6 Ways to Ease Your Child’s Back to School Separation Anxiety | ExpatWoman.com

6 Ways to Ease Your Child’s Back to School Separation Anxiety

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when handling your child’s separation anxiety.

Posted on

12 September 2017

Last updated on 30 August 2021
6 Ways to Ease Your Child’s Back to School Separation Anxiety
At Odyssey Nursery, we’ve been dealing with tearful separation since 10 years, and we can assure you that, in most cases, the amount of time your child spends in tears is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend lingering. We know it is difficult for you as parents to leave your child in tears, but if the separation is done right, he/she won’t remain that way.
So how do you do it right? Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

1. Don’t: Sneak out of the room when your child isn’t looking

Doing so is an easy way to avoid having a child you love to scream in your face, but it doesn’t help the problem. Your child is crying because they are afraid of abandonment, and when they look up to see their parent has left stealthily, the fear is reinforced.

2. Do: Say goodbye and tell your child that you have to go but you love them

Give them a hug, kiss, or whatever another parting custom you share with your child.

3. Don’t: Look scared and sad yourself

The way young children assess the safety of a situation is by reading their parent’s face. If you look like you are scared or about to cry, it will not convey that the situation is safe and will amplify their anxiety.

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4. Do: Smile and tell them that you know that they will have fun at Odyssey

Let them see on your face that they are safe and there is nothing for them to worry about. This may take a bit of acting on your part, especially if it is your first child and they are separating for the first time.

We know how torn parents can feel in these situations. At Odyssey, parents need more tissues than children over the first week. You know already that parenting isn’t easy, and this is a difficult time when you need to be strong for your child. Show them your biggest and most confident smile as you leave, then you can go cry. We have a specific room for this purpose ;-).

have fun at Odyssey

5. Don’t: Show indifference to your child’s tears

It is important that they know that you care when they are sad. Don’t scold them for crying or act frustrated by their emotions. Doing so will only add a sense of parental disappointment to their ongoing emotional anguish.

6. Do: Reassure them

Remind them that you know they will have a fun day at Odyssey, even though they are sad right now. Remind them that you (or whoever else) are coming back to get them. If you want, you can make a plan for an activity that you will do together after nursery. This will give them a reminder of your return, and give the teachers a way to break through the sense of abandonment.
When a child is crying for a parent, it is very comforting to be able to say, “I heard your Mom is taking you to get ice cream afternoon. That sounds like fun! What’s your favorite flavor?” Suddenly, the child is smiling and looking forward to the future. Only a minute ago, all they could think about was how alone they felt and how sad they were. Now they are excited for the fun time they will soon be having with their parent. Then it is much easier to play and have fun with their friends.
In general, you can make your separation go something like this:
You: Okay, Thomas, it’s time for me to go to work. I love you!
Thomas: (screams)
You: (pick him up and give him a big hug and kiss) Oh, honey, don’t worry. You are going to have so much fun at Odyssey today! I’ll be here to pick you up at [dismissal time], and we can go to the mall! Then afterward we can play with your new face painting set and have a silly face party!
Thomas: (continues crying and clings to your neck) No, Mommy, don’t go!
You: (pass him to a teacher) I have to go to work, but I’ll see you at pickup! I can’t wait to hear about all the fun things you did in the nursery! I love you! Goodbye! (And exit)
We know it is difficult to walk away when your child is in tears, but if you do it like that we can almost guarantee that the child you pick up will be smiling, happy, and excited to tell you about their day at Odyssey.
Odyssey Nursery
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Odyssey Nursery
At Odyssey Nursery, children learn and progress at their own pace under the respected Washington State Early Learning Benchmarks curriculum and the Reggio Emilia approach. Children are given the opportunity for self-development and self-discovery through this educational approach, and trilingual education. They have six branches Odyssey Nursery branches in UAE. In Dubai, you can find them at Umm Suqeim, Burj and Living Legends; and in Abu Dhabi in Khalifa City A and their newest branch in Al Mushrif.


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