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5 Tricks to Ease Separation Anxiety

Blog 9.14It happens all too often. Parents start to drop off their young kid in your class and even before they leave the room, the waterworks start. Tears start flowing, followed by high-pitched screams of "I want my mommy!" Now instead of focusing on teaching and loving on the rest of your kids, your attention must turn to calming down the child dealing with separation anxiety.

My wife has seen this situation many times. Since college, she has worked as a nanny and daycare worker. When I told her I wanted to write about how to deal with kids and separation anxiety, she shared with me some of her own horror stories.

At times it can feel as if there is nothing you can do, but there are some steps you can take to help make the drop-off an easy one. Here are five tips to help you avoid a bad goodbye:

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  1. Quick and Simple:  KidsHealth.org offers some great tips for parents dealing with their kids' separation anxiety. Two things the site says parents should avoid are sneaking out when their kids aren't looking and making too big of a deal out of leaving. A quick, simple goodbye is best for all.
  2. Pick Your Play: One of the best ways to help kids shake the fear of being left by their parents is to quickly get them active and continue to keep them occupied. Most of the time, children will stop crying on their own after a short period. However, if kids are still having trouble warming up to the situation, give them a choice of what to do. Giving kids some simple options helps them feel more in control and able to handle being by themselves.
  3. Policy of Honesty: Let kids be honest with you about how they feel. And be honest in return, telling them when their parents will be back. Instead of saying "Your parents will be back soon," give kids a timeline such as "After we play, eat our snack, and clean, it will be about time for your parents to come back."
  4. Meet and Greet: If you can, meet with parents and kids outside of the classroom. Allowing the children to meet you beforehand can help them feel more comfortable when it's time to say goodbye.
  5. Keepsakes are Key: If kids keep asking for their parents throughout the day, don't give in and let them go. Instead, have them do something special for their parents. Suggest the children make cards or draw pictures to surprise their parents when they come back. If the problem persists, have parents write letters to their kids before class-you can pull these out midway through your session to remind children that their parents love them and will be back soon.

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Keep in mind that at some point separation anxiety turns into a disorder. According to WebMD, "When this fear occurs in a child over age 6 years, is excessive, and lasts longer than four weeks, the child may have separation  anxiety disorder." At this point, you may want to consider talking to the parents about getting help for their child to deal with these fears.

Let us know what you have done to help your kids overcome separation anxiety. Leave your stories of successes and failures below!

Posted at 12:01

2 Comments:

Erlyn said...
Thank you for the sharing.. could you please give some tips for the parents whose child in the separation anxiety situation? thank you.
April 10, 2013 07:24
Erlyn said...
Thank you for the sharing.. could you please give some tips for the parents whose child in the separation anxiety situation? thank you.
April 10, 2013 07:26

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