Fear has always been a common response to danger. It is designed to mobilize us and gather strength. You either fight or flight away from the possible threat. At the childcare center, it’s a familiar scene, crying toddlers at the door screaming and howling for their parents, trying to run out if anyone opens the door. Parents feel guilty, worried, and anxious when they see their little ones cry non-stop. Their helplessness to calm them down becomes all too stressful to handle. “We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he/she is someone today” - Stacie Tauscher. Although it is hard to leave your fearful child alone, there are some things you can do to work through their anxieties. A lot of children experience some kind of separation anxiety during their childhood. The reasons can vary from first day at school and prolonged absences like the long business trips, or divorces. With a little help and positive attitude, both the parent and the child can overcome separation anxiety.
How To Deal With Your Child’s Separation Anxiety
- Young children cannot tell the difference between a permanent and a temporary goodbye. This is a cause of separation anxiety. Leave a child saying like “I will be back soon” or “see you soon “. This will help the child realize that the parent will be back after some time.
- Keep your goodbyes short and not elaborated ones. Give your child a kiss and a hug and let them know when you will be back. Do not rush through the process of saying goodbyes. Remember the tantrums stop usually minutes after you leave.
- Children easily pick up feelings, tell your children in advance about leaving, and do not keep reminding about it. Let your child know ahead of time you will be leaving that particular day and somebody will be there to take care.
- It is important that you keep your children with someone who they are familiar with. When hiring a new baby sitter introduce your child well beforehand. This makes them feel safer.
- Make sure that your child is occupied in activities while you are away. Some such activities could be cartoon movies, coloring books, crayons, games etc.
- Never leave children on a bitter or angry note. Instead, leave on a positive note reassuring them that you will meet them right after the school. Tell them about the fun things and new friends they will make at school.
- If you are going to be away for a long time, put several notes with different messages each time in the lunch box. Make funny notes so that the child has fun and is happy.
- Keep in contact with your child as much as possible. You can try or call or visit your child during lunch breaks. Your child will be reassured to know that you are available when required.
- Express happiness when you meet your child again. Show interest and enthusiasm in everything that your child shares with you. Ask how your child’s day was, this will make your child happy.