separation anxiety

Before I Go to Kindergarten #6: Young Children and Separation Anxiety

Will your child be “leaving the nest” for playschool, preschool, daycare, or kindergarten? Young children and separation anxiety can be an issue.young children and separation anxiety

Concerns about being on their own is quite normal in young children and varies greatly. Most toddlers and preschoolers can handle being separated from parents and caregivers for short, planned stretches of time. They may not like it but they can cope with the situation. Every year, though, there are some children who find this a big deal.

young children and separation anxiety

For kids with a minor concern about saying goodbye practice can help. You may be able to find a community activity such as a library story hour or recreation program where your child can be without you. Many areas have swimming, gymnastics, skating, or other sports where kids are in a small group with an unfamiliar adult. After a few sessions, kids will develop a connection with the instructor and the other kids and be more comfortable and confident.

busted button wings

If the level of separation anxiety is more serious, you may want to talk about the issue with a professional, such as your family doctor, a school counselor, or family therapist. One in four children can suffer from anxiety so you are not alone. It really helps to deal with the issue as early as possible.

the kissing hand separation anxiety in kidsBooks and stories can be helpful too. For more than two decades, families have been reading and loving The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Mrs. Raccoon gives Chester Raccoon a kiss on his hand that he can press to his cheek whenever he’s lonely. The kiss will fill him with warm thoughts. The illustrations and gentle colors are comforting visually.

llLlama Llama Misses Mama and sheds a few tears in Anna Dewdney’s book. After being reassured it’s okay to miss Mama, Llama also has fun playing with the toys and other animals. These are just two stories for young children and separation anxiety, there are dozens more.

Learning is so much more than just academics. It’s also confidence, independence, and dealing with all kinds of emotions. For kids, parents are the safety net, or maybe that should be safety nest? Is your child ready to try out wings?

(For the rest of the poster, visit the Before I Go to Kindergarten post.)

P.S. The sad news about Anna Dewdney’s passing leaves Llama Llama and all of us missing her. Condolences to her family. In lieu of a funeral, she requested we read a story to a child.

Kids and Kindergarten Separation Anxiety

Off to School Tool Box: Independence and Confidence

Every year there are a few kids with kindergarten separation anxiety. An important tool for the off to school tool box is independence and confidence. off to school tool box

Separating from parents or other familiar adults and caregivers can be a big deal for some children. Others are so comfortable that it’s the parents who suffer from hurt feelings. Most kids can cope with at least short, planned spans of time without a parent or parent stand-in and that’s a good place to start.

separation anxiety kindergartenTo help a child with a minor separation concern, join an activity like story time at the library or community recreation program. Practice may be enough to help a child feel comfortable and be able to cope with longer times at a care center or kindergarten.

For more serious anxieties, you may want an opportunity to talk with your family doctor or another professional, such as a play therapist. Anxiety can be a real issue but it helps to address at a young age.

whos-in-bathroom-jeanne-willisAnother part of independence and confidence is being comfortable with using the bathroom. This can range from no problems to a much bigger challenge.  Not that this is how you want to spend your time, but certainly check them out in various places so kids have an idea of what to expect. Not all toilets will flush the same way. And it is particularly helpful for boys if they have seen and used urinals.  We have to make sure kids are not feeling scared about taking care of their basic needs.

Read some books about it, there’s lots of great ones with illustrations and fun stories. Help your child to know the pictures and various words for bathroom, like restroom and washroom. Who’s in the Bathroom by Jeanne Willis is pretty funny and uses many different and even unusual words.

Self-care and separation are certainly not academics but they are concerns for children’s comfort and confidence when it comes to their development and learning. We want them to learn independence and we want them to be independent learners.

Self-Care/Being Able to Separate Important for Kindergarten

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 before kindergartenSeparating 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.

listening to a storyFor 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?

Helping Young Children Learn to be Independent

Parents Are Children’s Safety Net When it comes to children’s early learning and development, parents are not just children’s first teachers, they are also their safety net. A friend of ours posted two amazing pictures on Facebook. A hummingbird had built a nest in the family basketball net. Not on the rim which is pretty … Continue reading Helping Young Children Learn to be Independent

Kindergarten Readiness – Separation Anxiety

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 … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Separation Anxiety