As your child begins daycare, transitioning can be difficult – mentally and emotionally. You and your child are going to experience many different emotions; nervousness, excitement, fear, and most of all, anxiety.
It’s normal for your kiddo (and you) to have these feelings, as this is your first time apart. Time will certainly help, but there are also some tips and tricks you can do to make the process feel smoother and also learn how to help a child with separation anxiety.
How to help a child with separation anxiety
1 – Change The Way You Talk
Rather than discussing with your child that they’re “leaving home to go to daycare,” try changing how you talk with them. Instead, try talking with your child about how they are going to make new friends, try new things, and go on the fun playground they’ve always wanted to try.
Changing the type of verbiage associated with leaving home for daycare will help get you both excited for the new journey to come, rather than nervous or afraid.
2 – Introduce A Transition Toy
If your child is demonstrating anxious behavior about being away from home, their own space, or their home – try introducing a transition toy. This can be their favorite animal or something made of their favorite material to help them feel safe and secure.
Come up with a fun name for this toy with your child (Safety Sam, Snuggly Sara) to help them ease into a routine with a new security item.
3 – Lead By Example
Your child looks to their favorite people when deciphering how to behave or act; that includes you. A great way to help get your child excited about going off to daycare is by being excited about it yourself.
Rather than showing them tears, sadness, or dreadfulness about their first days away from home, show them excitement and anticipation.
4 – Keep A Routine
Help your child get into the swing of things by maintaining a daily routine. Whether you keep a routine for the first few days, weeks, months, or forever – it’ll help your child adjust to their new lifestyle quicker and easier if they have something constant.
5 – Keep Goodbye’s Upbeat
Starting some fun goodbye rituals with your little one is a great way to get them excited about leaving you and home. Listen to their favorite song before daycare, make up a fun handshake, or kiss them on both cheeks before saying goodbye. This helps get them excited for their goodbye rather than anxious.
6 – Expect Setbacks
Separation anxiety is extremely common, especially in little ones. Their transition from staying home all day with a parent or loved one to daycare will be scary and stressful for them. Expect setbacks when it comes to this process such as temper tantrums, meltdowns, and tears.
Setbacks don’t mean you’re doing something wrong, it just means that your kiddo is feeling a mix of emotions and doesn’t know how to handle them. The best solution for setback issues is simple – time.
Learning how to help a child with separation anxiety may feel like a neverending process, but with a little assistance and a lot of working together as a family – it can be overcome. Try to practice patience and understanding with your kiddo, and we wish you the best of luck with transitioning your little one to daycare!