Helping your Child Cope with Separation Anxiety

While separation anxiety in children starting school is very common, and a normal stage of development in young children, coping with separation anxiety may seem difficult and overwhelming to many parents. However, through understanding and various strategies, separation anxiety can be relieved and should eventually fade as your child grows.

Separation anxiety in children manifests itself in several ways in early childhood from crying and tantrums to clinginess- all healthy reactions to separation. These reactions can easily frustrate parents, but it’s important to remember that consistency and patience are important factors in creating a secure attachment with your child while supporting their emotional security.

Here are a few ways you can help relieve your child’s anxiety and make their transition to school stress-free.

Read with your child.

Bibliotherapy is the practice of using literature to help people solve problems. Find books to read with your child they can relate to that addresses their situation- and helps them feel better about being apart from you!

Practice separation.

Leaving your child with a caregiver for short amounts of time, at first, can make the process of separation easier when they start school.

Be consistent.

Consistency isn’t just when you deal with your child’s separation anxiety. It is important that you also consistently use the same primary caregiver so your child can begin to feel more comfortable and eventually grow out of their separation anxiety.  

Create a “goodbye” routine.

A ritual you share with your child when you leave them can be as simple as a special wave or a hug, but they’re always reassuring.

Set limits.

Understanding is key as you listen to your child’s concerns, but don’t be afraid to set limits, which can help them adjust to separation. 

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