Did you ever think all those tears and pleas were more then just that? Many parents deal with this situation the first few weeks of school and it can be utterly heart breaking on both the parents and the child.
Coping with back to school separation anxiety can be hard, but there are ways you can make the process easier.
This year we’ve lucked out with WeeMan not having severe separation anxiety, but the first two years of school you thought the world was ending. His first year of kindergarten he cried almost every single day. He never wanted to go. Would do anything he could to get out of it.
We thankfully lucked out with his one teacher being very caring and willing to work with us heavily to make the process easier. She would come out and help us drag him into class and we’d instantly disappear. Days he couldn’t calm himself down in the cubby room, she’d separate him from the class so he could calm before joining.
Her patience level was astounding, and let’s just say, I was very sad when I found out she was switching schools. She was WeeMan’s future wife!
Now, after two years he’s doing very well. This year we expected some huge melt downs with him going into Grade One, but he loves it. His teacher is very nice and he’s absolutely loving feeling like a big boy. I am one of those overly active parents that must know everything going on at school. It is my way of ensuring he’s progressing and not developing a hatred for school. We’ve lucked out this year as well with his class bullies not being in his class. He doesn’t cope well with other children who bully and gets himself into trouble defending himself so it was a relief to see the kids we had lots of issues with not in his class.
So, how did we cope with separation anxiety over the years you ask… here are some ways we got through such a trying time.
Develop a Routine
Routines around here are my life line. My children are on a very strict routine and I can’t function if we are not on it. Since we know the school schedule our weekends run by this schedule. Nutrition break is our snack time, and lunch break is our lunch. We keep everything around their usual day to day schedule to make school transition easier.
When a child is comfortable with a routine, they are more likely not to worry about the what next. They know what to expect and are less worrisome. Be consistent with the routine and there will be less melt downs and confusion with your children.
Don’t Be Late
This is something that is very important to coping with separation anxiety. When it comes to pick up from school, be on time. You want your child to know they can count on you for being there at the end of the day and this will make it easier on the drop off. They won’t worry that you won’t be there, because you are always there.
If you are not going to be there to pick up your child, discuss this with them and inform them who will be there. Make them feel safe by keeping them in the loop and not letting them just discover at the end of the day someone else is there to get them.
Don’t act like the separation anxiety is also affecting you, even though we all know it is the hardest thing ever. Stay positive. Make school seem like the best thing ever and that you’re jealous they get to go. If you make school seem like it is the best thing on the planet your child is going to be more likely to love it.
Positivity is key. When your child comes home from school, ask questions and act interested. Turn all those sad moments into positive moments and get your child looking at school in a different perspective. School doesn’t have to be a scary place, it is the funniest place especially through JK & SK!
Know Their Friends
Knowing my kids friends names was the best thing I’ve ever done. This helps inspire positive conversations about experiences with their friends and makes it easier encouraging them to have fun with those friends. Your child is used to you being their closest friend and now they are developing new friendships. By knowing their names, you can encourage these friendships and allow your child to know it is okay to have friends that aren’t your Mommy/Daddy, and you are fine with it.
You’d be amazed how worried your child is about you and you not having them with you. Your child will worry that you’re sad they have new friends and they are having fun with these new friends instead of you, so make sure you encourage these friends and your child not worrying about the friendship and love you have together, that it will always be there.
Did you experience separation anxiety with your children? How did you cope?