Separation anxiety is a common form of anxiety disorder that affects children in different ways. As the name implies, separation anxiety refers to the excessive fear of being separated from significant adults or familiar surroundings. Both internal and external factors can cause it. Students with this type of anxiety may miss school or any other activity that will cause them to be away from their parents or parents for an extended period, for instance. This article contains practical tips on how to help your child in dealing with separation anxiety.
1. Develop Goodbye Rituals
Separation anxiety is a powerful and common emotion among children, especially those who are still learning how to understand the abstract concept of time and space. Children often fear losing their caregivers or loved ones, so they cling to them whenever they can. And while this separation anxiety can be distressing for both parents and their kids, there are ways to help manage it. You can do this by developing a set of goodbye rituals to use when you leave your child with someone else.
These rituals can help your child understand that you’re coming back again later on in the day or evening—even if they have no way of knowing exactly when or how long it will be until you return. It also lets them know that saying goodbye isn’t forever. It just means that they’ll get to spend some time away from their parents while still knowing that they’ll be around at some point soon afterward!
2. Explain to Your Child Why You Should Be Separated at the Moment
When your child experiences separation anxiety, they may become overly clingy with you, cry excessively, and have trouble sleeping without you nearby. This can be very upsetting for parents who are trying to cope with their feelings about being separated from their child. The good news is that there are ways to help children cope with separation anxiety, and one of them is explaining why you need time apart from each other, even if it seems like it’s only for a short period.
Explaining why you need time apart from your child will go a long way toward helping them understand what’s going on, which will help them feel more secure about spending time away from home without having an emotional meltdown in front of everyone around them (including teachers).
3. Help Your Child Relax
You can help your child cope with separation anxiety by teaching them relaxation techniques. This can be done by teaching them how to breathe deeply, focus on something they like, or even do simple exercises like stretching or yoga poses.
However, it is much better if you practice deep breathing with them. Especially when they’re having a panic attack, slow down their breathing and have them inhale through their nose and exhale through their mouth while focusing on a calm word like “calm.” This is an easy way to quickly get them into a relaxed state of mind.
Another way of doing this is by helping them find something they enjoy doing that distracts them from their worries about being away from home, such as allowing them to play their favorite games before class starts. This will give them something fun and distracting to focus on, taking some of the pressure off of worrying about the separation anxiety itself!
4. Make Sure You Are There After Dismissal
It’s a tricky thing to deal with, but separation anxiety is something that many kids have to face. It can be hard to watch your child struggle when they’re trying to overcome it, but being there for your child after school is an integral part of helping them cope with this separation anxiety.
If you want your child to feel safe and secure at school, you must stay involved in their growth process. Being there after dismissal will demonstrate that you care about how your child feels and that they are not alone in this process. You can also help them learn how to cope with separation anxiety by providing guidance and support throughout this growth process.
5. Get To Know the Caregiver or Teacher
Getting to know the caregiver or teacher in charge of their care can be a great way to help your child feel comfortable and reassured when they are away from you.
This person will be responsible for taking care of your child while you are gone and should, therefore, significantly impact how well your child copes with being away from you. This person must be understanding and supportive of your child’s needs and competent in handling any issues that may arise while they are in the care of someone else.
An issue with how the caregiver or teacher handles a situation can cause more stress for you and your child. Additionally, if they are not effective at managing your child’s anxiety when they get upset during separation time (or if they do anything else that makes things worse!), it can make future separations even harder for everyone involved.
6. Allow Them to Express Their Emotions
When we allow children to show us how they feel, we let them know that it’s okay to have those feelings and that we will listen to them. This can be especially important for kids who have trouble expressing themselves verbally.
We also want our children to know there are no right or wrong ways for them to feel when separated from us. All feelings are valid, even if we don’t agree with them or like what they say!
With this in mind, try not to judge your child’s behavior during separations—it’s just their way of coping with their anxiety at that moment. Instead of criticizing their actions, if you are doing that, think about what you could do differently next time so they don’t have reason to feel anxious.
7. Let Them Have a Good Night’s Sleep
In the long run, sleep is one of the best ways to help your child cope with separation anxiety.
This is because humans are designed to sleep and wake up on a regular schedule. It’s part of our circadian rhythm—our internal clock—and helps us keep track of time and stay in sync with other people. When we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t function as well and can even experience symptoms of depression (or even an anxiety disorder!).
So, when you’re trying to help your child cope with separation anxiety, one of the best things you can do is make sure they get enough sleep each night. And while it might seem like that’s easier said than done, you can take some simple steps to ensure your child gets enough rest.
You can change their bedtime by 30 minutes every few days until they sleep at least 10 hours per night (though 12 hours would be better). You can also consider implementing a bedtime routine: reading together before bed, making sure they brush their teeth, and taking a bath or shower together. Whatever helps them relax and fall asleep peacefully before bedtime will also help them cope with the overwhelming emotions that come with the said anxiety.
It’s important to remember that separation anxiety isn’t going to go away overnight. It can take weeks, months, or years of patience to cope with it. But it will pass eventually. These tips should help you make the transitions a little easier for you and your child.