Separation anxiety is tough. You parents who are going through it are nodding, perhaps through tears. It’s so hard to leave your babies, especially if they are clinging onto you, not wanting you to leave. And even if you do finally say those goodbyes and leave, you might find yourself going through the whole thing again the next day, perhaps being even worse. You are looking for separation anxiety tips for toddlers and preschoolers. You might have done a Google search, desperate to find answers. I hope I can help!
I am extremely sensitive to this subject. As a child, I had separation anxiety issues, off and on. I then had 3 children who went through separation anxiety. And now, a teacher for over 15 years, I experience it with toddler and preschool students. And their parents.
It is hard. And I address this with parents. Their biggest fear is that we will make them stay at school while they are crying the entire time. I assure them that we will not. We want this experience to be a positive one. We want them to feel safe and loved. That is our goal starting the very first day we meet them.
HOW WE HANDLE SEPARATION ANXIETY AT OUR SCHOOL:
When you enter our classrooms each morning, a teacher greets each child with a warm welcome. We suggest that parents give hugs and love and say their goodbyes at the door. However, if they feel more comfortable coming into the classroom, that is fine. Whatever they decide, they should be consistent each day.
I’ve also found that shorter goodbyes seem to be easier. Teachers will help by gently taking the child, giving him love, and getting him involved in an activity. This gets easier as the year goes on because we have a good idea what activities they enjoy.
If a parent says goodbye to a tearful child, we will send a photo showing their child happily engaged in an activity. This is probably the biggest comfort to parents. I clearly remember leaving my tearful preschooler and wondering all morning if he stopped crying. I will never forget that feeling, so I know how you are feeling.
We do allow lovies in the classroom, such as stuffed animals. Usually within an hour the lovie is abandoned so we will slip it in the child’s cubby. We can always retrieve it if the child needs it again.