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Dealing With Separation Anxiety

Changes in your child’s life can cause some difficulties. Switching to a new daycare or starting the year in a new classroom sometimes creates stress when it comes to dropping off your children. While some transitions go smoothly, it’s not uncommon for kids to become anxious when it comes time to say goodbye. These moments can be upsetting for parents. While separation anxiety is a normal part of development, it can help to understand what sets separation anxiety into motion and find coping methods that work best for your child.

How to Ease Separation Anxiety in Children

Separation anxiety can be prompted by a variety of factors. Being separated from primary caregivers they feel comfortable and safe with can result in uneasiness. Leaving for work, dropping off at daycare, or anytime you’re going to be apart, your child may turn clingy, cry, or have an outburst. From early infancy and into the preschool years, children are sometimes prone to anything from mild to severe separation anxiety. Some children may never experience it while others only have issues when major changes occur.

There are tools to help ease your child’s separation anxiety, including:

  • Prepare in advance – When you’re expecting a change that might trigger separation anxiety, make preparations. Arrange for visits to the new daycare before the start of the year. Familiarize your child with their teachers, caretakers, and environment so that they feel comfortable and secure.
  • Follow efficient goodbye routines – Make goodbyes quick and routine. You can choose a phrase to say, a special hug, or a favorite toy to bring along, but keep it short. The longer you linger or procrastinate, the more upsetting it is for your child.
  • Be dependable – Create a drop-off routine and be consistent. It can be difficult, but your child will grow accustomed to the pattern, know what to expect, and feel reassured by it.
  • Fulfill promises – If you tell your child when you will return, keep that promise. This supports trust and confidence for your child when you’re apart.