Tips to ease the separation anxiety between parents and children.
Saying goodbye on that first day of school can be the hardest moment for parents and children. Here are some tips on how to ease the separation anxiety:
- Reintroduce the teacher to your child. Allow them to form an initial relationship. Make it clear to your child that you trust the teacher and that they will look after you.
- Bring a friend from home. Ask the teacher whether your child can bring along a stuffed animal or toy to keep in their school bag, so they can grab it when they need comforting.
- When it’s time to go, make sure to say good-bye to your child. Leaving without saying good-bye to your child risks their trust in you. If good-bye is too much of a final word to them, then tell them that you will see them later and have a lovely day.
- Once you say good-bye, leave promptly. A long farewell scene will not help your child settle in quick enough and it will feed on both of your anxiety about the first school day. The sooner you leave them too it, the sooner they will forget why they are nervous about their first day at school and why you were worrying all this time.
- Express your ease with leaving. Some parents wave from outside the classroom window or make a funny good-bye face.
- Create your own ritual. Say goodbye the same way everyday to your child: as this creates comfort and reassurance for your child before starting school. For example: kiss and a hug goodbye, rub noses or pull funny faces at each other. When the embrace is over, they knows it’s time for them to have a fun day at school, learning new things and playing with friends.
- Learn the other kids’ names. When you can call your child’s classmates by name (“Look, Andrew, there is a space at the rainbow table with Elliott and Ben”), it makes school seem much more familiar and safe.