Family Essentials®

How to Prevent Separation Anxiety This Back-to-School Season

August 31, 2018

Posted in: Parenting

It’s that time of year again!! Back to school—when shopping for cool gear becomes a priority and prepping to meet teachers and making new friends becomes the norm. It’s also time to anticipate a few rough mornings, when parents and kids have a hard time saying goodbye.

Back to school jitters, including separation anxiety, are natural and expected feelings. The transition to time away from home can be stressful not only for little ones but for the whole family. It’s essential for parents to respond to these worries in a way that will set children up for success for the back-to-school season and beyond.

Because Kiddie Academy works with over 25,000 students nationwide, our teachers and staff have witnessed and soothed a plethora of tears during this often trying time, and can help parents and children get comfortable with the transition back to school. Try these useful tips to ease the separation anxiety that comes along with a new school year:

Create a routine and stick to it—Routines offer a number of benefits to children, such as safety, belonging and responsibility. They also help to create healthy habits. In the days leading up to school, implement a bedtime and wake-up time to get your little ones in a good groove. Create a morning routine that your kids can count on—such as enjoying breakfast before getting dressed, then brushing their teeth and giving pets or a favorite stuffed animal one last hug goodbye. Let them know ahead of time they will always need to be ready to leave around the same time each day.

Take a practice run—Once your school routine is mapped out, take it for a few practice runs. Go through the motions of a typical weekday morning: the early wake up call, sitting at the table for breakfast together, getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair and heading out the door. Drive to school and hop out to explore a bit. Taking the time to explain this process upfront to your child will prepare them for what to expect and also build excitement to start school and make new friends!

Find a few familiar faces—Get to know a handful of kids that will be in the same class as your child and set up a few playdates before the school year starts. Not only will this get them excited to see friends at school, it’s also an added layer of comfort in a new place.

Make up a brief goodbye ritual—Long, strung out goodbyes don’t benefit parents or children. In fact, they can make separation anxiety increase and turn up the waterworks. Instead, create a unique way for you and your child to say goodbye each morning (for example, “Bye-bye, butterfly”, “Out the door, dinosaur!” or a big, roaring bear hug). Remind them you’ll see each other after school and walk away, trusting the teachers will take it from there.

We hope these valuable tactics, matched with your own special touches, will help to create a sense of comfort and confidence, as well as calm any related anxieties, as your child heads back to school.

What are some tricks you use to manage stress levels at the start of a new school year?

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

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