Helping your child overcome separation anxiety
In order for your child to settle in happily in our school environment, we would suggest that your child be fetched early for the first week or so. We will be monitoring your child closely and will be giving you feedback on your child’s settling in progress.
We will gradually increase these hours until your child is ready to stay at school for the full day.
Please trust our teachers. We have helped many children cope with this transition, and they know how to make them feel at ease in their new environment.Have discussions about your child’s school before he/or she begins.
Visit the school with your child.
After the orientation morning at school, talk about what your child did and what fun things he/she can look forward to.
Help your child choose their clothes the night before to reduce stress and talk through the routine for the following day.
Make sure you arrive before the work period begins (8:40am) so that your child may be able to place his/her bag in his locker, greet his teacher, choose an activity or play outside.
You may settle your child with an activity, but please do not stay for an extended time as this causes your child to get anxious. A firm goodbye is important and let your child know when you will be fetching him/her. E.g. “I will be fetching you after snack time”
Don’t carry your child up the path or into the school. Walking in is a confidence booster. Being carried communicates to the child that protection is needed.
Be patient and positive. It will take a few weeks for your child to settle into the routine of school, get to know his teacher and make new friends. Please also remember that until your child has settled in, Mondays can be a ‘wobbly day’ for your child because of the weekend break.
Please feel free to phone us during the morning to see how your child is doing.
We are here to assist your child in any way we can.The most important factor in helping your child feel confident about going to school is consistency.Order helps your child to know that today is going to be just like yesterday, and the morning routine is crucial to communicating this to your child. No matter how verbal the child, beginning each day in the same way at the same time communicates much more to them about your routine than any words you can say. In reverse, if each day begins differently, it is easy for the child to think that maybe the day will end differently, as well, and maybe Mom will not come back this time. Please be consistent. The more you’re tempted towards giving in to a lapse in routine, the more you need to maintain order. If you choose to break the routine even once, it will take as many as 50 more repetitions of the routine before your child gains back the confidence lost.
What can you do at home?
Let your child have real things. Take time to show him/her how to handle objects with care. This builds self-esteem and independence as well as concentration, coordination and responsibility. Dr Montessori stated “Any unnecessary aid is a hindrance to learning”.
When you teach your child new skills, break it down into small, precise steps. “Clean your room” is overwhelming; show the child how to organise a specific shelf, item or area.
Respect the child’s slower sense of time and allow the child time to do a task without hurrying. Give your child choices: If your child refuses to co-operate, pull out the creative choices. If they need to put their shoes on, and this is not a choice, make it into one:”Do you want to put on this shoe or that shoe?” If your child is being picky and it seems if he will not eat say “Do you want to eat breakfast now, or wait for snack at school?” or “would you like weetbix or scrambled eggs?” Again be firm with your choices, letting your child know that these are the only choices available. He/she may choose not to choose at all, in which case you may choose for them. “Do you want to choose your own breakfast or would you like me to choose for you?” In most cases, they enjoy choosing for themselves and will prefer this to your choice.
Resist always helping your child. Any unnecessary help interferes with learning. Children should be allowed to help themselves as much as possible, including dressing and undressing themselves, putting away their own things etc. A child is far more capable than one may realise and this builds self-esteem and independence. Dr Montessori stated, “Any unnecessary aid is a hindrance to learning.”
Spills, mistakes and frustration are opportunities for learning. Let the child handle its own problems as much as possible. E.g. give your child a cloth to clean his own spills. ( Always step in, however, if someone may be hurt)
The child needs to repeat activities often even after it appears to be mastered. Also remember improvement comes with practice.
Remind your child to clean up or put away immediately following an activity. It is important that your child learns to finish on thing before moving on.
Make discipline interesting. See how quietly you can close the door.Rather than Don’t slam the door! Positive language is important.
Use precise language when speaking to the child. Concise speech and new vocabulary assist the child in expressing himself/her and the power of clear communication.
Don’t try to improve any activity your child has done while she/he is watching. Next time show the child first.
Don’t interrupt your child while he/she is concentrating.
When the child plays on the floor, supply the child with a rug or towel for activity to be placed on. This shows ownership of space and is more manageable to clean up.
Encourage hand washing after using the bathroom, wiping nose and before eating.
Remind your child to clean up or put away immediately following an activity. It is important to finish one thing before moving on.
Be consistent with requests and expectations.
Read to your child every day.