When the summer starts winding down, it's natural to feel a little wistful for the start of school, even if you've been out of the classroom for a while. And once you have a school-aged kid of your own, these feelings get even more complex. You are excited for your little one to go off into the world, but it's also difficult to watch your baby grow up. And if your kiddo is nervous about school, it may make things even more tricky. Fortunately, there are plenty of separation anxiety tips for back to school, because your kid is totally brave enough to face the classroom.
You and your child can gear up with plenty of tactics to help calm his fears. By reading books about school, checking out his classroom beforehand, and saying goodbye in a positive way, you can help ease his separation anxiety. Of course, it may be difficult for you to say goodbye with a smile, but staying strong for your kid is just one of the many sacrifices parents make. And even if you have a crying session in the parking lot of your kid's school (it happens), you can be happy in the knowledge that your little one is growing up to be strong and free from worry.
1Get Up Earlier Than Usual
Once you and your kid have a routine down, you might be able to sleep in a little more. But for the first few days, it may be a good idea to get up a half-hour early, as suggested by Parenting, just to make sure everything is in place. The last thing you want is to add more stress in the morning by running late. It will also give you time to help soothe any last-minute jitters.
There are plenty of books that will help prepare your kid for school. Reading I Don't Want To Go To School by A.J. Cosmo or Go to School, Little Monster by Helen Ketterman together may help your little one find the whole process a little less mysterious.
A long, emotional good-bye may only make things worse in the long run. As explained in Help Guide, saying goodbye quickly may help ease your kid's separation anxiety. It may even be easier on you as well.
4Keep Your Emotions In Check
So this may be the most difficult tip of all. But as explained by the Wasatch School District, kids know when you're feeling upset, and this may only exacerbate their own anxiety. So putting on a brave face and staying positive about the new school year may help your kid out.
5Provide A Comfort Item
You may want to check with your school's policy about sending items from home beforehand. But for many kids, having a familiar toy or family photo may help ease separation anxiety, as noted in Friendship Circle. Even a little bracelet or other small token from mom may help your little one feel more connected even when you're apart.
6Have A Good-Bye Ritual
Create an alternative to the sad goodbye. Having a quick goodbye ritual, such as a special handshake or fun phrase, can help ease anxiety, as noted in Healthy Children. See you later, alligator.
7Do Prep Work
Kids don't have an innate sense of what will go on at a typical school day, so it's very helpful for you to fill in the gaps. As noted on Kidspot, explaining what happens at school, as well as when you'll be back to pick him up, can help him prepare for the events ahead of time. After all, few things are more frightening than the unknown.
8Visit The School
Again, taking some of the unfamiliarity out of the situation can really help out your kid. Visiting the school beforehand, as well as getting to know teachers and fellow students ahead of time when possible, may help improve your kid's confidence, as explained in the Huffington Post. It will help everything feel a little more familiar.
9Don't Sneak Off
It may be tempting to slip away when your kid isn't paying attention instead of saying goodbye. However, as noted on Kids Health, this approach could actually lead to more separation anxiety for your kid down the road. It may be better to follow through with your goodbye routine to let your kid know when you're leaving.