Series Part #14: Is Separation Anxiety a Concern for Your Child For Kindergarten?
Do you think animals are anxious too when their offspring go off on their own and separate from parents? What about self-care concerns? All parents, everywhere, have the responsibility to teach children how to be independent. Kindergarten means separating for both kids and for parents, and for some it’s the first extended period of time.
Separating from parents or caregivers can be a major event or no big deal, depending on the child. While some find this very traumatic, most children are fairly comfortable and handle it with maybe a few tears or none at all. Some kids are so eager that the parents sigh and look sad.
Even though most kids can cope with planned, brief times without a parent or primary caregiver, kindergarten requires much longer times to be away from familiar faces. As with many new situations, some practice and familiarity will help, especially those who are anxious.
For children with minor separation issues, joining a group activity, such as a community program, parks and recreation play time, gymnastics, swimming, dance or other sport, or library story club may be an opportunity to get used to being independent. Start with shorter periods of time and work up to longer ones, such as a whole day at a care center. Nap-time and other quiet times can be more lonely and challenging when there are no cuddles.
Self-care ranges from being able to do up buttons and zippers to being independent in the bathroom. Schools and homes can be quite different with respect to plumbing so talk about this with your child. Ensure your child can take care of basic bathroom needs. Reminding kids to wash hands is common. Having clothes and shoes that are easy to do up and undo are helpful and make it easier to be independent.
The issues of separation and self-care are easy to overlook as part of getting ready to go to kindergarten, but they are certainly important for children’s confidence and comfort. How do you deal with these issues for your child?