Dealing with separation anxiety on the first day of school
Sending your child off to Nursery for the first time will be a hard experience for both the parents and the child. However it is an important milestone in your pre-schoolers life and should be handled with care if you want your child to smoothly transition into school. Separation anxiety is normal, for both parents and children.
Here are some ways and tips to smoothen the transition:
- All children will approach the new classroom with at least a little apprehension. However it is important for you to remain upbeat and positive and not show your worry to your child because if he/she picks up on that then he/she will get anxious too. Whatever your feelings about your child leaving, try to act as happy about it as possible so that your child will know that there is nothing to worry about.
- If you are extremely nervous about your child then talk to the teacher. Tell her what you are anxious about. They are there to take care of your children.
- Never sneak out of the classroom without saying goodbye to your child. If you think your child will be better off not watching you go then that would be incorrect as it will make the experience even more traumatic for most kids. If he is worried about you leaving then sit in the classroom for a while and encourage him to play with his toys and once he is absorbed in them, then say a quick goodbye and leave. (Help your pre-schooler make friends)
- You can send him a security object or something comforting from home. You might have to check with the teacher if he is allowed to bring his favourite toy ( or whatever your child’s equivalent to a comfort object is) for the first few days. If he is not allowed to then many parents find that putting some of their child’s favourite juice in his sippy cup or a treat in his snack box also helps. You can even pin your handkerchief to your child’s clothes as another comfort object.
- Two or three weeks before school starts ( and not before or after that) you can casually drop hints about how fun this new place will be. For example if you’re driving past the school then you can point out to it and say “Look there’s the school you’ll be going to soon! Doesn’t it look colourful and fun?”. Or tell him how there will be so many new toys in his new school for him to play with. Make it sound exciting but don’t overdo it.
- If it’s possible, let your child get familiar with not only the idea of school but the place itself. You can take him to the classroom or even introduce him to his new teacher beforehand. This will make the place a little more familiar for when he actually has to go there.
- Many experts say that fixing a morning routine is good for your child so that he/she will not experience any more surprises or changes. So fix your child’s breakfast and every other morning ritual a few weeks before school starts so that the transition will be easier during the first few days and continue this ritual through the school year.
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