Starting school is a big milestone for kids. It can be an exciting time, but it can also be nerve-wracking for some children. Separation anxiety is common in young kids and can make the first day of school very difficult. You can start preparing for when this time comes by having a calculator to work out when your child starts school.
With the start date for your child looming closer, here are three tips to help your child deal with separation anxiety and make the transition to school easier.
Talk with Your Child in Preparation
To start with, it is important to talk to your child about separation anxiety. Discussing separation anxiety with your child can help to normalize their emotions and make them feel like they are not alone in this experience. This can also help you better understand what kind of support your child might need and how best to provide that support.
Separation or child anxiety is a two-way thing between child and parent. The child can often pick up on the anxiety the parent is feeling, apart from having their anxieties. These will be about starting a new experience that is unfamiliar as much as the separation from the coziness of the home environment and their parent or parents.
It is good for anybody to talk and particularly children who are feeling nervous or apprehensive about doing something different and a bit unknown. By talking through something with an adult they trust, a child can begin to picture what it might be like in another place. Adults have the advantage of having been at school once, albeit with a few changes over the passing years, so can provide much-needed reassurance.
Also, it can be good to have had your child visit the school venue first, or at least pass by its outside on several occasions before starting there. At least, then, the outside of the school building will not look too imposing on their first day. Anything large can look scary to a small child.
Create a Goodbye Ritual
Creating a goodbye ritual can help to make separation easier. This could be something as simple as a hug and a special phrase or handshake that you do every morning when you part ways. Having this consistent routine can provide comfort for your child and make separation less intimidating each day.
Always show your child that you are going to miss them as much as they are going to miss you. Then they will appreciate that it is a two-way thing that you are having to cope with too.
Stay Positive and Encouraging
Finally, it is important to stay positive and encouraging throughout the separation process. This can help your child feel more secure and confident during separation. Praise them for their courageousness and remind them that you will be reunited at the end of the day.
Having a pleasant and stable home to return to can make all the difference to a child feeling secure and supported throughout their new experience. It should only be a temporary anxiety as they will soon get into a routine that they will enjoy. Humans feel comforted by the familiarity of regularity and doing something often that is not that daunting after all. It is the same for children as well as adults. A school will only be unfamiliar territory until it becomes a way of life.
By following these tips, separation anxiety doesn’t have to be a major obstacle for your child as they start school. With a bit of preparation and support from you, separation anxiety can be managed effectively so that your child can have a successful first day at school.