Written by: Lilliput Preschool and Nursery
Preschool separation anxiety is the stuff broken hearts are made of. Parents of a preschooler are usually anxious while dropping off their little ones. Your child can sometimes be kicking, screaming, crying, and not wanting you to leave him alone in this strange place. You know it can’t go on forever, but it sure feels like it lasts a lifetime. Especially now, after almost six months at home, with no preschool or school, and always with mommy and daddy around.
Lilliput Nursery and Preschool can help you through this heartbreaking time using these strategies:
This week is important to gently introduce your little one to Lilliput, where they start off by visiting the preschool, getting to know the classes, teachers, and assistants while knowing you’re there.
We make sure our little one gets a feel of the entire premises, the outdoor spaces, the classrooms, and know that they’re free to visit mommy/daddy in the reception any time. Due to coronavirus preventive efforts, new parents are asked to wait in the reception with face masks, overshoes, and alcohol in hand.
Saying goodbye is the simplest step, yet the hardest to do. Give your child a hug and a kiss, tell them you’ll be back soon, and then walk out the door. Don’t delay it, don’t give them one more minute hoping that they’ll miraculously start smiling and laughing. You’ve brought her to preschool and now it’s time to let her get to the business of being a preschooler.
Trust your child’s teacher
From redirecting to a new activity to simply giving your child a hug and offering comfort, our teachers are masters at knowing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to making kids happy. You chose us for a reason, let the staff prove that your instincts and research were well-founded.
Establish a goodbye routine
Little ones crave routine. By giving your children something they can count on, they’ll likely go to preschool more willingly. So come up with a couple of things that you do each time you say goodbye. Maybe a secret handshake, a special high-five, a kiss on the chin, or a nose tweak. Whatever it is, make it something special between the two of you and make sure you do it every single time.
We understand the importance of a routine. As soon as our little one comes in, they are told exactly how the day will go and we stick to it. We ask our parents to always include us in any change in our little ones’ routine and personal life. It can be as simple as having their cousins over for a week which makes them eager to go home to them.
Confront the problem head-on
Bribing your child to stay in preschool may work temporarily. Sneaking out might make you feel better because you don’t have to witness a meltdown. Yet, the best way to cope with preschool separation anxiety is to just deal with it. The reality is that within minutes of their parents’ exit, most kids happily settle down and forget what all the fuss was about. Never sneak out.
Enlist the help of home
The most important message to send your child is that you love them very much and that you are thinking of them often. Together, pick out something that your child can bring to school that reminds them of home. We encourage enlisting “tokens” from home. We ask them more about the item and generally include their home in our discussions.
Never let them see you upset
Don’t let your child see that their preschool separation anxiety is getting to you. Smile, talk about how much fun they’re going to have, and then once you are out the door, call a friend to vent and cry.
Don’t be late for pick up
It’s easy to lose track of time when you have a few hours to yourself, whether you are running errands, working, or simply taking some time to relax. Make sure you are there on time or even early. If you are late, it can cause your child even more anxiety during the next drop-off.
Be prepared for regression
Just when you think you finally have preschool separation anxiety under control, along comes a school vacation or an illness that keeps your child at home for a few days and the anxiety comes back again. This is perfectly normal. It’s likely to last only a day or two and your child should go back to his cheerful self at drop-off time.
Talk to your child about their feelings. Ask them what makes them so upset about you dropping them off at preschool. Share a story about a time that you may have felt scared or nervous and how you dealt with it. Don’t minimize their fears or concerns; address them while assuring them that you will always be there to pick them up once school is over for the day.
We recognize their emotions, teachers humanize themselves by telling the children about their families and feelings in similar situations.
At Lilliput, your children become ours. We’re here for them always, and we employ our experience and studies into ensuring their physical, and above all, their psychological well-being.
Further reading: Kids and COVID-19: Safety Tips for Returning Back to School