Covid 19 has meant missed / inconsistent nursery sessions, no stay and play sessions, hardly any experience of the outside world and adventures with family and friends.
So it’s understandable that when going to nursery or when being left with another responsible adult they are going to be full of anxiety, confusion and frustration.
When starting nursery or after having some time off due to holidays, sickness etc. young children struggle with their emotions because it’s out of their routine so even more so now their emotions are going to be heightened as a lot of our young children have only ever been in the care of their parents/carers and as of recently, immediate family. Most children have never been without their parents until now.
You may drop your child off feeling like the worst parent in the world as they kick and scream your name but you’re actually helping them learn to cope without you, and that’s an important step towards their growing independence. It’s also a sign of how well you have bonded with your child. Don’t be too hard on yourself – separation anxiety is common and it’s normal even more so in these times of covid.
Tips for separation anxiety:
- Practice short sharp bursts when leaving your child. Due to covid children may require more frequent and shorter settling in sessions i.e., leaving them for 10 minutes one day. 15 the next. It may be tedious to begin with and feel like a long process but they need to understand and realise that every time you are coming back. It’s also good as its not allowing them enough time to get overly distressed if you do leave him when they are upset.
- If your child is between the ages of 3-5 they will be familiar with certain places you visit together in your local area i.e. the shop down the road. When leaving your child you can talk to them before and when dropping them off about where you are going and that you will be back soon.
- Talk about what you are going to do when you pick them up so they have something to look forward toe. “when Daddy picks you up we are going to pop to Nanny and Grandad’s house”.
- Leave something comforting with your child. This could be something of theirs i.e. a blanket, a teddy or something of yours; perhaps a scarf, a cardigan, an item that smells like you.
- Speak to your child about all of the fun things they will get up to at Nursery. If your child is obsessed with trains, Peppa pig or sand make sure you tell the setting / person caring for your child. They can ensure this is available for them.