How to Help Your Child with Separation Anxiety Before School Starts

Is your kid starting in a new playgroup or toddler class this coming new year? Are you imagining scenarios of heartbreaking and painful goodbyes, followed by your child wailing and crying out for you? Don’t worry mummy or daddy, these feelings are pretty normal. In fact, every kid experiences school separation anxiety but you can make the transition easier and better by doing the following:



Introduce the concept of school

Start talking to them about school. Read books and watch age-appropriate videos about kids going to school, give them their school bag and let them practice holding it, tell them what kids usually do in school, how fun it would be to learn new things, to meet new friends, to play with new toys, read new books, etc. Just keep exposing them to anything related to school.

Show them their school

Start by going near their school. Tell them that this is the way to school, this is how they’ll travel then show them how their school looks like. Point out the entrance and explain to them this is where they let little kids in and this is where parents will pick them up. Tell them what they’ll be doing in those classrooms and the routines they’ll be having in school.

Practice saying your goodbyes

It’s extremely hard for your little ones to be separated from you, especially if you’ve been with them 24/7 but try out small goodbyes, so they’ll get use to the idea of a drop-off. For example, leave your kid to your partner and tell your little one that you’re just going out to throw the trash and you’ll be back soon. Try longer separation periods, such as saying goodbye to do the groceries, to run errands, etc. Help them understand that saying bye-bye doesn’t mean you’re leaving them forever and let them know that you’ll be back later or sooner than they think.

Give them a piece of you

Start wearing or holding something every day that you can give them when school time comes, like a scarf or a hankie. This would be a sort of a special goodbye piece that you can give to them when it’s time to go to school. Tell your little ones something like this as you give the piece to them,  “Do you remember this scarf, I always wear it and now I’m giving it to you. This is filled with Mummy’s love so if you miss Mummy, just touch or embrace this and you’ll feel my love.”

It’s never easy but you can make it less hard on your kids by preparing them and doing these activities with them, so they’ll eventually end up happy and confident in school.

-My Gym Editorial Team –

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Are you still looking for a great playgroup for your kid/s? Check out My Gym’s School Based program for age-appropriate classes and play-based/ hands-on learning activities here.

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