Starting School: Easing Separation Anxiety


For parents of young children attending school or nursery for the first time, worry frequently sets in as the end of summer begins to loom closer. Are your worries regarding your child’s early years justified? Is this change really as significant as it seems?


Why is separation such a challenge?

Simply put, separation anxiety is a natural and healthy aspect of early childhood development, especially for kids between the ages of six months and three. As their primary caregiver, you are your child’s only source of protection and care. Most young toddlers with good, secure attachments and love relationships will fight this separation and may act out emotionally to communicate their concerns and unhappiness. Of course, your child is not the only one who feels these strong emotions; separation anxiety is a common feeling among parents as well (although hopefully expressed a little differently). You are conditioned to feel the anxious need to console your child when they cry.


Of course, there are things you can do to make this transition easier, and once your child has become accustomed to and trusted the nursery or school staff and teachers, you will probably realize that the benefits are worthwhile. We consulted early childhood specialists in the UAE to compile the guidance you require for completing this milestone effectively. Parents, get ready—no one ever said this would be simple.


Time it properly.

Youngster takes a big step when they start kindergarten or school. It is critical that the rest of their world be predictable and steady so that they have the fortitude required to face this task. a new child has been born? Doing a move? Have guests recently arrived or left? returned after a lengthy vacation? These adjustments at home may be difficult for our children and may cause feelings of uneasiness. To offer your child the best opportunity of navigating this emotional storm, try to make sure their world is steady around the time they begin preschool or kindergarten. It’s crucial to establish a sleep schedule that will allow the youngster to arrive at the nursery on time and rested. Making sure the youngster has slept well is important in getting them ready for the first day. A sleep-deprived child will have a harder time coping emotionally.


Go to the location with your kid.

Pandemic rules have been loosened, so you may be able to take your child to see the facility before they start. Our source was Janet Ghanem, Director of Redwood Center of Excellence ELC. “Visit your child before they start kindergarten or school. This will make it easier for your youngster to adjust to the setting and the teachers before going without you. Depending on your child’s age, a visit to the location ahead of time might also delight them. There might be certain activities there that you don’t do very often at home, as well as fun playground equipment or interesting objects. Some schools and nurseries even include pets, which can help kids feel a part of the environment and give you and your kid something to talk about.


Be in touch with your youngster.

There is no need for your child to experience a shock when beginning nursery or school. You can help your child grasp what is occurring in a variety of age-appropriate ways to reduce their anxiety. Remember that when kids know what is going to happen next, they feel more in control and secure. A portion of your child’s anxiety of the unknown will be alleviated if you can help them understand what to expect from nursery or school. It’s crucial to help your child get ready for separation by talking to them about saying goodbye and ways to make it easier. Some children’s books talk about making friends and keeping connected throughout the first few days at the daycare. Role-playing with them can also be a wonderful idea because kids are more prepared on the big day when they have practice saying goodbye and leaving during play.


Performing enjoyable nursery/school activities at home with your kid, such as painting, crafts, playdough, and story reading, may also be beneficial. Remind your child that they will be able to participate in similar activities with their teacher at the nursery/school as well. This understanding can also be supported by taking your kid shopping for supplies they will need for school or daycare, such as a bag, lunchbox, and water bottle.


Your child is a unique person.

During this transition it is important to take each child’s needs into account: “Children adjust to new circumstances in various ways. Understanding and accepting the possibility that what works for one child may not work for another is crucial. Children require time and space, and we need to support each one of their unique needs. Because it’s crucial for nursery workers to get to know each kid personally, we take a lot of time during our induction meetings to ask open-ended questions such as, “What makes them the happiest? What do they enjoy doing the most? What music or movies do they enjoy? Which foods do they enjoy eating? “Who are the significant individuals in their lives?”


You will have these opportunities to meet your child’s teacher before school begins if you are in a good early years setting. Instead of expecting your child to follow a predetermined pattern of acclimating, the adults who are supporting them (teacher, carers, and parents) should collaborate to meet their requirements.


Control your “grown-up” feelings.

It’s a big responsibility to entrust your child to another adult, especially one you haven’t spent much time with before. It’s crucial to avoid alienating your youngster with insincerity during times when your emotions may be running high. Nevertheless, any indication of mistrust for the teacher will probably do a lot to make your child fearful when left in the hands of the new adult. Let your youngster see from the look on your face that they are safe and shouldn’t be concerned. Young children interpret their parents’ facial expressions and body language to determine the safety of a scenario. Your child’s worry will increase if you appear terrified or about to cry because that won’t signal that the setting is safe.


When discussing childcare with your child, use positive language and demonstrate your motivation and excitement. Parents’ behavior will be followed by their children. If you express excitement, your child will feel the same way; if you display anxiety, this can also be contagious. Children need to feel protected, loved, and secure, especially while things are changing. Before they start nursery, a sense of security is cultivated for them through lots of hugs, cuddles, and story time. Their confidence can be cultivated by meeting their requirements for touch, sleep, play, bathing, and communication.


Integrity and connection are crucial.

Your child needs to trust you more than ever, and during this time, your communication—or lack thereof—will have a profound effect on your child. Janet Ghanem gave the following parenting advice. It’s critical that children be given the freedom to express their feelings because the pain and anxiety they experience when their parent leaves them are very genuine. Give your child a hug and an assurance that you will return soon while demonstrating compassion and support for their emotions. Never leave the room without your child’s permission. Although it’s a simple approach to avoid dealing with your own emotional turbulence, doing this isn’t beneficial for your child. When your youngster looks up to see their parent has gone away covertly, their fear of being abandoned may be reinforced. Instead, give them a hug and kiss goodbye and let them know how much you love them and are looking forward to seeing them again later.