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Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

Navigating Separation Anxiety: Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

It can be difficult to drop off a new preschooler at a Rockville child care center. And it’s not always hard on the kid; some parents struggle more than their children. Some children skip into their first classroom and don’t even turn around, but others scream, cry, or beg you not to leave them. These kids may be going through a phase known as separation anxiety, in which the thought of losing a parent creates worry.

The good news is that you can do things to get your child ready for the first day of child care in Rockville, MD. Here are just some of the tips we have found to be the most useful.

Visit the Preschool Beforehand

Talk with your kid about how a typical day should go in the weeks before preschool begins, including how they will get there in the morning, what they will do and see, and even what they will eat. Before preschool starts, ask for a tour, visit the playground if it’s accessible to the public, and read a few books about beginning preschool.

Solicit the Caregiver’s Help

If this is your first kid, you probably have a lot of questions and could learn a lot from someone who has been down this road before. Your child’s caregiver probably knows a lot about preschool separation anxiety and can give you tips. Set up a time to talk to them about your worries before the year starts.

Research shows that skilled caregivers can help kids who are nervous about starting preschool in a big way. They may suggest research-backed ways to help your child get ready for the day, such as giving them specific, pre-assigned tasks to do when they get to school and giving them prizes for coming to school.

Preschool drop off

Always Comfort and Reassure Your Child

When you are with your child, hear what they have to say. Make sure to reply to them with understanding and kindness, and don’t make their worries seem small. Look for signs that aren’t words, like crying or clinging to you more.

Practice Spending Time Apart

Spending time apart will help your child learn how to handle things when you’re not around. This may be most important for kids who don’t attend daycare or have a daily babysitter before preschool. If your child is worried, start with short times, like five or ten minutes, and have another family member, a friend, or even a neighbor stay with your child while you run a task or go for a walk. Start with play dates at close friends’ homes, and then maybe a full day at a cousin’s home.

preschooler with stuffed animal

Let Them Use a Security Object

The most crucial thing to convey to your child is how much you love and think about them. Let your child choose a security object to bring with them to child care in Rockville, MD. This security object can be a stuffed animal or other small trinket that reminds them of you or home. It’s something that they can bring to make themselves feel safe. These comfortable items, referred to as “transitional objects” by child psychology experts, reduce separation anxiety and make your youngster feel closer to you when you are gone.

Use a Goodbye Routine

Children find comfort in routines. Talk to your child about a special way you will say goodbye to them each day when you drop them off at school. It could be a secret handshake, a funny or special saying, or three quick squeezes. Try doing your goodbye routine when you are practicing being apart or even just when you are putting your child to bed at night.

preschool drop off

Don’t Linger

Follow the routine you’ve established for saying goodbye to your child, assure them that you’ll be returning soon, and then exit the house. When your child is sobbing or pleading with you to stay, it may seem cruel to go, yet staying longer than necessary can have the opposite effect. Do not hesitate or give them “one more minute,” as this may give youngsters the mistaken impression that you will be able to stay with them indefinitely or that you are concerned about having to leave yourself.

Stay Positive

Children learn by watching us, and when we are anxious or stressed out, they are more prone to misbehave themselves. You should make every effort to hide the fact that your child’s separation anxiety at preschool is affecting you from them. Give them a friendly smile, go through what they should anticipate happening that day, and tell them how much fun they are going to have.

At the same time, you shouldn’t dismiss their worries too quickly. Sharing tales from your own anxious experiences as a child is a great way to connect with your child while also demonstrating that it is possible to overcome worries associated with trying new things.

Be On Time

When you have a few hours to yourself, whether you are working, running errands, or just taking some time to relax, it is easy to lose track of the time. This is true regardless of what you are doing with your time. Make sure, however, that you or the person who is supposed to pick up your child is on time or even early to the school when dismissal begins. If you are late, it may give your child even more worry, which will make it even more difficult for you to drop them off at preschool the following day.

Final Thoughts

Even though it can be heartbreaking to drop off a crying child at day care in Rockville, MD, know that separation anxiety is very normal at this age and will almost always get better. Most likely, once you leave the room, your child will quickly forget about you and get back to playing and learning. Children who are anxious might need a few more days or even weeks to adjust, but if you keep the same routines at drop-off time, they should become more independent and confident each day.

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