Helping Children Adjust to New Settings and Coping with Separation Anxiety
For the last few weeks some of our children have been experiencing new classrooms or are new to our center. Some tears due to uncertainty, new expectations, and missing parents and previous educators is a natural and healthy part of your child’s development! Separation anxiety can present as tantrums, clinging, or even just becoming quiet and withdrawn when dropped off. As caregivers and parents, there are a few things we can do to help:
Plan a visit to their new setting, showing the child you are comfortable with the new faces and routines.
Have a short and positive good-bye ritual. (Please never sneak away!)
Relate your return time to their schedule. (I’ll see you after nap, snack, and gross motor time.)
Acknowledge your child’s feelings while encouraging appropriate behaviors.
Keep a regular schedule at home and with your drop-offs at school.
Discuss the use of a transitional object (small teddy to keep in their cubby for the first couple weeks) with your child’s teacher.
Make pick-up a reunion! Sometimes work needs to wait – a precious little person has looked forward to your face all day!
Books to Help Children with Separation Anxiety
Appelt, Kathi, illustrated by Jane Dyer. Oh My Baby, Little One. Orlando: Harcourt, 2005.
Edwards, Becky, illustrated by Anthony Flintoft. My First Day at Nursery School. New York: Bloomsbury
Penn, Audrey. The Kissing Hand. Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood, 2006.
Rusackas, Francesca, illustrated by Priscilla Burris. I Love You All Day Long. New York: HarperCollins,
Tompert, Ann, illustrated by Robin Kramer. Will You Come Back for Me? Boston, MA: National Braille,
Viorst, Judith, illustrated by Kay Chorao. The Good-Bye Book. New York: Aladdin, 1992.
Zalben, Jane Breskin. Don’t Go! New York: Clarion, 2001.