The first day of school is upon us, and many children are returning to school or starting their first day of kindergarten. This is a stressful time for children (and parents). Separation anxiety is common in school-age children. It is characterized by persistent or excessive worry about separating from a child’s primary caregiver. This translates into the dreaded emotional drop-off, a child who won’t get out of the car, they are pulled, tearful, into the school building only to scream as their parent walks away. We’ve seen it or we’ve been “that parent” only to return to our car and have our turn at crying. Not fun for anyone.
Even if your child isn’t excessively worried about going off to school, some of these techniques can ease the transition.
Lastly, be aware of your own feelings. Are you as scared about your child leaving you as he is? Your child may be picking up on this, and reacting to it. Try and talk through these feelings with another adult (not your child) so that you can be emotionally available to your child. If your child is struggling to transition into school, know that it’s normal and for most children is resolved in the first few weeks.