Separation anxiety is another social-emotional phase that most children in the 3-6 age group experience. Parents worry when the child starts crying for no reason when he goes to kindergarten. And so they question him and try to find out what problem he has in the garden. For this, they also hope for the help of the educator, because it is a problem that needs to be solved.
Meanwhile, the more they ask the child, the more reason he gives: “I want to play with the red car, but they never give it to me. My friend doesn’t like the drawings I draw. I don’t want to color today…. These are just a few examples of the reasons a child can give to a parent, when the latter insists on knowing why he cries as soon as he goes to the kindergarten door. In fact, the child does not manage to express well the real fear he feels: “What if my parents never come back?”
Parents and educators have their irreplaceable role to make children feel safe in a new environment such as kindergarten. It is natural that this stage of starting kindergarten and separation from their normal situation will cause anxiety for children.
Therefore, we, as teachers, must assure the parent and the child that the kindergarten is a safe place, a pleasant and suitable environment, which will help the child to develop all the activities he likes the most. Rather than discussing the issue of separation anxiety with the parents in front of the child, it would be better to talk to the parents when the child is not present and make it clear that it would be better if the parents don’t stay longer than necessary in the group, when the child acts in this way. In contrast, the child will benefit from the freedom of action that is given to him.
Below are some suggestions that you can print out and give to parents before the school year starts so they can keep them in mind when sharing with their children.
Suggestions for parents on sharing with children during this period
In order for the child to be separated from you easily, when you bring him to the kindergarten, please consider the following suggestions:
1. Be enthusiastic
If you as a parent are enthusiastic, then the child will benefit from your enthusiasm and confidence. Repeat sentences like: “I’m so glad you’re old enough to go to kindergarten on your own. It will be very nice when we put your drawing on the fridge…” Thus, the child will be impressed that it will be very good when he goes to kindergarten.
2. Create familiarity
Before the school year begins, go to the kindergarten together and visit the group where the child will be. Try to find other children who will be in the same group as your child and create the opportunity for the child to meet them before kindergarten starts.
3. Create a certain regime
Set a specific time for bedtime, wake-up and breakfast. Let the child help choose clothes to wear to kindergarten. Meanwhile, when you get to the garden, say “goodbye” at the door and let him continue to the group on his own.
4. Let him help make decisions
The child should help make decisions. For example, for the daily ritual of saying goodbye. How will we say “goodbye” when we are at the garden door? With two hugs or a handshake? Likewise, plan how you will greet him at the end of the day when you return to pick him up. This reminds and reassures the child that you will come back to pick them up.
5. Say “goodbye” with a smile
Say “goodbye” to the child, smiling constantly. Do not prolong the time to leave him and, after leaving, do not return again.