Dropping your child off at daycare or preschool for the first time can be difficult for everyone. Your little one is growing up so fast and it can be hard for parents to accept. However, it can be even more difficult for your child, especially if they have separation anxiety.

If your child has separation anxiety and they are about to head to preschool or daycare for the first time, there are many things you can do to help them. It can be hard dealing with separation anxiety during this time in your child’s life.

At Inch By Inch Child Care in Bedford, we understand how hard it can be separating from your kids for the first time and we want to make it easier for both of you. At our child care center, we offer programs for infants and toddlers, as well as preschool and pre-K. Since we provide care to such young children, we know how hard it can be for a child with separation anxiety, which is why we wanted to help!

In this blog, we are going to talk about how to help your child with separation anxiety. Read on to learn more!

What is Separation Anxiety?

First, we are going to talk about what separation anxiety is. It is normal for kids to get nervous and anxious when you leave them somewhere for the first time. When your young kiddo cries and is clingy in response to separation, this is a normal and healthy reaction. Most children get over their separation anxiety by the age of four and each episode doesn’t last more than a few days. Your child may have trouble leaving you until they get used to daycare or preschool, but it should get easier and easier over time. The intensity of the anxiety varies from child to child, but this is a normal thing that many parents deal with.

If you want to make separation easier for your child, follow these tips!

Practice

Before your child starts preschool or you drop them off at daycare for the first time, practice being separated for a while. You can plan a playdate at a friend’s house, drop them off at a family member’s home for a while, or even have someone come to your house to watch them while you leave the home. Start by being away from them for a short period of time and slowly increase the time you are away. This will help them get used to you being away from them and understand that you will always be back.

Create a Goodbye Routine

By creating a quick and easy goodbye ritual, you can make goodbyes easier for your kiddo. This could be anything from creating a special handshake, having a joke you share, or giving a couple of kisses before heading out. Whatever your ritual is, keep it consistent and make it short. Creating something special that you and your child share before saying goodbye can help your child feel that special bond and not get even more stressed when you leave.

Make Goodbyes Quick

One thing you certainly do not want to do is drag out the goodbye. Do your special goodbye ritual, tell them you are leaving and that you will be back, and then leave. If you stall or spend more time making a big deal out of saying goodbye, it will be harder for your child to be okay with the separation. Make it quick, give them your full attention, do your goodbye ritual, and then leave. It will be easier for your little one.

Keep Your Promise

Many children have separation anxiety because they are scared that you may never return. By keeping your promise and returning when you say you will, you can help build trust and make it easier for your child to be left alone. Make sure you don’t leave your child waiting for you, be there to pick them up when you say you are going to be there. While your child likely can’t tell time at this young age, you still do not want to be late, it may cause them to be more skeptical when you do leave again. You can use the daycare or preschool schedule to help them understand when you will return. Tell them you will be back to pick them up after snack time, that way they can know when to expect you and stop questioning when you will return.

Don’t Make It a Big Deal

While you may think that your child attending preschool or daycare for the first time is a big deal, don’t let them know that. Tell them what will be going on and where they will be going, but don’t make it seem scary. Don’t ask them if they are nervous or tell them they are so brave. This is just a normal thing that they have to do so that you can go to work. If you seem anxious or sad about them going to daycare, they are going to notice those emotions and may begin to feel them themselves.

Take a Tour

Taking a tour of the daycare or preschool can help your child know what to expect. They can get excited about the playground, see what the classroom will be like, and get to know some of the staff. Be sure to schedule a tour at Inch By Inch Child Care before your child’s first day of daycare or preschool. We will show you around our child care center and answer any questions you or your child may have.

Don’t Sneak Out

While it may be tempting to sneak out while your kiddo is playing or putting stuff in their cubby, this can be one of the worst things to do. Slipping out while your child is happy and not paying attention to you can seem like the best decision, but when your child turns around to see that you are nowhere to be found, they are likely to throw a bigger tantrum and will go into the next day trusting you less.

Let Them Be Independent

When you are dropping your child off at daycare or preschool, don’t do everything for them. After they are introduced to the teachers, shown their cubby, and given a tour of the classroom, ask them to show you their cubby or give you a tour of the classroom. At the end of the day, let them say goodbye to their teachers without you. By allowing them to be a little more independent, you can help them feel better being without you and realize how capable they are.

By following these tips, you can make separating from your child as easy as possible. Separation anxiety is normal for young kids and something most parents deal with. By learning how to properly handle these situations and help your child with separation anxiety, you can make these moments easier for both you and your child.

At Inch By Inch Child Care in Bedford, we understand that this can be a big transition for many kiddos. We will help make this as simple as possible and ensure that your kiddo gets the care and support they need to thrive in this new environment. Contact us today to learn more!