11 ways on how this mom dealt with separation anxiety
Created by Krishnakali Basu Updated on May 04, 2022
The first home a baby knows is his mother’s womb. From thereon, the second home for her is the family house—where her parents stay and where she receives all the love, warmth, and security. Soon the child starts identifying this house as his or her territory. This is the territory which is full of people who take care of her, the place where the learning starts, and the place from where the baby is introduced to the outside world. This is also where all the primary bonds are formed. He discovers the unconditional love of parents, the gentle pampering of grandparents, and the sometimes-hot-sometimes-cold love of siblings. So, when the time comes when he has to step out of his comfort zone to go to a new environment, it is but obvious for the child to start feeling a bit uncomfortable—and the first exposure the child has to a home away from home, is a playschool or pre-school.
In today’s systems, children enter schools at quite a tender age—sometimes as soon as a year old. They are still impressionable and fragile and their mom is their world. Getting separated from their house, parents, and the mother is very hard on some of the little ones. A feeling of fear and anxiety is natural. And this anxiety—referred to as separation anxiety—manifests itself as tears, and sometimes loud wailing. This can be a very difficult and tedious situation for a parent to deal with.
During my son's preschool, he cried for two years continuously and not for a single day did he stop. I was at my wits end what to do. There was never a day when he didn't throw a tantrum and as a mom, I used to get extremely irritated and hassled. When the crying went on for too long, I started experimenting with ideas to get him to stop. I tried lying, making up stories, fibbing about taking him to mall and instead whisked him to school, but nothing worked out.
Then, finally one day I decided to sit and talk to him. And this was the start of the new beginning. Here are some ways which helped me deal with my son’s separation anxiety:
1. I told him that we have to go to the school just as we go the bathroom. Education is a must for every child. I spoke about it every day and somewhere gradually, he started to understand me.
2. I got him books that had stories about schools, fun at school, first day at school etc. This reduced the feeling of alienation in him. There is a huge collection of such picture books available in the market for you to pick up.
3. I ensured that he started to recognise school as a regular part of everyone’s life. I got his grandparents to talk about their schools and what fun they had at school, how many friends they made and all-in-all what a beautiful time they had when they were at school—away from home!
4. I took him to my school during holidays and got him to meet my old teachers.
5. I also spoke to him about the different schools in the world and showed him pictures of some lovely schools.
6. I got him to bond with his teachers. I took his teachers into confidence and briefed them about my son’s nature and behaviour.
7. I ensured that my son learnt to let go off me all the time, even at home, and became less clingy. Too much attachment and a habit to be with the parents always, also triggers anxiety separation.
8. After school, I suggest parents to talk to the child and ask for an account of the day in school. Sometimes children are not willing to talk about school, so parents can use indirect ways to ask about the same. For eg: Show him some age-appropriate books and then ask, ‘Oh! Is this game played in your school too?
9. I remember an episode in my child’s school where a boy in kindergarten would howl every morning and the mom had to just bundle him off to the teacher and leave. He would cry his lungs off. His teacher would then say, “Let’s go look for mommy”, hold his hand and pretend to look for the mother. This was something that was repeated daily till he got the message. But patience has to be maintained. Patience and perseverance are the key words here.
10. Time too plays a major role here just like in the other phases of life. It also helps the child get adjusted.
11. Also, parents can carpool with another child who goes to the same school. This will build confidence and assurance in the child.
| May 22, 2016
Hi. I am too facing with the same problem ever since my 2yrs 10 months daughter has started to go to school. She is in playway but doesn't want to go to school at all,every morning she cries on top of her lungs, throws tantrums, also have started giving back answers to everyone, always says no to everything asked, at times starts hitting us too, her class teacher is facing same problem with her. She doesn't want anyone around her accept me all the time. Not willing to play with other children in her class or in the near by garden where we take her..... please help how to tackle her in this situation
| Jul 26, 2016
wow ... i loved ur article... my child is jus 17mths old now... but these tricks would help in future... but i want to add 1 more thing... i have a small cousin who is in 1st std now... her parents were worried abt hr when even she used to cry and make reasons for not going to school when she was in play-group. then i and my sis use to go to leave her to school every day before our office and there we made few friends for her and showed her what lovely games she have in her pre-school. after some days .. she herself started getting exicted for school to meet hr frndZ and play games.
| Sep 07, 2016
it's very much useful article but very difficult to handle the kids in that situation. my baby is also 2 years old Nd she never leaves me Nd my hubby .. it became a big tension for me Nd I try very much to spend sometime in my near by cousins home by leaving her alone.. she stays there without crying if am there beside her but cries a lot if am away from her.. planning to join her in play school.. I should see how it works out
| Jul 06, 2017
HI lovely article.. motivation for parents( 2. 8yr son) like me, who s bugged within a week of his school journey werein everyday he cries and comes home and gets depressed if anyone speaks on the topic.. frankly speaking tried out with all your points but nothing is working my way.. only thing is i should be patient enough.. i think thats the only way remaining..