Separation anxiety is often associated with toddlers. As toddlers become more aware of their surroundings and begin to understand the world around them, they struggle to separate from their parents, especially their mother. Kids with separation anxiety screams and cries when the parent leaves. Though difficult for the parents to witness, this part of childhood development is pretty standard, and there are ways to ease these transitions.
What parents aren’t always prepared for is the return of separation anxiety in “big kids.” Both school-age children and adolescents can struggle with separation anxiety, and, in some cases, it can result in Separation Anxiety Disorder. While a few tears at drop-off and after school meltdowns are relatively common among children and should not raise red flags, symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder are a cause for concern. School refusal, sleep disturbance, and excessive distress, when faced with separation, can negatively affect a child’s day-to-day living.
1.Make a plan to help your child transition to school in the morning
You can arrive early, act as the teacher’s helper before the other kids come, and get some exercise on the playground before the bell rings. If you’re leaving your child in a new setting – child care center, preschool, friend’s house, babysitter – spend time at the new place with your child before the separation. Your child will be less distressed if he’s left in a safe, familiar place with familiar people he trusts.
2.Help your child reframe anxious thoughts by coming up with a list of positive reviews
Gently encourage your child to separate from you by giving her practice. It’s essential to give her positive experiences of separations and reunions. Avoiding breaks from your child can make the problem worse. It will help them feel comfortable with their emotions. Again, some level of separation anxiety is very average. Tell them it’s natural. Explain to them how some fear can keep them safe from danger. Then, reassure them that they WILL be secure, and you’ll return for them, all without belittling their worries.
3.Make a soothing bedtime routine.
Establish a relaxing order of events before sleep, such as a bath followed by a story or songs. This will help ease her into the notion that bedtime (and alone time) is coming. Also, give your child a lovey to hold and turn on some soothing sounds, like a CD of ocean waves. This will make the quiet in her room less evident in your a
4.Alert your child to changes in routine ahead of time
Tell your child when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back. This is helpful even with babies. Sneaking out without saying goodbye can make things worse. Your child might feel confused or upset when he realizes you’re not around and might be harder to settle the next time you leave him. Keep a relaxed and happy look on your face when you’re going. If you seem worried or sad, your child might think the place isn’t safe and can get upset too.
5.Empathize with your child and comment on progress made
Make a conscious effort to foster your child’s self-esteem by giving her lots of positive attention when she’s brave about being away from you. No matter how frustrated you feel, avoid criticizing or being pessimistic about your child’s difficulty with separation. For example, avoid saying things like ‘She’s such a mummy’s girl’ or ‘Don’t be such a baby.’
The Global Child Prodigy wishes you Happy Parenting.
Also read: Eight activities for kids at home