Three ways to reduce the separation anxiety and increase your adult-child connection.

Do you find you or your child are stressed in the morning during the drop-off routine? Are they crying and upset or are you frustrated or feeling guilty?

It usually ends up being the worst time when you have to face the traffic and a busy day at work. You and your child need a more calming transition to help make the most out of your day.

Separation anxiety is a real fear for kids and there are so many ways that you can tackle this fear, but the easiest way is through connection and routine. In this popular video and past blog you can find some fun ways to build a morning ritual and in this blog I’m going to share with you three things you can do every day to help reduce anxiety.

1. BEFORE Separation

This is the time that is either on the weekend or the night before as you don’t want to restrict it to a short time period and instead of rushing take your time to be together.

  • Model and practice some connection activities such as silly ways to say good-bye or hello when you reunite.

  • Be clear about the timing and try to be consistent on the routine. For example, after breakfast we put on shoes, then we go in the car, then we go to preschool.

  • Remind your child what you will do when you see them again

2. DURING Separation

This is the moment in time when you’re actually separating and when the morning ritual would take place. Whether you have a specific activity or not, doing these three things will help.

  • Give the child the opportunity to express their feeling of connection (or disconnection) with you. Whether this is them showing you with a hug, or words, giving them the opportunity will help them get comfortable in expressing how they feel. Sometimes this may seem more negative or come out in a way where they are upset, but giving them the chance and acknowledging that this is their way to to express themselves is key. Eventually you can work with how to make this expression be more positive.

  • Take time to express your own way of connecting. Whether you share what it is that you are feeling and how you love them with either a word, a gesture or some kind of physical touch such as a hug or kiss.

  • Remind the child what you will do when you see them again.

3. AFTER separation

This can be called the reunite or reunion event.

  • During this time express your connection, and make it something you both enjoy. It can be a twirly hug, a dance, or a squeeze hug. Modify it to be something you both like and you can even give them a choice in your before planning.

  • Reinforce that you had to work and was happily waiting until it was time to come back. They won’t understand that time was the bad guy, but if you label it as “time” it will build in the understanding that it’s not mom’s decision, but rather time was the deciding factor.

To learn more check out this video or go through the Behavior You Love series.

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