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Separation Anxiety Tips for Preschoolers, Toddlers, and Their Parents

sep-anxIt’s the night before your child’s first day of preschool, you have picked out their uniform, undergarments, socks, and shoes. You are getting ready to tuck them in, read them a bed time story and kiss them goodnight. You are going through the motions just like every other night, however tonight you have a knot in your stomach and your mind is going a million miles a second thinking, “I hope my baby doesn’t cry all day,” “I hope I don’t cry,” “I hope they have a good day,” “I hope they make lots of friends,” “I hope their teacher is nice,” and “I hope they know I will come back for them.” These thoughts are perfectly normal and educating yourself and your child will make a world of difference to ease your “parenting” mind.

Separation anxiety is often caused by the fear of the unknown. The first few weeks of a Montessori preschool are always a time of adjustment, not only for the child, but also, for the parents and teachers. Saying “Good-Bye” to your child can be heart wrenching for both of you. Children tend to feed off our anxieties. Try your best to be strong and positive. Montessori teachers and parents have come together to help us “New” Montessori parents out there with a few tips to help ease the transition into preschool for you and your child.

  • Make Your Good-Bye’s Prompt and Positive: As a parent, the best thing you can do is give your child a kiss and hug, say “I Love You” and assure them you will be back to pick them up.
  • Have a Good-Bye Routine: You should try to have a steady routine in the morning. Montessori parents who establish a consistent goodbye routine usually have better luck with successful goodbyes.
  • Make a “Comfort Bag”: A comfort bag consists of a few items from home that will remind your child of home and will offer comfort during anxious times. Some items to include would be family photos, a favorite book, a stuffed animal, a favorite small blanket, etc.
  • Trust Your Child’s Teacher: Montessori Preschool teachers have made it their priority and profession to teach. They love children and have a special place in their heart along with extensive training to help ease your child into the new classroom, as well as creative strategies specifically designed to help children with separation anxiety. It is very important to communicate with your child’s teacher. You can always ask your child’s Montessori teacher to step in to help with goodbye’s when you give them a sign that you are ready to go.
  • Acknowledge Your Child’s Feelings: It is so very important to understand and acknowledge your child’s feelings. Let them know that it’s okay to be sad when you leave but remind them they will have a GREAT DAY and you will be back soon to hear all about the fun things they did. Learning to cope with sadness is an important learning process for your child.
  • Always Be on Time (My personal favorite): Children tend to become more anxious when being rushed. Giving yourself extra time in the morning will put you, in a calmer state of mind as well as allow your child the ability to mentally establish a routine without chaos, and lessen the chances of separation anxiety. It is also so important to set a pick up time and stick to it. If you are late, it can cause your child even more anxiety which can make the days to come more difficult.

Separation anxiety is a phase, and though it may be the most difficult thing you and your child have to go through, it is perfectly normal and this too shall pass. Good Luck Parents! Try to get a good night’s sleep, because when you pick your child up they will be talking to you all night long about how much they loved their day at their New Montessori Preschool.

August 19th, 2016

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