How To Manage Separation Anxiety In Your Preschooler

A child clinging to an adult’s leg

Let’s be honest; many of us have toddlers who are joined at the hip and throw tantrums even while we leave them alone briefly. But sooner or later, they’ll be headed to preschool—without us.

Separation anxiety in preschoolers isn’t unheard of, and the sooner you start tackling it, the easier it’ll be.

Here’s what we suggest.

Start With Brief Separations and School Tours

Most toddlers are very used to being around a parent round the clock before they start preschool. So, as their first day at preschool draws closer, start introducing them to the idea of not having you around constantly.

Try periods of brief separations; you could do this by just leaving them in a room on their own or by leaving them with a sitter or another family member while you run out for some chores. This will help you gauge the level of anxiety due to separation from you and get them used to the idea of not being around you.

Also, most preschools offer tours; make sure to take your toddler along to visit the preschool you’ve chosen. This will help create a sense of familiarity for your toddler.   

Let Them Carry a Familiar Comfort Item to School

Speaking of familiarity, it can be a good idea to let your child take a familiar object with them to preschool. This could be a toy, a cushion, or even a blanket that comforts them and reminds them of home.

Whatever they carry will serve as a transitional object for them ensuring a smooth transition from home to a preschool environment. If there isn’t an object they’re particularly attached to, you can leave notes in their lunch box, reminding them that you love and miss them while they’re at school!

A person carrying a crying child

Have A Quick but Positive Goodbye Ritual in Place

Another thing that could really help ease your child’s separation anxiety is a familiar goodbye ritual.

Whether it’s a special hug or a secret handshake, make sure it’s quick and positive. The longer you linger, the more your child will think about you eventually leaving. So, make sure to say goodbye quickly and let them know that you’ll be back to get them,

Also, never try to sneak out while they’re distracted, and always pick them up at the same time that you promise; this will help build their trust.

So, is your little preschooler all ready?

Bring them over for a little tour at Ivy League Learning Center. We’re a childhood education center in Overland Park KS, and we have some excellent preschool programs you can check out; contact us for more information.