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Easing Separation Anxiety

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Separation anxiety can be tough on little ones and parents alike! Developing a routine and sticking to it is the best way to help your little one at drop-off, build confidence, and foster independence. Here are some tips for easing those transition times:

Create a goodbye ritual

  • Create a goodbye ritual
    • Come up with a fun or silly goodbye ritual that you can do quickly at each drop-off
      • Ideas: silly dances into the classroom, high-fives at the door, or triple kisses at the cubbies
      • Give your child your full attention during the goodbye ritual and leave immediately after (even if they react- trust that they are in good hands and will be comforted)
  • Be consistent
    • Maintain the same ritual as much as possible to help prepare your child for the day and ease the heartache
    • Do not return for “little visits” as these can increase and extend the anxiety (even though they are well-intentioned)
  • Keep your promise
    • Explain to your child when they will see you next
      • Be specific in words your little one understands like “after naptime”, “before dinnertime”, or “in two sleeps”
      • This builds trust and helps your little one better understand the plan
    • Provide encouragement that you believe in your little one and their independence!

There are several things that can make drop-off more challenging for your little one including illness, being sleepy or hungry, and many other things. However, maintaining your drop-off routine can help ease anxiety and provide comfort. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about easing separation anxiety, please consult your pediatrician. Here is a link with some additional information:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Soothing-Your-Childs-Separation-Anxiety.aspx

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