In the lead up to the new intake of kindy kids, separation anxiety is a common concern. Edge Early Learning takes us inside a child’s day, and shares tips on what you can do to help.
A letter from your kindy child…
I know I cry at kindy drop off, and seem really frightened about being separated from you. I’m scared, excited and a hundred other words that I don’t even know yet. I have weird butterflies in my tummy that make me feel strange. But, please don’t be sad!
As soon as you are gone, and Miss Ellie gives me a big hug, I feel safe and ready
I start the day with my friends, we chat to each other whilst making the BIGGEST sandcastle. Mummy, you’d be so proud! Sometimes I get frustrated when the other kids take my spade, but Miss Ellie helps us to work it out together so we can all share.
After morning tea, it’s time for art activities. We explore the garden for things to make collages. We paint pictures and we get messy. Together we stick, we colour, we create. I don’t know where the time goes, because all too quickly it’s lunchtime – yum!
You’ll be amazed at the foods I try at kindy, we have something different every day! There’s curry, tacos, vegetarian pasta, the yummiest wraps. You’d love it, I know how much you like going out to places where other people cook food and bring it to you.
Rest time comes and I’m exhausted. Though I’m not sleeping in my own bed, the kindy bed feels safe and snuggly, and Miss Ellie is always there to give us a pat or a cuddle. They aren’t as good as your sleepy-time hugs, but they still feel nice.
The afternoon goes by in a blur, but they are always fun. Miss Ellie has a different activity every day. We play alphabet and number games. The teachers use the words ‘learning intentions’ and ‘learning outcomes’ when talking to each other. I think that is grown-up speak for having LOTS of fun in lots of different ways.
So, Mummy… I know you only see me crying, and you worry about me all day. But the butterflies go away and I have the BEST day at kindy – learning, making friends, and beginning to find my place in the world. And, my favourite bit? Your great big hug at the end of the day.
Tips for coping with separation anxiety in Kindy kids
- Allow them to feel validated. Even if you find your child’s behaviour frustrating, listen to their concerns.
- Normalise the fear. It won’t necessarily alleviate their anxiety, but it will help them feel more centred and able to expend energy on coping.
- Normalising and validating do not mean encouraging avoidance. Communicate that no matter how scary going to school, kindergarten or day-care can be, separation from you at some point is not optional. Avoidance of feared situations entrenches the fear, whereas acting despite the fear extinguishes it in time.
- Recognise patterns. Look for stress triggers and remember how they have been overcome in the past.
- Role play the new experience (the walk to school; where to meet) so there are less unknowns.
Edge Early Learning welcomes all families with children from six weeks to school age and understands that the first days of school can be daunting. Stay and Plays are available at all Edge centres which are a great way to introduce your child to a new childcare centre.
Edge Early Learning operates centres across Southeast Queensland.