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Dealing with Separation Anxiety: Tips for Easing Preschool Drop-Offs

Boy struggling to leave his mummy

Separation anxiety is a normal part of child development, particularly evident during preschool drop-offs. Separation anxiety reflects a child's understanding of their own independence, coupled with a strong attachment to their parents or caregivers. This phase can be emotionally taxing for both children and parents, as little ones may cry, cling, or express reluctance to part from their caregivers. However, with understanding and patience, families can navigate these challenges effectively. Here are practical tips for easing the process and helping children adjust to their new routines.

1. Establishing a Goodbye Ritual

Create a simple, predictable goodbye ritual. This could be a special handshake, a hug followed by a wave, or a loving phrase. Rituals provide comfort and a sense of security, signaling to the child that while goodbye is inevitable, it's not permanent.

2. Practice Separation

Practice short separations and gradually increase the time apart. Start with leaving your child with a trusted family member or friend for brief periods. This helps build their confidence and reassurance that you will return after departures.

3. Consistency is Key

Try to keep drop-off times and routines as consistent as possible. Predictability helps children feel secure and reduces anxiety over time. A stable routine makes separations more manageable for everyone involved.

4. Talk About Preschool Positively

Discuss what your child will do at preschool and express enthusiasm about their activities, friends, and teachers. Focusing on the positive aspects can help shift their perspective from what they're missing to what they're gaining.

5. Bring a Comfort Object

Allow your child to bring a comfort object, like a favorite toy or blanket, to preschool. This item can serve as a tangible connection to home, providing emotional support throughout the day.


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