Talking about children and separation anxiety may seem odd when February’s blog topic is about relationships, but it is a key item on many parents’ and caregivers’ list of concerns for kindergarten readiness. From the time they are wee ones, many kids have had to deal with this challenge. Going off to kindergarten can be a very big step and for some children it’s harder than for others. Sometimes, families are completely surprised when a child who has been fine at daycare for years comes to school for the first time and bursts into wails of fear. It is very stressful for parents, too.
To ease children into being able to separate without anxiety, practice helps. A few short playdates is a place to start. Some community programs such as swimming or skating have another adult in charge of the group. Even if parents are watching, it may feel like being alone. There may be playschool and preschool programs offered in your area where kids go by themselves. Bookstores will have children’s stories that you can read at home and use to talk together. Learning to be independent is part of both kindergarten readiness and healthy relationships. Is this a concern for your child?