These are the fateful words as a parent, you dread to hear when dropping your child off to a new environment. Separation anxiety is normal in an infant and toddlers development. Don’t panic Mom and Dad, you are not alone! Around the age of 2 is usually when toddlers start to notice a pattern that you may be out of sight for a while but not forever. Older children may still have some anxiety around drop off time, but there are several strategies to work through to help.
I Wanna Go Home!! Transitioning Into Child Care
he following are some recommendations from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The Good Goodbye: Strategies for Families
- Have a routine for leaving home to go to school. For example, you might make up a silly song to sing in the car as you are on your way: “Off we go to Jackie’s school, Jackie’s school, Jackie’s school. Off we go to Jackie’s school, early in the morning!”
- Create a goodbye ritual to separate with love. For example, you might say, “Momma loves you more, here are two quick kisses and I’ll give you two more when I pick you up after work.”
- Leave without making a big deal, trusting that the educators know how to support your child’s big emotions.
- Never leave without saying goodbye. Sneaking away only heightens a child’s worry that they cannot trust you or trust in your return.
I found this great site that lists testimonials from parents who had anxious children, and what worked to make that “Good Goodbye” for their child: https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/separation-anxiety-in-preschool/
School Partner Strategies
Our teachers are trained to use several strategies to help an anxious child transition into their school day. What works for one child may not work for the next, but while you work on creating your “Good Goodbye,” we will work in the classroom. Some of the methods include:
- Showing the child photos from home
- Introducing them into an activity that interests them like art or block building
- Reading a book together
- Showing the child the classroom schedule so they know what to expect for the day
- Ask the child to be teacher’s helper for a task (making them feel useful and important!)
- Helping the child make friends they can buddy up with when they get dropped off
And many more!