Tips for Dealing With Separation Anxiety
As an early childcare educator (ECE) separation anxiety is a common hurdle you will face. And it is important you have the skills necessary to respond to this issue before it gets out of hand.
Because if not you will need to be ready for lots of tantrums and tears. Two things all ECEs would like to lessen.
Being prepared is important to reduce the child’s anxiety. When you have the tools and tricks to deal with separation anxiety you will also help relieve the parents’ worry.
Don’t forget the parents and caregivers might be struggling with separation anxiety as well. So, if you can offer them tips and tricks they will be thankful.
With that being said, here are three things you should know about childhood separation anxiety: separation anxiety is normal, it is important to move gradually and try to provide continuity between home and the classroom.
Now let’s dig a little deeper on those points.
Anxiety Is Normal
Separation anxiety is normal. Yes, this is correct.
Separation anxiety is a normal process in childhood development and should even be expected. So don’t let it catch you off guard.
When children come to your classroom they are entering a new environment with loads of new stimuli to cope with. It is understandable they want to cling to their caregivers or be nervous.
With these facts in mind, you can be prepared for the outbursts, crying, and fear that comes with this entirely normal process of childhood development.
Be sure to give the child your full attention when the separation is occurring, this will give the kid a feeling of safety, and provide you many clues about the child’s temperament that day. Also, be sure to be consistent in how separations are handled. This practice will ensure the child learns how to cope without trauma in an effective manner.
And one of the best ways to lessen the impact of childhood separation anxiety is to encourage independence gradually.
Encourage Independence Gradually
When dealing with separation it is important to try to encourage independence gradually. It takes many children time to make a successful adjustment. So do not expect any overnight fixes.
Often children make this adjustment more successfully if they have the necessary encouragement and support from those around them. And as a childcare provider, it is your duty to provide this encouragement and support in a positive and caring way.
Remember, separations are often most challenging when the child is hungry, tired, or sick. So be on the lookout for these symptoms and see if you can improve these conditions to ensure good coping for the child. A great tool to provide the child with proper coping mechanisms is to provide continuity from their home life to their school life.
Reminders of Home
One effective strategy for easing separation anxiety is to encourage independence, while still including reminders of home.
For example, a good practice is having pictures of student’s families hanging in your classroom. These images will lessen their stress, and provide stability in a new environment, while also giving them something to look at they can be happy about.
Try to get everyone in your classroom to participate, so no one feels left out. You can also ask the caregivers to practice separation while at home to make the transitions easier. This will make the transitions easier, and the parents will likely appreciate their increased home independence.
When dealing with separation anxiety it is important to remember these three things.
One, separation anxiety is normal.
Two, be gradual in your approach to encouraging independence.
And three, offer reminders of home to make the transition easier.
These are some of the most valuable tips you can use as an early childcare educator to provide a safe, stable, and stress-free learning environment for the children in your care. If you still want more information on coping with separation anxiety, check out ProSolutions Training’s course on the topic.
About the course:
It is a familiar situation - the new child in your care is crying and clinging to mom's leg begging her not toleave. The child and parent are both clearly stressed and upset, and you feel anxiety too. What should you do?
This course provides you with a foundation of the science behind separation anxiety (it's actually a part of typical development!) In addition, you will learn how to best help parents and children cope with separation anxiety.
Course Learning Objectives:
After participating in this course, you will be able to:
Identify the signs and causes of separation anxiety in infants through preschoolers.
List ways parents can help their child with separation anxiety.
Describe a variety of methods caregivers can use to help children cope with separation anxiety.
Click Here to get started today!