Separation anxiety is normal in very young children, and they typically react by being clingy. If this occurs with a child over the age of 6 then you may be looking at SAD (Separation Anxiety Disorder) and now with a pandemic and children returning to daycare and school, the percentage of children may experience this till they feel safe with the new routine and new place. If your child is having physical issues like refusal to sleep, nightmares about being separated, headaches, pleading temper tantrums then you may want to talk to a therapist with experience in treating SAD. Usually, the therapist will use Cognitive Behavioral therapy also known as talking therapy which is typically effective.
All children have separation anxiety at some point(s), and you don’t need to rush to a therapist, rather there are things to help prevent it from happening. With parents going back to work and needing to find a daycare there are “big feelings” that the parents are maybe expressing in the home that the child is picking up. At Close to Home Childcare Center and Preschool, we know this is a difficult time and we work with each family as each child is unique. Take it from us after the parent walks out the door the pleading child that was crying stops rather quickly. We strongly recommend parents do the following before the first day at our center:
- Discuss the transition and drive by and see the center. Therefore, we want to meet the child, and have you tour the building and see all the happy faces and cool activities we do.
- Explain the process of dropping off and even come to the center and walk through the process.
- Develop a cool way to say “goodbye” when you do the drop off. Kids love a special code like a silly goodbye.
- Please make sure you discuss our daily routine as that helps so much. When parents discuss this ahead of time and walk thru the day at home the child transitions so much easier.
- Specify when you will be back like after your afternoon playtime.
- If the child does become clingy and cries when you leave the first few times, just try to resist the urge to come back in as that will mean their behavior worked and brought you back.
- We inform parents not to try to sneak out as that typically increases a child’s anxiety. My parent was here and then I was looking at toys and now my parent is gone. Now the child is confused and anxious about when mom or dad will be back.
- Trust us that a consistent routine, your reassurance, your excitement for them to be with us carry’s over to the child and very quickly your child will confidently say goodbyes.