Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to School and Separation Anxiety

It's almost that time again. Time for kids to head back to school.

We've all see it. Kids crying their eyes out because they don't want to be left at school. Moms making it even harder on the kids by getting teary eyed, saying lots of good-bye and giving way too many hugs. Poor little ones think they are being left someplace really terrible or worse they aren't going to see their parents ever again.

Let's make it easy on the kids by following a few simple tips.

Get to Know Their School
Most schools will allow you to bring your kids on a tour (at some point) prior to the start of the school year. Your child will see where their classroom will be, where the lunchroom is, and most importantly where they will be having recess.

If possible, arrange a play date with other kids that will be attending school with your child. That way they will already have someone they know on the first day of school.

Keep Your Emotions In Check
It's fine to miss your children while they are away at school, but don't let them see you get all misty eyed. Wait till the kids are gone otherwise they will think there is something wrong with going to school.

Be consistent
Kids feel safer when they know what to expect. Each school day they go to school to see the same teachers, students and staff. They know that the same person will pick them up after school. They know mom or dad will fix dinner around 6 and bedtime is at 8:30.  Change is fine, but not everyday. Be as consistent as possible. Even if it means dinner is sometime between 4-6 and bedtime is always before 9:30 p.m. 

Create a Good-bye Ritual
A simple hug and kiss or a wave with a quick "See you later" can help kids know you love them and will see them later.

When my son started preschool he didn't want to leave his favorite security blanket. For the first couple weeks of preschool he carried around a small piece of the blanket, so he could always reach into his pocket and feel the blanket without anyone seeing.

My youngest just didn't want to go to school. The guidance counselor recommended reading "The Kissing Hand" with her. It an adorable story about a little raccoon going off to school who misses his mother.

Help you child ease back to school by preparing them ahead of time by letting them know what to expect. Create a routine, so they know what to expect to happen. Plus a quick and simple good-bye lets kids know there is nothing to worry about and that you will see them later. These simple things can make your child's back to school experience that much better.

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