Change is always difficult for young children who have never really left your side before, change can be terrifying. You can put everything into place with the right timing and effort, but it doesn’t mean that children won’t cry or feel worried at school drop off. When they’ve been with you for so long, taking that time to be away from you is tough and it can be a big struggle for them. There is a certain level of anxiety that surrounds being left somewhere unfamiliar with new people, and for children with additional needs especially, is a tough time.
It doesn’t matter whether you have chosen a specific daycare or childcare option, learning how to avoid those tears at school drop off has to be a priority for you if your child is struggling. Separation anxiety is very real and it can be expected in the first week of school or daycare, but relentless crying on the school playground is really difficult to manage. It’s difficult to be able to walk away as a parent, but it’s something that you have to do if you want your children to feel calm. So, here are some tips for managing those school drop offs so the tears don’t flow so quickly.
- Make going to school exciting. There are plenty of ways that you can get your child ready for going to school, from helping them to choose a lunch box that is just there, to allowing them to choose a coat for them to take with them. Many children love to choose their school water bottle that they have because it can make them feel independent and proud of themselves to do so. If you make the prospect of going to school without you an exciting thing to do, your child will follow suit. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy for anybody at first, but it is something that they can get used to.
- Read books about it. If you do a search online you should be able to find tons of books about going to school and letting go of hands for the first time. As a parent, you also have to swallow your own anxiety about your child being at school without you. Of course, it’s going to take time for everybody to adjust, but if you model calm behavior then you’ll be able to see your child mimic that from you. Reading books together about going to school and what it would be like is important so that they can feel more prepared and not so afraid of the prospect of leaving your side.
- Practice. If you have a family member that your child trusts, practice leaving them with that family member so that you can show them that you will be coming back. Those first few drop offs are going to be difficult for both of you, but with practice you are preparing both you and your child. You won’t be able to go into their classroom before their first day, but you can still run through the morning routine and get them ready for school. You might even be able to get them into the playground so that they can familiarize themselves with their surroundings.
spend quality time together. If you ensure that you are spending lots of quality time together as a pair, then going to school is going to be much easier. You want your child to feel as confident and calm as possible, and spending time together before you head off to school is one way to make that happen.