Boy outside school gates

How wonderful it would be if our children embraced the new school year and happily ran off with their friends on seeing them in the playground on the first day back. For some parents that scenario plays out.  For other parents, you may find your child clinging to your body or bag not wanting you to leave them, or/and complaining they don’t want to go to school because they don’t feel well. They just don’t want to be apart from you – they have separation anxiety and you are their security blanket and their safety net.

Separation Anxiety Strategies

School separation anxiety is not only for nursery age children. It can affect children of any age. An experience or transition may have occurred or they may have had a bad school year previously which causes the anxiety. Many children will start feeling anxious when they start to think about returning to school after the long holiday with family and friends and this will get worse as they first day looms. They feel stressed and that has an impact on mum and dad too. They feel stressed and worried that their child won’t settle and will be tearful in school and at drop off. If you are worried that this is going to be your experience then perhaps these tips will help:

  1. Make sure your child sleeps and eats well in the lead up to the new term so that they are rested and less emotional. When children are hungry and tired they are much more emotional.
  2. If they want to talk about their worries, acknowledge and reassure them. Be open to hearing about how your child feels.
  3. Don’t bring up talk about the new term. It may create anxiety for your child. Who knows what the first day or first few weeks will be like. Your child won’t know until they get to school.
  4. Be calm about your child’s reluctance to go to school. Better to be that than be annoyed or upset with them.
  5. When you drop them off at school say goodbye firmly but with love in your voice. Tell them you look forward to seeing them later and hearing all about their day. Make sure they know what time they will see you.

What other strategies do you find work with your child? I’d love to hear them. Please comment on this blog or my social media channels.

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