Many Australian children can suffer from separation anxiety. For some, it might only be a mild affliction that is overcome very quickly, while for other children (and their parents) it can present an ongoing nightmare.
This article is going to focus on separation anxiety in kids, what causes it and what you can do to overcome it or avoid the problem entirely.
What Causes Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety in preschoolers is one of the most common ages that a child will suffer from this affliction. It most commonly occurs when a preschooler first starts primary school and they are separated from their parents and the stability and familiarity of home life for the first time. Other life changes can cause separation anxiety as well, but we’ll be focusing on avoiding separation anxiety when a child starts school.
Separation anxiety presents itself in the form of extreme stress, fear, tantrums, a child being clingy, refusing to go to school, pretending to be sick and other symptoms.
Let’s now look at some things that can be done to prevent separation anxiety from occurring. You and your child need to practice periods of separation.
Organise Some Play Dates Where You’re Not Present
Often parents know parents of other children of a similar age and you can all take turns supervising play dates between the children. Each time it’s another parent’s turn to supervise the play session, both you and your child will be practising separation. Play dates are something kids look forward to, so there is a good chance your child won’t feel too stressed if you’re leaving them for a few hours.
Play dates with their peers are also productive and positive in other ways, as it teaches kids to be more social and to develop teamwork and communication skills.
Make Your Goodbyes Short and Sweet
The longer it takes to say goodbye to a child when leaving them for a period of time, the harder it is to actually leave and the more chance there is of the child developing some form of separation anxiety. You want to be able to leave without fanfare or tantrums, so practice quick goodbyes with a goodbye kiss, a wave and a promise of seeing them again very soon. Once the child knows the parent always returns, they’ll feel a lot more comfortable when separated for a period of time. If you promise to return by a certain time, always strive to keep that promise so the child develops confidence.
Discuss the Coming School Years Regularly
One of the biggest (and sometimes scariest) life changes a young child can go through is when they first start primary school. Their entire world is abruptly changing and if they don’t know much about school and what to expect, stepping out of the family home and entering those school grounds is going to be a lot more daunting.
The more you talk about school in a positive light to a child, the more familiar it will feel for them. If school and what to expect are talked about frequently, by the time your child starts school, they will feel like they already know a lot about it and will feel more comfortable and confident about attending.
Early Learning Centres Are a Great Idea
One of the best ways to prepare children for school and to reduce the chances of separation anxiety developing is to enrol your child in an early education centre. These facilities have a curriculum designed to help small children develop on numerous levels and also include a school readiness program.
Kids will learn academic basics, be involved in group activities, learn about good nutrition, become more confident and social, get to mix with other kids and ultimately have a lot of fun. By the time they start school, they will be as prepared as they possibly can be.
Enrol Your Child In An Endeavour Early Education Centre
Endeavour Early Education Centres offer a well-rounded curriculum of activities and learning. If you want to give your child the best start in life, consider enrolling them in one of our centres. To learn more, simply get in touch and chat with our friendly staff.