Young children are still trying to figure out what the world around them is all about. They struggle with the concept of time, making them think their parents might not come back when they get out of sight. This explains why separations can, at times, be filled with tantrums. However, it is worth noting that separation anxiety is developmentally appropriate for children between the age of six months and three years. Unfortunately, it can make dropping your child at school or summer camp extremely stressful. Here are some tips you can count on to handle separation anxiety.
Practice with Short Separations
If your child has always been around you, you should start with allowing them to gradually learn that they will still be alight even when you are not around. To this end, you need to start practicing short separations by leaving them with a trusted relative or friend for short periods and see how it goes. This will go a long way in helping you and your child to learn about being away from you gradually and work through separation anxiety.
Make Goodbyes Positive, Short, and Quick
Of course, saying goodbye can be quite difficult for both you and your child. Therefore, you need to do your best to remain calm and positive when waving your child goodbye. For instance, you can smile and assure them that you will be back soon. You also need to ensure that you do not prolong leaving. By maintaining this routine, your child will get reassured that you will always come back.
Talk About What You Will Do Later
Another way of managing separation anxiety is by talking about the things you will do together when you come back. For instance, you can promise to take your child out to have their favorite snack or play with swings at the children’s park after work. This way, you will ensure that they stop focusing on the separation and instead start looking forward to the things you will do together later.
Once you have effectively persuaded your child to wait patiently until you are back, you need to ensure that you keep the promises you made. Failure to honor such promises will make it more difficult for them to trust you next time you need to take them to school or a summer camp. On the other hand, keeping your promises will increase the level of trust your child has in you and consequently make it easier for them to believe you when you tell them that you will see them later.
The Bottom Line on Separation Anxiety
Overall, it is apparent that separation anxiety is a common problem among young children and their parents. The issue can make goodbyes tearful and quite stressful. While separation anxiety is a normal part of a child’s development, no parent enjoys seeing their children in tears when saying goodbye. The good news is that by learning and practicing the above-discussed tips, you can help your child remain calm when you need to drop them at school or a summer camp.