As with most changes in a young child’s life, separation anxiety and being dropped off at kindergarten is a learning curve that all parents with their child will go through at some stage. Different children display their symptoms in vastly different ways. Some will cry and scream and beg for their parents to come back. However, others may just be extremely withdrawn, non-responsive and overall not in the right mind frame for learning.
While it is natural for children to cry on the first or second day at kindergarten or preschool, should this continue after the first week or so, the child may be suffering from a more extreme form of separation anxiety. It would be helpful to discuss with the teacher at the end of the school day if the child’s crying stops shortly after drop-off. If not, this will need to be addressed both for the child’s wellbeing and the parents’ peace of mind with a view towards making the dropping off at school less traumatic. So let’s take a look at a few ways you can help your child feel more at ease with your absence during school.
Now, this is all down to your individual preschool rules around personal items. However, if your child is having daily meltdowns when you leave, then it may be worth giving your child some kind of item of comfort to reassure it, such as a stuffed animal and gradually it will become less and less reliant on these objects in order to keep its cool at school.
Liaise with Teachers
Most good and thoughtful teachers will understand the reasoning behind children crying at drop-off and would be actively seeking to work with the parents of these children in order to better understand their individual needs so they can give them the best education possible.
Many teachers find that once a child has seen its parents leave, generally the distress and crying will, at the very least, become less disruptive when its parents are out of sight and it must accept what is happening around it and deal with the situation appropriately. However, if you have a consistent problem every day you drop your child off, then it may simply be that the child isn’t prepared for preschool yet.
We all know how important a healthy amount of sleep is for our bodies, but, what you may not know is that younger children actually crave a set routine in most areas of their lives. For example, getting a child into a regular routine and having a proper bedtime will ensure that it knows exactly what they need to do and what to expect from any given day. This gives it confidence that it knows what will happen and when.
Proper sleep is vital for both your child’s academic success and their emotional and psychological health. An overtired child who hasn’t had much sleep is hard enough to deal with, let alone a child who has gone through all of that and who also misses its mother after drop off. Try waking up earlier and going to bed earlier in order to give the child ample opportunity to wake up and give the parents time to prepare nutritious and filling breakfasts to fill their child up for the day ahead.
Generate excitement about the upcoming school day
Children learn very much by example, from both parents and other adults and children. If your child doesn’t seem to enjoy going to school and does not hold any real enthusiasm for it, it can be a good idea to try and generate some of that excitement back at home either before the school day commences or after. Good teachers should have many different tactics in order to help generate excitement about their school work and the general prospect of attending. Again, liaising with teachers can be helpful when it comes to identifying the root cause of the problems and the best action to take.
As you are traveling to school you might want to strike up conversations about what activities they will do and toys they will play with while they are at school. Try to create some enthusiasm in your voice when you ask your child about its friends at school and favorite activities. It’s also worth mentioning that ideas shouldn’t be placed into the child’s head with unhelpful statements like “please don’t cry today” or comparisons to other children in the group. This will make your child feel even more uncomfortable than it may already be feeling.
Get your child busy as soon as possible
When arriving at the preschool or kindergarten it can help to get your child settled quickly and its mind focused on a game or activity while the rest of the class arrives for their day of school. In this way, you can get your child to focus on its current activity or game in order to lessen the blow of your departure when the time finally comes. Again this should be done in coordination with the teacher to ensure that the child’s attention is fully engrossed and the parent can make a quick escape.
This tactic can be a useful way in helping the child to understand that sometimes they have to be apart from its parents and that is just a normal part of life.
It has long been understood by pediatric psychologists that children are much happier in general when they have a fixed routine that is followed every day. This helps your child to know what to expect every day and helps them feel at ease with the events that may occur throughout its day.
Having a consistent routine, including arriving on time at the school, will mitigate your child’s unfounded fear of being abandoned. This is because it will have figured out it will be picked up at the end of the school day and return back to the security of home.
Kidz Village is a highly regarded international preschool in Bangkok, our methodologies and curriculum help your children to establish their independence and transition into school life with ease. We support all of our students through this potentially difficult time to ensure their best academic and personal success.
For more information on our campus, curriculum and teaching methodologies, please contact us directly on +66-2-888-3337.