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How to Help a Child With Separation Anxiety

Childcare can be a significant experience for a child as they explore a world of new information and people. It’s exciting and enriching, but can also be the first time a child has been away from their parent or primary caregivers for an extended time. It’s completely natural that your child might feel some separation anxiety at drop-off time, and that you might look for techniques for dealing with child separation anxiety.

What is separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety describes the fear or anxiety a child might feel when being separated from their parents or carers, and it’s a normal part of development from around seven to eight months of age. A little one might cling to their caregiver, cry or show signs of reluctance. Luckily, there are a number of ways we can help a child settle and know they’re in a safe place.

What is separation anxiety?

What are ways of supporting a child with separation anxiety at child care?

We take thoughtful steps at our childcare centres in Victoria and NSW, to help children love and look forward to their time at childcare. Our early childhood learning environment incorporates a wide range of exciting and engaging activities designed to keep children busy. This begins from the very first tour and interaction with Aurrum Kids.

Building excitement and positivity

Booking a tour of your local centre is a great way to explore the quality of our care, food and learning environments – but it’s also a great place to begin preparing your child for childcare. The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable your child will be. It can also help to start talking about childcare early on and the positive things that the child will experience there, like making new friends. 

The importance of orientation

We intentionally have a very comprehensive orientation process for children and families, which includes a one-hour orientation. During this orientation you’ll get to know the educators in your child’s room and we’ll take time to understand your child’s individual routines and needs. From here, we introduce a number of half days to ease children into familiarity with educators and their learning environment. As they form friendships and a sense of belonging, separation anxiety can ease.

Keeping up to date

We know it’s also important to stay up-to-date on how your child is feeling and learning. Throughout orientation and beyond, we use the Kinder m8 platform to keep your family updated on what your child has been experiencing at childcare. By discussing their experiences within the family, a child can build confidence and positivity around childcare.

Key tips for helping a child with separation anxiety

  • Practice being apart
    Short stays with friends, grandparents or family members can help a child build up confidence away from their primary caregivers.
  • Create a consistent goodbye ritual
    This could be a hug and a kiss, the packing of a beloved toy or a special fist bump that helps a little one move from ‘home mode’ to ‘social mode’.
  • Plan for naps or snacks before a goodbye

Separations can be trickier when a child is hungry, tired or unwell, so naps and snacks can be a great tool for easing that transition.

  • Equip your child with information
    Knowing what to expect can be helpful. You might tell your child when a childcare day is coming up, and in the morning tell them when you’ll see them again.
  • Leave without fanfare
    Carry out your goodbye ritual and then say goodbye without hesitating. This helps a child to accept the situation and become involved in the day’s activities.
  • Make the unfamiliar familiar

Aim to establish a familiar routine so your little one can build up trust and know what to expect on childcare mornings.

Tips for easing separation anxiety

We’d love to welcome your family at our childcare centres in Ballarat or Mornington.  The Early Years Learning Framework encourages children to gain confidence by engaging their natural love of learning, no matter what developmental stage they are in. Contact our team today to arrange a tour and enrol.

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