The Love Central - Don’t Worry, Mommy Will Be Back: How to Handle Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers
Don’t Worry, Mommy Will Be Back: How to Handle Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers

Don’t Worry, Mommy Will Be Back: How to Handle Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers

Tell your child where you are going, why you are going, and when you will be back.
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Separation anxiety is a common and normal part of a child’s development, particularly during the preschool years. In this article, we will provide guidance on how to handle it effectively

Separation anxiety is that heart-wrenching moment when your sweet little preschooler clings to your leg with the strength of a baby koala, refusing to let you out of their sight. 

It’s perfectly normal and even expected for kids around this age to experience separation anxiety. It’s like their tiny brains finally realized that you, their beloved parent, can actually leave them. Yikes!

So, how can you help your child overcome their separation anxiety and make the transition easier for both of you? Here are some tips from experts and parents who have been there:

The Love Central - Don’t Worry, Mommy Will Be Back: How to Handle Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers
The best way to leave is to say goodbye firmly and cheerfully and then walk away without looking back Image source Freepik

1. Prepare Your Child in Advance

Tell your child where you are going, why you are going, and when you will be back. Use simple and concrete terms that your child can understand. 

For example, “Mommy is going to work. You will stay here with Ms. Jane. She will play with you and take care of you. Mommy will come back after lunch.”

2. Establish a Routine

Follow a consistent and predictable schedule for leaving and returning. This will help your child feel more secure and less anxious. 

For example, you can have a special goodbye ritual, such as a hug, a kiss, and a wave. You can also give your child a transitional object, such a blanket, or a photo of you, that they can hold on to while you are away.

3. Be Calm and Confident

Your child can sense your emotions and will mirror them. If you are nervous, anxious, or guilty about leaving, your child will pick up on that and feel more anxious themselves. 

On the other hand, if you are calm, confident, and positive about leaving, your child will feel more reassured and relaxed. For example, you can say, “I know you are sad that I have to go, but I am proud of you for being brave. You will have a lot of fun here. I love you and I will see you soon.”

4. Don’t Linger or Sneak Away

Both of these strategies can backfire and make your child more upset. If you linger, you are sending the message that you are not sure about leaving, and that there is something to worry about. 

If you sneak away, you are breaking your child’s trust and making them feel abandoned. The best way to leave is to say goodbye firmly and cheerfully, and then walk away without looking back.

5. Praise and Reward Your Child

When you come back, greet your child warmly and enthusiastically. Praise them for how well they did while you were away, and reward them with a hug, a sticker, or a special activity. This will reinforce their positive behavior and make them feel more confident and secure.

6. Encourage Your Child to Bring a Comfort Object

A comfort object, such as a stuffed animal can help your child feel more secure and connected to you when you are apart. 

Allow your child to choose what they want to bring, and make sure it is allowed and safe at their school or daycare. Remind your child that they can hold or look at their comfort object whenever they miss you or feel scared.

The Love Central - Don’t Worry, Mommy Will Be Back: How to Handle Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers
Allow your child to choose what they want to bring and make sure it is allowed Image source Freepik

7. Communicate with your Child’s Teacher or Caregiver

Establish a good relationship with your child’s teacher or caregiver, and share information about your child’s personality, preferences, needs, and fears. 

Ask them how your child is doing during the day, and how they handle any separation issues or challenges. Seek their feedback and advice, and work together to create a supportive and consistent environment for your child.

Conclusion: How to Handle Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers

Separation anxiety can be tough, but it is not a sign of bad parenting or a spoiled child. It is a natural and temporary phase that most children outgrow as they mature and gain confidence. 

By following these tips, you can help your child overcome their fears and enjoy their time away from you. And remember, mommy (or daddy) will always be back!

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