All parents have encountered the expression of anxiety when you first leave a child in someone else’s care. This phase is difficult for both the parent and child, but it’s completely normal. The expression of these feelings is part of the developmental process as young children learn to trust their own capabilities.
Here are some tips for saying goodbye without tears during preschool:
Keeping a consistent routine will help children feel more comfortable. Talk to them before school begins about the routine for the morning. Make it known that you will be leaving but also reinforce that you will be back to pick them up before they know it.
Let your child choose a comfort object to bring with them to school. It will remind them of home and help them feel more secure. Anything from a picture, to a favorite stuffed animal, can be a comfort object. If you pack a lunch for your child, leave them special notes to remind them that you love them and will return soon.
Develop a short ritual for saying goodbye. You might say, “I will be back to get you after work. I love you.” Then hug your child quickly and leave. Keeping the same farewell each day creates a familiar transition from being with you to being without you.
Although it might be tempting to sneak out of the room the moment your child is distracted, this can cause more stress when they realize you are gone.
Acknowledge your child’s feeling and reassure them that their worries are normal. It’s perfectly natural to feel a little bit scared, showing you understand how they feel can help your child feel safe.
Watch your own body language when saying goodbye to your child. Even if you are upset, stand up straight and smile to model a cheerful goodbye. Resist the urge to keep coming back for another hug because your child will think there is something to worry about.
At Adventure Park Academy, we work hard to create an inviting environment in an attempt to ease separation anxiety. Activities are kept on a consistent schedule to help quickly get kids adjusted to preschool. Teachers use an emergent thematic and play based approach to curriculum teaching. We use The Healthy Beginnings program for children ages 2-3 and the Houghton Mifflin Curriculum for ages 4-5. Emphasis is placed on the social skills of sharing, communication, self-concept, and meeting personal needs. Children have many opportunities for indoor and outdoor play as well as using the attractions.