Preschool Separation Anxiety: How to Create a Smooth Transition

Posted on June 28, 2019 : Posted in Legacy Academy

Separation anxiety often starts around age one and a half, but it can show up in preschoolers of all ages. When your child cries during a school drop-off, it’s easy to feel guilty as a parent. Take a deep breath. You’re not the only parent who’s dealing with this phase of preschool separation anxiety. Working through separation anxiety can benefit your child in the long run. Thankfully, you can use some techniques to ease the transition. Here are a few tips that will help your child overcome preschool separation anxiety.

Validate Their Feelings

When helping your preschooler with separation anxiety, don’t brush off their fear. It’s tempting to minimize your child’s fears because you want them to have a positive view of preschool. Yes, you should create positive associations, and we’ll talk about that in a moment. However, make sure that you also acknowledge and validate your child’s fears. Instead of dismissing them with “It’s not scary,” you might say something like “I know that you feel scared when Daddy drops you off, but he’ll always come back to pick you up again.”

Foster Positivity

Now, as long as you don’t dismiss your child’s feelings, you should absolutely create positive associations with preschool. Point out all the fun that your child can have at school. You might say “Wow, it looks like you get to use paint today!” or “I wonder what games you’ll play on the playground.” Before you leave, let your child know that you’ll miss them and can’t wait to see them again in the afternoon.

Engage in Quality Time

When it comes to spending time with your preschooler, quality matters far more than quantity. Make time for your preschooler after you pick them up from childcare. Whether you spend hours or just a few minutes with your child, make the time count. Give your child your undivided attention. When your child can look forward to spending quality time with you, they can ease into the school day with minimal anxiety.

Stick with a Routine

Routines can make a big difference for preschool separation anxiety, especially if your child is a toddler. Once your child starts experiencing separation anxiety, you may be tempted to stop bringing your child to preschool. Don’t give up just yet, though. When you keep bringing your child back to preschool, they’ll start to understand that Mommy always comes back.

When getting ready to leave for school, try to develop a morning routine. When you and your child do the same things in the same order every day, they’ll learn what to expect. This routine will make it easier for you to drop them off at preschool.

Don’t Linger

When your child experiences preschool separation anxiety, you may be tempted to stay until your child feels comfortable. That’s fine, up to a certain point. However, you have to find the right balance, especially if your child is a toddler. When your toddler cries, you might stay in their classroom and play with them for a few minutes. As a result, your child learns that crying will keep you from leaving. Next time, your child may cry longer to keep you in the classroom. You can stay for a moment or two, and you shouldn’t sneak away, but don’t linger long enough to play with the classroom toys. Ultimately, this route will only make the separation more difficult.

Preschool Separation Anxiety

One of the best ways to reduce preschool separation anxiety is to find the right preschool for your child. When your child’s teacher wants to get to know your child and help them enjoy preschool, you’ll notice a big difference. The caring teachers at Legacy Academy in Frisco can help with the transition. Looking for the best preschool? Contact Legacy Academy today.