Handling Preschool Separation Anxiety

Handling preschool separation anxiety can seem overwhelming.  The first day of school is an exciting and new experience for your child, but it can also be filled with anxiety caused by separation and uncertainty. Please allow a few extra minutes to spend with your child on the first few days.

As you help ease your child into the new routine of transitioning from home to school, here are some tips on handling preschool separation anxiety:

1. Create a routine at home as you prepare for Preschool.

2. Talk to your child and let them know what is going to happen. “You are going to school while I go to work…”  “My job is to go to work, and your job is to go to school.  When we’re both done with our jobs, then we go home!”

3. Follow the same routine each morning when you arrive (sign in, put belongings away, say goodbye). Also create a routine when you pick your child up from preschool.

4. Try to get your child involved in an activity, which usually lessens the anxiety.

5. Remind your child what is happening and assure your child that you will come back to pick them up.

6. Don’t sneak away, even if it seems easier for you. Leaving unnoticed will violate your child’s trust.

7. Once you start to leave, don’t stop. It is important that you follow through even if your child cries. We will comfort your child.

8. Feel free to call later in the morning to see how your child is doing.  We often send a quick email or text when we have a free moment to reassure you that your child has settled down and is enjoying his or her day at school.

9. Many children adapt quickly to routine. However, it is perfectly normal for some children to take several days, or even weeks, to adapt. Some children adjust well at first and then later experience anxiety. This is completely normal.  Being on time every day, and following your established routine will help your child to work through any periods of anxiety.