Discovery Point Blog

December 8, 2015

Five Strategies for Combating Separation Anxiety for Toddlers Transitioning to Daycare

The first few days of daycare can be both exciting and emotionally draining for parents and children alike. Separation anxiety can make the adjustment process even more stressful for all parties involved. At Discovery Point, our dedicated teaching professionals do everything possible to engage your child and to lessen the degree of stress and anxiety experienced by our youngest students. Here are five strategies you can use as a parent to reduce separation anxiety during the critical first days of daycare attendance.

Practice Makes Perfect

In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, leaving your child in the care of a trusted babysitter or family member for short periods of time can allow your child to adjust gradually to separation. By coming back on time and providing plenty of affection upon your return, you can reinforce the idea that spending time apart is natural and expected. As your toddler becomes more confident that you will return in a predictable time frame, you can increase the length of these visits in preparation for the first day of child care.

Bring a Little Bit of Home to School

A treasured blanket or favorite stuffed animal can be a valuable companion for your child in navigating new environments. By allowing your child to take along these cherished toys, you can increase his or her sense of security when you are away. It is usually a good idea to touch base with your child’s teacher to ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength regarding these small toys and security blanket items.

Make Proper Introductions

Taking your child to meet his or her teachers and to take a tour of the child care facility before the first day of full-time attendance can ensure the greatest degree of confidence on the big day. If your toddler knows what to expect in advance, the likelihood of a dramatic episode of separation anxiety decreases significantly. In addition, the chance to interact with his or her teacher can allow your child to build a rapport even before the first day of classes.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

Some parents may believe that sneaking away while their child is distracted can help to prevent separation anxiety. In fact, the reverse is true. Children who already fear abandonment can panic if a parent suddenly disappears and leaves them alone in a new environment. Rather than beating a hasty retreat, taking the time to explain to your child that you are leaving can help speed the adjustment process. Be sure to emphasize that you will return; if possible, giving your child a specific time at which you expect to pick them up can offer some degree of comfort. Even if your toddler cries as you leave, your honesty will help build the foundation for trust in the future.

Work with Your Child’s Teacher

Staying in close contact with your child’s primary teacher can often provide valuable insights into your child’s progress in overcoming separation anxiety and adjusting to the child care environment. By comparing notes and exchanging information, teachers and parents can join forces to ensure the most successful transition for first-time preschool students.

At Discovery Point, we provide a warm and caring environment for young children. Our dedicated teachers have years of experience in helping children overcome separation anxiety and engage with the learning opportunities in the childcare and preschool environment. By entrusting your little ones to our care, you can enjoy greater peace of mind as your child adjusts to his or her first days in daycare.