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Separation Anxiety at
Why it Happens ~
Children are comfortable with their environment
when they feel their needs are being met. I know that sounds a bit
advanced thinking for a toddler, but what I mean by it is that they
need to feel safe, secure, loved, know they will receive help when
needed, be fed, and that sort of thing. When attending a new
daycare it may take some time for them to gain those feelings. It can
take up to 2-3 weeks before they are fully comfortable with their new
Ways to Control & Prevent it ~
The best way to control separation anxiety is to
help stop it before it even begins. Prior to your child's first
day at daycare plan at least one or two visits. Spend about 1/2
an hour or so there. Let them play and interact with their soon
to be new friends. Let them become familiar with the new
environment. Pay close attention to who and what they play with.
One of the best things to do is begin a morning
routine. Each morning, at home, explain to your child that it is
daycare day. Remind them of how much fun they will be having during
the day and reassure her that you will be back later in the day to
pick them up after she's enjoyed her fun-filled day. Talk about how
she can play with "favorite toy" with "friend's name". Talk about
an activity or two the provider has planned that day. You can even
talk about what's for lunch. Ask her what they thinks would be fun
to do at daycare today. Toddlers love to feel in command. If they
know they can help plan part of their day they are more than happy
to do it.
When you get to daycare, help her get ready for her
day (take off coat, put away belongings, etc.). Remind her of what
you talked about at home. Be firm, but kind, when it's time for you
to leave. Let her know you understand it's hard to say goodbye to
mommy, but you love her and you know she's going to have so much fun
while you're gone. Try not to drag out a long goodbye. It will just
make it harder on you, her, and your provider.
If your child cries when you leave, ask your care
provider how long after you leave that she remains upset? As hard as
it is to believe, children are often off and playing happily within
minutes of their parents leaving. If this is the case, then there
really is nothing to worry about. Just reassure her that she's going
to have a wonderful day and you'll be back soon.
When I was a provider, I followed the same
routine. After the parent left, I reminded them of what we were going
to be doing that day and how much fun it was going to be. I often
asked the child if they would like to help me prepare for the day as
well. Perhaps your provider can try this as well.