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Growing Up and Setting Out…

September, 2009
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Even children who have often been cared for by others may as they enter school develop a fear of being apart from their parents.  

This reaction is not necessarily a sign of regression but can be due to their increased awareness of the world’s dangers. Children who have recently undergone a major change in their lives, such as the birth of a sibling or a move, may become even clingier as they adjust to the change.

Here are some of the ways you can ease your young child’s fears of separation:

Develop a ritual for when you leave your child. For example, each morning before you leave your child at school, sing a particular song that your child enjoys. When you say good-bye, develop a special way of waving to each other. In this way, your child has a chance to be a part of and exercise more control over the situation.

Talk about something else other than the idea of separation. On the way to school, don’t focus on the time you’ll be apart from your child. Talk about other things she or he will do at school, the weather, or their new shoes. Avoid reassurances that he or she will be just fine without you.

Offer support, not sympathy. If your child begins to cry or whine at the school door, don’t break down yourself. If you show signs of weakening, the crying will continue in the hopes you will change your mind and take him or her home. Be positive and supportive, but remind them that their job is to go to school.

Don’t get angry. This is not the time for anger or shaming your child. Calling your whining child a baby will only add humiliation and guilt to the emotional pain he or she is already feeling. Let them know their feelings are natural and understandable, and then let them know that you’ll want to hear about all the fun things they did at school.

Here is aplan that works for one family, and may perhaps prove useful in your family too…

“My two-year-old son goes to school five mornings a week. Although his teachers say he’s very happy there, he always seemed startled and confused when I announced it was time to get ready for school. Many mornings we had to struggle through crying tantrums before we could get out the door. It took me a while, but finally I realized that the problem wasn’t school, it was the element of surprise. My son doesn’t adjust quickly to changes in his routine. Because he never knew what days he was going to school and what days he was staying at home he was always on edge in the morning. The problem was easily solved. I gave him a wall calendar and we coloured in red the dates that were school days. Then each night we would look at the calendar and he would go to bed knowing what to expect in the morning. Now when I announce that it’s time to get ready for school, he laughs and says, “I know that!”

Starting school is a big change for parents and children and marks the beginning of a slightly scary but very exhilarating adventure. Best wishes to all who are setting out!


By Laurie Robinson

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  1. Joker
    September 7th, 2009 at 20:32 | #1

    Greatings, Ugh, I liked! So clear and positively.
    Thank you

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