Separation anxiety is a normal behavior and it is part of the development during the first years of life. It is normal for children to feel this way, to cry and be distressed to the new changes as they are separated from you. Children are aware of your feelings and sensitive to non-verbal cues. Facilitating this process is very important. A quick goodbye, a kiss, a cuddle and telling your child that you will be back will help him/her feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable. Most often the child will stop crying as soon as you are a few steps away. Once you have left please do not come back as it will reinforce using crying strategy to keep you there.
Establish A Goodbye Routine - At FVMS we offer car line each day to make drop off smooth and consistent for your child. Parents are required to drop off in car line or in the front hallway. This makes it easier for all children in the hallway and classrooms by reducing the number of adults walking in the hallways.
Trust Your Child's Teacher - While you are creating a new relationship with the teacher in your child’s classroom, keep in mind that your child’s teacher has chosen this profession and is trained to help your child develop the social and emotional strategies and can offer appropriate redirection.
Always Stay Positive - The children are watching the adults in their lives and reading your face to determine how they should feel. Keep a smile on your face and it will help them know they are safe in their new environment.
Always Be On Time - Arriving late can be upsetting to some children as the Montessori class has already started.
Acknowledge How Your Child Is Feeling - It is important to accept and respect your child's temporary unhappiness as it is very real and very normal. Say things like "I know you feel sad when Mommy leaves, but you will have a good time, and I will be back very soon." Learning to cope with sadness is an important learning process for your child.
Never Sneak Out On Your Child - As tempting as it is, sneaking out the door can make matters worse. Although you do not have to stay to witness a meltdown, it may be very upsetting for the child when they realize Mom or Dad has simply disappeared without saying goodbye and it can make the next day even more difficult. The best thing a parent can do is deal directly the situation and before you know it, the tearful goodbyes will be no more. Besides, you want your child to know unequivocally that he/she can trust you.
Ask For Help - Often, a child who experiences separation anxiety with one parent is absolutely fine if the other parent does the drop off. You could also try having another relative, close friend or grandparent give it a try for a few days.
Be Prepared For Regression - Just when you think your child has conquered his/her feelings of separation anxiety, along comes a weekend or an illness that keeps your child home for a few days and you are right back to square one. As frustrating and upsetting as this can be, it is perfectly normal. Stick to the above strategies and you should notice a significant different in a couple of days