As the fun summer days start to wind down and children get ready to go back to school, saying good-bye during the first days of school can be filled with stress and tears for both you and your child. By helping your child transition into their new schedule or environment you can help ease their worries.
Learning to separate is a lifelong process and an important part of growing up. When you help children learn to manage separations from and reunions with their loved ones, they feel understood and gain self-confidence. A child’s stage of development influences the way he or she reacts to hellos and good-byes. In part because they involve such strong feelings, hellos and good-byes are opportunities for valuable learning that affects all areas of young children’s development.
During separation, children will learn about themselves and others, learn about their world, and learn to communicate as well as establish and sustain positive relationships with their peers, teachers and parents.
Young Infants who come to school before they are 6 months old may not have difficulty separating from a family member.
Mobile Infants typically show more of a preference than young infants to be with family members and special adults. Around the age of 8-12 months children often develop anxiety about being separated from the special adults with whom they have bonded. While helping a child through difficult separations may be challenging for both you and the child, remember that the difficulty is a sign that the child has a secure, healthy attachment with their parents.
Toddlers and twos may cheerfully wave good-bye to their families on some days. On other days, they may cling so tightly to their parents that you have to pull them off gently so that their parents can leave. If you have established a nurturing relationship with children and if they have a consistent routine, then, even on the most challenging days, children will know that they can trust you to ease them through difficult times.