Due to countless restrictions and several lockdowns, we’ve spent more time at home over the past 18 months than ever before! Now, with September on the horizon, more and more parents are anxious about sending their children off to school. To help address this, we’ve created 5 tips to support parents dealing with separation anxiety as we all transition into post-lockdown life.
Here are 5 tips for parents dealing with separation anxiety:
Discuss your fears
When it comes to soothing our children, we all know the importance of listening to their concerns and validating their feelings. But when it comes to us adults, many of us try and deal with our fears and anxieties alone. Instead of suffering alone find someone to confide in – a friend, a partner or even another parent. By simply having someone to talk to, you’re able to work through your fears (no matter how small or irrational) and let go of any worries that are perhaps more harmful than helpful.
Familiarise yourself with their teacher
Introducing your child to their teacher before they begin school or nursery, is a great way to ease some of their nerves. However, this introduction can also be incredibly beneficial for us adults – especially for those parents dealing with separation anxiety. By meeting your child’s teacher, you’re able to share your concerns with them and work together to find the best solutions for your child. Whatever your worries may be, having this support and reassurance can really help ease your anxiety.
Maybe you’re worried that your child won’t enjoy nursery? Or perhaps you’re concerned they might hurt themselves when you’re not there? Whatever it is that’s making you anxious, it’s important to remember there’s nothing you can do to change the past or alter the future. Instead, try and focus on the present and take things one step at a time. This will help you feel more in control and can help stop you from worrying about something that may never happen.
Make plans for when they’re away
Most parents dealing with separation anxiety feel lost without their children – almost like a piece of them is missing. To avoid this feeling, try your best to keep yourself busy and start making plans for when your children are away. This can be anything from visiting your friends and family to fitting in those chores you haven’t gotten around to. However you decide to fill your time, take the opportunity to do things you enjoy – you’ll be surprised at how quickly the time goes.
Remember the feeling is temporary
Suffering from separation anxiety is difficult, so it’s important to remember that these feelings are temporary. Although it seems overwhelming to begin with, over time you will adjust and get used to this new normal. In the meantime, be patient with yourself and try to find comfort in the knowledge that your child is learning new skills and having fun with their friends. While it will take some time to get used to being apart, remember every day they go off to school, they’re benefiting from your bravery.
If there is just one thing you should take away from this article, it is that you are not alone – there are plenty of parents dealing with separation anxiety. Revisit these 5 tips as often as you need to and remember, adjusting takes time, so be kind to yourself.