Preventing Separation Anxiety In Preschoolers

Monday mornings can be hard. After a nice, relaxing weekend, getting back into the hustle and bustle of the week is stressful for the entire family. Nothing could make a Monday worse than a screaming and crying child that doesn’t want to you to leave him or her at daycare. At Mary Margaret’s Daycare we train our teachers to help make that transition as simple as possible, but there are days when we see the hurt in parents eyes as they have to walk away from their child. So today we want to offer some of our best tips for preventing separation anxiety in preschoolers, both from the experts and our years of experience.

Dos And Don’ts For Preventing Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers

Little girl crying, preventing separation anxiety in preschoolers

Sometimes mornings are hard!

Do Talk About It Before Hand

One of the best ways for preventing separation anxiety in preschool, even if they have been going for years, is to talk about it with your child. According to Parent’s Magazine, the main source of anxiety around entering school in children is the fear of the unknown. New people, new rules, or even just a new day in a familiar setting is enough to set off your average toddler or preschooler. Reviewing what lies ahead will help to ease the transition as your child can be assured that there are no nasty surprises ahead.

Do Create Routines

Repetition and consistency can go a long way in making a child feel comfortable in a new surrounding. We practice this every day at Mary Margaret’s Daycare, and our routine helps make the day run more smoothly for everyone as the children know what to expect with each transition. Over the years we have seen many novel ways that parents create a routine around drop off and pick up. From playing I-spy on the way to school or simply talking about their favorite activities at daycare, each little routine helps give each child something to look forward to everyday.

Don’t Just Disappear

Another tip from Parent’s Magazine recommends a happy and firm goodbye before leaving.
We understand the desire to sneak off to work if your child is distracted by a fun toy or a new friend, but this can lead to separation anxiety in preschoolers later in the week. Leaving while your child is distracted can make them feel abandoned and more clingy the next time you leave.

Don’t Linger

On the flip side, it is important not to linger. It is tempting to try to stay and comfort your child when they cry and fuss at drop-off. Sticking around to help comfort them sometimes teaches the child that a crying jag will make mommy or daddy stay. You may find an even bigger scene the next morning. Instead, a happy and firm good bye with a promise to see them after school is the best way to start the day. Children will calm down faster than you think.

Do: Bring In A Small Memento

A little something from home can help ease some of the stress of being away from family for the day. A small laminated picture is the perfect, pocket sized reminder from home. Or maybe it is a little bit of fabric from a favorite blanket to carry around.  Sometimes, putting a special toy in a cubby is the perfect solution to separation anxiety in preschoolers. Just knowing that something special from home is nearby and ready for them at the end of the day can calm an anxious child.

Don’t: Bring In Your Whole Toy Box

On the flip side, we caution against bringing in too many mementos from home. There are two key reasons, The first and most pressing is that preschoolers are learning to share. Toys from home, especially those really special toys, may not help ease separation anxiety if our new friends all want to share it. Also, it is easy to misplace toys from home as they can get mixed up with toys from school. A forgotten lovey can lead to an awful night for parents at home. Any toys from home should be stowed in a child’s cubby. There it’s close enough for a quick hug but in safe place so it won’t be forgotten.

Do: Breathe Easy

Going to school, especially the first few weeks, can be a trying time for parents and kids. This is a normal part of child development. Parents, breathe easy knowing that it will get easier every day. Moments like this are important lessons that help teach your children routine and trust. They quickly learn that their family will always be there at the end of the day to get them. They also learn that there are new adventures to be had in new places! These are the lessons that we try to teach at Mary Margaret’s Daycare. Even if there are tears when you drop your child off with us, you can rest easy. Your kids are in for a fun and educational day that they can’t wait to tell you about after school!

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