happen in school. Also talk happily of how much fun it will be when she comes running out after school when you come to pick her up later. Do not keep saying – “Don’t worry – nothing will happen”
  2. When you leave – say a firm goodbye and walk away. Do not hesitate. Do not look back to check if your child is crying. When you walk away confidently your child imbibes your confidence and stays happy. If you look back with a scared look – your child thinks you are leaving her in an unsafe place and gets scared too.
  3. Make a definite plan for the day and let your child know about it. Children can’t tell the time by looking at the clock and so they rely on events to know things. Repeat how the events of the day are going to evolve to your child so that she knows that the time of the day when she is going to be reunited with you is coming closer and closer. Routines are reassuring for children. When they know what is going to happen next they have time to arrange their thoughts and emotions and face the situation calmly. Keep home routines constant as well.
  4. Do not introduce too many new activities or people into your child’s life when she begins school. Getting used to a new environment and new people in the form of teachers is enough for her to handle initially. Too many changes can be overwhelming.
  5. Make sure that your child is not absent from school for long periods in the initial days. Going back to school after a period of absence can be very difficult for your child because by that time all the other children would be well settled and she would be the odd one out.

It is important to make the effort to ensure that your child gets used to school quickly and begins to look forward to going there every day. It is only when your child fells secure and happy in school can she begin to learn what is being taught.

Read Mommy blog on Mommy’s first day at preschool by Anupama Dalmia

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