How to Deal with Child Separation Anxiety at Drop Off

mother and child hugging

It is completely normal for children to feel anxious when you drop them off at school in the morning. It may be difficult, but separation anxiety is something that happens while adjusting to school. This phase may be hard for both the child and parent. With the right coping strategies, you’ll soon get over the most challenging part of your day. Take a look at these tips and learn how to break the cycle of crying at drop off.

Talk about school with excitement

Days before classes start, it helps to get your child excited about school. Talk about it with excitement and enthusiasm. Don’t make them feel that school is a place they shouldn’t be. Don’t make them feel like they are forced to attend school. Instead, try to make it positive by telling them going to school is something we all experienced. Tell them about all the fun stuff they can do at school, like being able to play in the playground with other kids,, singing songs and more!

Explain the drop off procedure beforehand

Explain to your child what will happen during drop offs so they are aware of what will happen. Assure them that you will be back and that they know where to be picked up.

Have them bring a special item

Transitioning to something unfamiliar can be difficult for anyone, especially for kids. We can’t expect them to cope with the changes immediately. One thing you can try is to give your child a special item to bring to school. Anything that makes them feel comfortable in a new place will do. It could be their favorite stuffed toy, a family photo or a note you gave them.

Be at the school earlier than other kids

When dropping off your child at school, make sure that you arrive earlier than other kids. It might be more difficult for them when other children are already busy settling in. Make it a point to leave home for school earlier so they have some time to prepare for the other kids to arrive. This will also give them the chance to meet and chat with other students.

Introduce your child to the teacher

Make the most of the first few minutes you have to introduce your child to the teacher. Do it before the other children arrive. This will help reduce your child’s anxiety as they know that there is another adult they can trust and run to in your absence.

Guide them through the first activity

One of the things that make children feel anxious at school is that they feel like they have no idea about what to do next. Because your child isn’t familiar yet with the school routine, the best thing to do is to guide them on the activities they can do. What are their favorite activities? Do they love solving puzzles, stacking blocks or coloring books? By guiding them through their first task, their attention will be focused on something they love instead of the fact that you’ll have to leave them behind.

Never sneak out

Even when you have successfully settled your child with an activity, it is never a good idea to sneak out without saying goodbye. Make sure they know you have left and tell them you will be back to pick them up.

Don’t prolong the goodbyes

Assure your child that they will be fine by keeping your goodbyes brief and pleasant. Don’t make them think that you are anxious yourself. Instead, give them a genuine smile to make them feel that things are going to be okay.

Dealing with separation anxiety may be challenging, but it’s all a matter of finding the right approach. Use these coping strategies and soon you’ll find drop offs going much smoother. If you’re excited to send your child to a quality daycare, please feel free to visit Imagine Nation Learning Center.

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