Separation Anxiety — For Mom and Child
Whether we welcome it or not, the reality is that moms cannot be with their children twenty-four hours a day. The time comes to drop them off at MOPPETS, or in the church nursery, or at preschool or daycare. Separation can be difficult for both mom and child, but it is an important part of the growing up process.
If you or your child is exhibiting anxiety or having trouble settling into a new routine, try these suggestions to ease the transition:
- Visit his classroom together to meet his teacher and see where he will be staying.
- Plan to arrive at your child’s classroom a few minutes early, so that you’re not rushing when you say goodbye.
- When you drop your child off, don’t linger. Give her a quick hug and kiss, reassure her that you will be back, and leave. Ask the classroom teacher or assistant to give her extra attention and distraction for those first few minutes after you leave.
- If your child is a baby, play peek-a-boo or similar games to reassure him that whenever Mom “disappears,” she always comes back.
- Give your child verbal praise when she exhibits courage or takes those first few steps toward independence (even if your heart is breaking at your “baby” growing up.)
- Leave a lipstick kiss on the top of your child’s hand that she will be able to look at while she’s away from you.
- Don’t fuel an older preschooler’s fears by telling him that you’re scared or uneasy about the separation, even if you are.
- Stay occupied after you drop off your child — get together with a girlfriend on the first day of school, chat with your MOPS Discussion Group or call your mother. Keeping yourself occupied will help pass the time, and the support will do your heart good.
- Take older preschoolers out for a treat after the first day in a new classroom to debrief and celebrate.
- If you find yourself struggling with letting go, journal through your thoughts — you may be able to better sort through your thoughts, and it will be a wonderful memoir of those special milestones in your child’s — and your — life.