You’ve just dropped your baby off to childcare but as you walk away, you hear them wailing for you to come back… What now? Here are some ways to minimise separation anxiety.
Attending an early-learning program such as long day care, pre-school or family day care is an important and exciting stage in a child’s development. They will have opportunities to interact with other children and educators, and benefit from a stimulating learning environment.
Some children embrace this change with an enthusiasm that can leave parents feeling confident and comfortable, and perhaps even a little left out. Other children may feel afraid, upset or anxious. It may be the first time they have been in the care of adults who are not part of their family, or the environment could be noisy and crowded compared to being at home, making it all feel a bit too much.
It is actually quite common for children to show some signs of discomfort when they first start a new program.
From about six months old, most children begin to show distress when they are away from their parents or carers, as they don’t yet have a separate sense of self, so can feel a part of them is missing. While this can be worrying for parents and carers, it is normal for children to find the transition to childcare upsetting, and important to remember the distress is often short-lived.
There are a number of easy things you can do to help your child settle into the new environment.
Not every child will find being away from their parents or carers upsetting, and not every child will respond in the same way. When children are upset, they can express this in a number of different ways:
When being separated from you upsets your child, it might be because they don’t understand when you will come back or may feel anxious around unfamiliar people or places. Common thoughts children have in this situation are:
1. Prepare Your Child
2. Work Together With The Childcare Provider
3. Build Trust
4. Build Feelings Of Safety
If your child doesn’t seem to be settling down over a period of a few weeks or seems to be regressing in some ways, don’t panic.
Talk to the service’s staff, who will be able to give you insight into your child’s experience and how they are responding to the new environment. Staff may suggest additional strategies to assist your child through the transition into care. In some cases, it may be appropriate to try an alternative service type or reduce hours until your child is comfortable, but this is rarely necessary.
Don’t forget that it’s not just children who can find separation upsetting. It’s also normal for parents to find the process distressing and you should make sure you have strategies to deal with this as well.
You can minimise your concerns by:
For more infomation on this topic and other related articles visit the website: http://www.childmags.com.au/how-to-deal-with-separation-anxiety-at-childcare/