For a kid, his/her most familiar shelter is with parents. Home is the secure and comfort zone for all kids. They can fulfil all their primary needs of their home place. Socialization is one of the important activities for every kid, and it begins from the second home i.e. the school.
The school is one institution where one can, not only get an education, but can also learn values, it’s a place to socialize with unknown people. It’s also a place to get to know cultural values.
Nowadays, people drop their child at an early age, in today’s scenario most of mothers are working and staying in a nuclear family. So kid drops in school at an early age. Due to upbringing into a nuclear family, the child cannot get much exposure to mix up with many. So the child only knows his/her parents, mostly few relatives.
When the time comes for going alone to school, he/she must feel afraid or less confident amongst unfamiliar places or people. Sometimes, it occurs excessively among children in recent days. They are even afraid of becoming separated from his/her family. A child expresses his/her fear of separation by a cry. Separation anxiety can begin before the child’s first birthday, and it may occur suddenly at the age of 4yrs.
The intensity and timing of this separation anxiety vary from child to child. It’s quite normal to get afraid when parents say goodbye to a kid, but it’s becoming difficult for one who cannot stop being anxious after parents’ best firm and consistent effort.
Though it is quite difficult for parents to handle sportingly with a child’s tears, still separation anxiety has some positive aspects. It indicates a healthy attachment bond with the caregiver. It can be handled by parents delicately as parents can make the child understand that they will return on time.
When you should worry about separation anxiety?
When you see your child’s anxiety becoming extreme, beyond control, the child is gradually facing different physical problems for the anxiety, then it’s the time to think over it.
An excessive degree of separation anxiety is not normal for healthy development. It’s an emotional problem characterized by extreme distress for the fear of being separated from caregivers.
The child gets afraid to go to school or mix up with peers. When a child refuses to go to sleep for the nightmare of separating and when the child has an unrealistic fear of separating from the close ones, then the parents should be alert.
Sometimes these kids are thinking of being kidnapped from parents. Anxiety builds up from unknown things. For the child the school will be the first day experience, he/she doesn’t know anything about the school, what will happen there, who will be there, why mamma, papa will not be there etc.
What should parents do in this situation?
- Every time, for everything, practice makes things perfect. When your child goes to school and it’s new to him/her, it’s better to do previous practice like to keep your child alone with his/her grandparents for some time, and gradually make it for a whole day.
- Try to make your child understand what he/she will face after going to school what will be the best or the worst part of school.
- Role modelling is very much useful for every kid, parent should be pretended as a child and the child will be a mother and play each other’s role thinking of the first day in school.
- Make a star chart, the day he/she will give up crying, he/she will get a star mark for that as a positive point, for every 5 consecutive star marks, the child will get a reward.
- Teach your child ‘good bye’ ritual, it will be helpful for the child to understand the concept of going and coming back.
- Make new environment familiar, the parent must keep the surroundings familiar when possible and make the child accustomed to the new one.
- Tell your child interesting and fantastic story about school, don’t tell the child negative scary things about school, reassure the child that it is going to be beautiful on the very first day.