Separation Anxiety – How to overcome it

It is the first day of school. Many young children are attending school for the very first time. To some of these children, it may be the first time they are separated from their parents. They may experience fear or anxiety when being parted from their parents or carers.

I was a teacher before giving up my job to be a stay at home mom. Let me share with you my fair share of experience on handling separation anxiety.

What to expect?

As we walk our kid(s) to the school gate, we can expect either the following:
1) Our kid happily letting go of our hand to follow his/her teacher into the class
2) Screaming and crying child not willing to let go

What happens next?

If your kid happily lets go and follow the teacher, your job of sending your kid to school is done.

However, if your child scream and cry and not willing to go into class, parents may get anxious. This may be the child’s way to communicate to let us know he/she is not prepared for separation.

How to overcome separation anxiety?

Prepare our child before it happens.

1) Plan to arrive at school 15 minutes earlier so we do not need to rush the child into class.

2) Create positive moments during the journey to class. Talk to your child about school telling him/her what to anticipate in class. Share with your child fun facts about school.

3) Speak positively of the teachers to your child so your child will be eager to know his/her teachers better.

4) Countdown with your child to instill in him/her that going to school is a much anticipated event. During the journey to school, start the countdown by happily saying, “We’ll be arriving in 10 minutes” “We’ll be there in 5 minutes” “We are here. Yeay!” and give him/her a high five for successfully arriving at school on time. This gives the child a sense of an accomplishment hence reducing any anxiety there after.

5) With a smile on our face, inform the child that we’ll pick him/her again at (insert time). For example, with a calm and cheerful expression, tell our child that we’ll be back to pick him/her at 12 noon. Teach our child to look at the clock and tell him/her that when both the short and long hands are at the number 12, it is time to go home and mummy/daddy will be at the gate waiting for him/her.

6) Keep to your words. Do not be late. It is scary for young children to see their peers being picked up by their parents when his/her parents is no where in sight. Be early. We need to instill the confidence in our child that he/she is not left behind.

7) Create a positive and loving routine when sending and picking up our child. Hug our child before leaving them in school. Hug them again upon picking them up.

Parent’s role is important

Most of the time, our children mirror us. They can sense if we are anxious and this will automatically send a signal to their brain that school is not a safe place for them because mummy/daddy feels afraid to leave them there. Therefore it is very important for parents to stay calm and not rush when sending your child to school.

School is a fun place to be. Smile and create a positive experience with your child.


Our little Ayden will be going to kindy for the very first time too and we hope he’ll have a great time there. 

Good luck to all parents with children going to school for the very first time. Let’s get through this together. 

About the Author: Merryn Tan

4 Comments + Add Comment

  • //

    All the best to Ayden. Bet he would get used to it.

    Usually the kids are fine. The mummy would be the one more emotional. I shed some tears.

  • //

    Oh? He’s going to be every teacher’s favourite, I’m sure…and I am also very sure it is the mum who will be facing this anxiety problem – the empty nest syndrome. LOL!!!

  • //

    I am sure he will do just fine. After all he has seen his big brother going to school, so most probably he will know this is as expected of him. :)

  • //

    I don’t think Ayden will have separation anxiety and I hope I am not wrong.

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MeHome is where MY heart is.
I am a mother to two boys; Ethan and Ayden and a wife to Darling William. I'm a stay at home mum who blogs to break the monotony of life and to avoid feeling jaded. Would love to get to know all the Super Mommies and Daddies and Babies or Singles out there with the hope that we can learn more from each other. Most of all, I am a happy person, and I hope YOU are too.

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