Separation Anxiety: How to successfully deal with daycare drop-off apprehension

Aug 13, 2021 11:00 PM ET

Being a parent is often a tough balancing act, between sticking around and stepping away. And, the earlier young kids learn that, sometimes, being alone is necessary, the better it is for them and their parents/guardians too. Ask the professional, dedicated and committed staff at any Rockville daycare center how they feel when parents and kids separate on that first day, and they’ll likely tell you that it’s heart wrenching. How much more heartbreaking it must be for the parents and guardians…but mostly for the children?

Understanding Separation Anxiety   

Regardless of their age, whether they’re 2-years young or 12-years old, children typically establish an unbreakable bold with some adults. In most cases it’s a parent or grandparent. But it can also be a Nanny or other caregiver too. As that bond continues to grow stronger over time, kids expect those adults to always be there for them. Any situation that results in that adult not being there, albeit for even a short span, causes anxiety in the child.

When parents, guardians and caregivers drop kids at a daycare in Rockville MD, this separation anxiety is often in full display. It usually manifests itself in the form of:

– kids refusing to let go of a parent as they prepare to leave after dropping the child off

– children running back into the parents’ arms, repeatedly, unwilling to enter the center 

– toddlers and adolescents crying, moaning, screaming and weeping, as they realize their loved ones are no longer around

Adults must understand that this is a natural phenomenon. However, one less talked-about, but related emotion, is separation anxiety in adults. For parents, who might have spent many months (or years!) inseparable from their children, suddenly letting go is a shock. And here’s another truth: It’s vital that parents and children (though they’re still at a tender age) understand and deal with separation anxiety to get the best of all that your Rockville daycare center has to offer.

Separation Anxiety Coping Strategies    

The earlier that you and your child accept daycare-related separation as a fact of life, the more successfully you’ll deal with it. Here are some strategies to help you create your own coping mechanism:

– Start early: Do a dry run or two before the actual date when sessions begin

– Be the early bird: Kids watching others crying, weeping and screaming, tend to do the same. If you are one of the early ones to arrive at the center, there’ll be less of such behavior 

– Be prepared yourself: Taking control of your own separation anxiety will ensure that anxiousness doesn’t show. When kids see parents apprehensive and unsettled, it can trigger a like response from them too

– Make it a partnership: Let your child know you and they are in this together. Where possible, walk the hallways to the classroom together, and explore the center and its facilities with them

– Avoid being “the ghost”:  Don’t slip away silently when they’re not looking. That can add to their separation anxiety. Wave farewell and make sure they realize you are stepping away 

The most effective strategy for dealing with separation anxiety, however, is for parents and guardians to prepare kids for life at daycare in Rockville MD. Talk to the child, reassure them, soothe their fears. Make them understand that missing you is ok, and that reuniting with you and the family later in the day is so much more joyful as a result.

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