Separation anxiety can be a massive challenge for parents, especially as the last several years have taken an emotional toll on children everywhere. Many children suffer from separation anxiety at various points in their lives. It could occur at school, daycare, or any other time when a parent’s absence may be prolonged. Fortunately, parents can use several effective tactics to ease their child’s stress and make them feel more secure. Following are some ways a parent can help their child cope with separation anxiety.
Have a Routine
Children thrive off of routine. Predictability and routine are vital needs essential for children to feel safe. Have them go to bed at the same time every night. Make sure they wake up at the same time and eat their meals at the same time as well, within reason. Try not to be late to pick them up from school, and keep a schedule of daily events at home. Obviously, life sometimes interrupts routines, but striving for consistency will help children feel more secure since they will have expectations for how their day will evolve.
Keep Goodbyes Short
When it’s time to part, a consistent goodbye ritual is vital to combat separation anxiety. This is especially true when dropping off a child at school or daycare. A child suffering from separation anxiety will cry and plead with their parent not to leave them. As distressing as the situation may be, it is vital to say goodbye quickly and leave immediately. This will help children acclimate to their environment more quickly and transition into a healthier mindset without a drawn-out meltdown.
There are few things less predictable than a parent who breaks their promises. When enough promises get broken, a child will start to internalize feelings of confusion, worry, and despair. When an unpredictable parent drops their child off at school, that child may become preoccupied with worrying whether they will come back. Therefore, parents need to strive to keep their promises, no matter how big or how small they may be.
While separation anxiety can be distressing for both parent and child, there is hope. By practicing these tips, parents will be better positioned to help their children overcome separation anxiety.