Separation Anxiety: Helping Your Child Adjust To Daycare


Separation Anxiety: Helping Your Child Adjust To Daycare

Enrolling your child in daycare is a great way to ensure your little one is properly cared for while you’re at work. However, the initial transition can be challenging for both you and your child, especially if this is the first instance you’ll be spending a significant amount of time apart.

If you or your child is struggling to adjust, you’re not alone. In fact, separation anxiety affects many young children and their parents when they first start going to daycare. That’s why the team at Creative Critters Learning Center is here to discuss what separation anxiety is, how to prevent it, and ways to help your child — and yourself — cope with this unfamiliar feeling. Continue reading to learn more, and be sure to contact us with any questions you may have.

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What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood development and typically peaks between the ages of eight and 18 months. It occurs when a child struggles to separate from their primary caregiver, usually a parent. Children may display physical symptoms, such as crying, screaming, or tantrums, and may also become clingy or refuse to participate in daycare activities.

Of course, separation anxiety can affect a parent just as much as their child. While the symptoms likely won’t involve screaming or temper tantrums, the feeling of emptiness, longing, and anxiousness can be significant. It’s important to remember that the experience of separation will get easier over time, and your child is in good hands when they’re enrolled in one of our daycare programs in Virginia.


Steps To Prevent Separation Anxiety

Before enrolling your child in daycare, you can take steps to prepare them for the separation. First, visit the daycare with your child and allow them to explore the environment, meet the teachers, and become familiar with the routine. You can also practice separation at home by leaving your child with a trusted caregiver for short periods.

If you’d like to schedule a tour of one of our daycare centers with your little one, simply contact us and we’d be happy to arrange a visit. We have convenient locations in Williamsburg, Westpoint, New Kent, Norge, and Quinton, making it easy to find the best daycare center near you.

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Strategies To Help Your Child Cope

If your child is still experiencing separation anxiety despite your efforts to prepare them for daycare, there are several strategies you can use to help them cope. First, create a consistent and predictable goodbye routine. Say goodbye calmly and confidently, reassuring your child that you will return later in the day. Avoid lingering or making multiple goodbyes, as this can increase anxiety.

Additionally, consider providing your child with a special activity or toy to enjoy during the day. This can help them feel more comfortable and familiar with the daycare environment. You can also provide your child with pictures of yourself and other family members to look at throughout the day.

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Taking Care of Yourself

As a parent, it’s also crucial to take care of yourself during this transition period. Separation anxiety can be difficult for parents as well, and it’s important to acknowledge your own feelings and emotions. Make time for self-care and relaxation, and seek support from friends and family if needed.

Another helpful tactic is to maintain communication with your child's daycare provider. Check in regularly about your child's progress and behavior, and work together to develop strategies for coping with separation anxiety. At Creative Critters Learning Center, we even offer educational resources for parents that cover our policies, procedures, and more, which can help put your mind at ease.

With time, patience, and the proper strategies, you and your child can adjust to the routine of daycare in no time. And remember that Creative Critters Learning Center is here to help you both along the way, so don’t hesitate to contact us for support!

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