Separation anxiety is normal in early childhood and can occur when a child gets upset when separated from a parent or carer. It is very common after holidays or extended leave from school. It might not appear in the first few days of school but as the days roll into weeks and the initial excitement of school wears off it can creep into morning routines.
Here are some strategies you can try if your child is still a little bit apprehensive at the morning drop off:
- Be brave yourself by keeping calm and rational.
- Always say a proper goodbye, never sneak out.
- Talk about how they are feeling before you get to the classroom.
* Tell them how proud you are when they are brave.
- Encourage them to stay at school all day (unless sick or unwell).
- Support feelings of anxiety by letting them know that sometimes you feel that way and chat about strategies that work for you.
- Find a friend or help settle them into an activity.
- Try to make goodbyes short and sweet.
- Remind your child of pick up arrangements “I’ll see you at the classroom this afternoon”.
- Stick to those pick up arrangements (as much as possible).
We understand that at times things happen that are out of our control and pick up arrangements may need to change during the day. Please contact the College as soon as you become aware of any changes. From what I have observed, it may feel uncomfortable to leave when your child is upset; however, after a few minutes most students settle and are immersed in learning. If a student doesn’t settle within a reasonable amount of time then we would call and discuss this further. If you would like more information about separation anxiety and how it can affect you as a parent, here is a useful link: http://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/mental-health-matters/social-and-emotional-learning/positive-separations-understanding.
Sarah Leary, Prep to Year 2 Coordinator – Student Welfare