TIPS FOR SEPARATION ANXIETY
It can be extremely hard leaving your little one in someone else’s care for the first time. Here are some tips for separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is very common, and not just in young children – it can also come about in parents. Often, sending your children to daycare is the first point where you (and your child) could feel some mild form of separation anxiety.
The most encouraging thing to keep in mind is that separation anxiety doesn’t last forever, and a daycare environment can be an uplifting and enriching experience for both of you.
What exactly is this and how can we deal with it?
A very small number of children and adults can develop what’s known as separation anxiety at any time in their life. Keeping in mind that this is just a phase, there are many ways to improve the situation.
In children, separation anxiety is common when they are separated from their parents for the first time or for a certain period. This can develop in children from as young as six months of age and plays a very normal part in their personal development.
Are you comfortable?
New surroundings and communicating with new and different people can cause a child some distress to begin with.
The most important step in managing separation anxiety is making sure that the environment where you will be leaving your child makes you feel comfortable and at ease. Selecting the right daycare for you and your child is important to ensure a smooth transition for both of you. Ensure you are comfortable with your educator and the environment.
To assist with this process and make it a seamless transition, visiting the daycare a few times and taking time for your child to adapt to the new surroundings will help ease any anxiety you both may be feeling. Chances are, if you feel uncomfortable, your child will too; so it is always best to try to introduce them to the educators, as they will be the ones caring for your child during the day.
Educators are here to help
The educators at your child’s daycare will play a major role in their development. Let them help with the process of easing the separation anxiety through active communication and high involvement.
An educator knows that any child will naturally be sad to say goodbye to a parent for the day.
A caring educator will nurture the child and reassure both the child and the parent. It is natural for you to be curious about your child during the day, so don’t be afraid to contact the educator to check how your child is coping. Not only will this reassure you and help you through the process, it will also develop a strong relationship with the primary educator.
It’s hard to say goodbye to your child when they clutch your leg and look up at you with those tear-filled eyes. But through encouragement and support, they will soon be able to go off to daycare with a smile on their face. Items such as a teddy or a blanket can help comfort your child as they are reminded of home.
Likewise, a picture of your family can be posted on the walls at the daycare, which will make them feel safe. Reassuring your child that you will be coming back for them is also key. Talking to them about their educator and the daycare while they’re at home is another way to encourage the feeling of safety and friendship between your child and their educator.
Most importantly, if you are stressed, try not to show it in front of your child. In this type of situation, if you are able to stay calm and stick to a routine it will ease the process of feeling comfortable in a new environment.
NSW Family Day Care Association is a network of experienced and registered educators providing Family Day Care in communities since 1976. To find your closest Family Day Care service, click here.