Our kids get so used to staying with us because, we as mums want to do everything for them and try to make sure that we are there when they need us. This is even more evident in First-time mums and often it happens that the first-born child takes a little longer to deal and cope with separation than the next ones. At some time, all children have to face the dreaded separation. This could be at a time when mum goes back to work and leave the child in care of any other adult- grandparent, domestic helper or at the time when the child starts with play school or pre-school. More often than not, this is the most feared stage by parents and children are also not able to take it from the word go! Each one of us experience this and often are not sure about how to deal with it in a positive way. Everyone has their own opinion about dealing with separation and the best one is that, which works for you and your child. The only thing, we as parents need to make sure is to be strong and never let our child get overwhelmed with our nervousness.
These few tips may help to make the process easier if not completely tear free.
1. Even before going back to work or before starting school, leave the child for an hour (and gradually increasing to 2, then 4 and then for the day) with another care giver like grandparent, babysitter, domestic helper. This will help him/her to understand that others also can take care of them.
2. If you are starting with school, stay with him/her for a couple of days for sometime so that he/she gets used to the environment and feels safe there, then gradually start leaving him/her there for the duration of school.
3. When starting school, explain to your child what all activities he can look forward to and talk about teachers and new friends that he/she is going to meet.
4. Don't expect your child to take on to this new experience in a positive way immediately. Be prepared for a good amount of crying and tears when you leave him/her at the school or at home with another caregiver. But you have to feel strong and confident and let your child cry for a while and within a week or 10 days, it will be absolutely fine and they may even start enjoying and look forward to go to school. This is tried and tested... my champ used to cry for the first week, a lot of people told me to wait for some more time before starting with the play group for him but I felt that the longer he stays with me and see me around, the longer he'll take to adjust. So after two days of starting school, I left him there and to make sure that I could not hear him cry, used to go out for a walk or to a cafe. Initially he used to whine for the whole time (2 hours), then it was only few minutes after I left and then he used to get engaged in the activities, then it was for a couple of minutes after dropping off and and believe me, he was absolutely fine after 10 days.
5. Another thing that might work is to have the father drop the child to school. Usually with Stay at home mums, children feel that mothers are there to stay with them forever, whereas for Dads, they know that Daddy has to go to work so it is easier to cope. I tried this also and it's working great. Mr. Scientists drops our champ on the way to work and I go to bring him back. The difference is felt on those days when Mr. Scientist has an early meeting and has to leave early and I go to drop our Champ, he kind of expects that I am going to stay with him there.
6. Talk to the teachers and make sure that your child see that and this will reassure him and he'll be able to trust them.
7. Keep talking about school and teachers in a positive way.
Hope these tips will help you and your child to deal with separation anxiety. Do you have any of your experience or tips to share, please leave a comment
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