If your child dreads the idea of coming to school, cries, throws tantrums, seems depressed or physically ill, he or she may be experiencing separation anxiety and you the parent, could be at the root of the problem as well as the solution. Separation anxiety is defined as a debilitating attachment between parent and child that renders the child unable to cope without the presence of his or her parents.
Parents are often surprised to learn that separation anxiety can strike at any point during the school year, regardless of whether a child experienced a smooth start. Separation anxiety can occur after any break in a child’s regular routine. For instance, after the child has been sick for several days and at home nurtured by mom, or after a holiday break or vacation. Some children experience these emotions at the end of the school year because they feel sad about leaving their friends.
A positive start to the day also affects your child’s attitude towards school. It’s important to establish a happy, peaceful morning routine that isn’t stressful for the you and your child. Play peaceful music in the car, turn off your cell phone…completely focus on your child during your morning routine so he or she doesn’t need inappropriate attention, which can be misread as being nervous about school.
If your child is unhappy at school or having difficulty with the experience of being apart from you, don’t dwell on those feelings or overreact. Encourage her by saying “I know you are happy and safe at school ”. Don’t pressure your child to make friends but rather ask her “what was fun about school?” It’s important to help your child develop a sense of independence and self-confidence. Empower your children by giving them choices and letting them make some decisions. Parents who don’t do this are saying to the child “Mommy needs to be there and you can’t get along without her”. You have to give children a sense of empowerment so that they are capable of making choices. If a child is incapable of making choices how can he or she leave your side?
Our teachers also play a major role in helping with separation anxiety. The teachers create a warm and welcoming atmosphere at school and will be happy to assist you with positive encouragement for the child at drop off times.