“My daughter’s phase-in is going really well. I have been released. I am going home. This is the first time I am pushing an empty stroller home,” as told to me by a parent of a two-year-old. “Congratulations! She did it!” was my response.
We know about separation anxiety in children. The symptoms are:
- distress and reluctance to do anything when separated from a primary caregiver
- trouble sleeping, eating, toileting
- physical complaints like stomach or headache
Adults may also feel separation anxiety. The most common age range for separation anxiety in adults is between 30 and 44 years and some between the ages of 18 and 29 years across all genders. What are the symptoms for adults?
- excessive stress when separating from home or loved ones
- persistent worry about potential harm to a loved one
- troubling sleeping
- repeated headaches, stomach aches when separated from a loved one
At the start of a new school year we see separation anxiety in both children and adults. You are not alone if you cry or cannot concentrate after dropping off your child at school. One in 6 parents are feeling stressed and 1 in 4 children are feeling stressed. One way that we help individuals is to teach coping skills. Here are some ways to help:
- talking about feelings is a good way to alleviate anxiety
- preparing children ahead of time
- don’t drag out goodbyes, parents holding their emotions in check helps the child separate
- gradually widen your community of friends so your child get used to a variety of people
- practice separation for a short time building up to a full day
- let your child know when you will return, not in hours, but in activities, “after your rest and snack, I will come for you”
- get to know your caregivers/teachers well
- have faith in your child and take a deep breath
At Twin Parks Montessori School, please trust that we will comfort your child when you leave and that your child is safe. This is the first opportunity for your family and our teaching team to work together to make your child’s school experience a joyful one!