There is no wrong or right way for a child to deal with being away from mom and dad for the first time or changing childcare facilities. Children handle separation anxiety in different ways. The better you know your child's separation style, the more you can help your child through the weeks of adjusting to preschool (usually approximately six weeks).
We do our best to comfort them by giving hugs, reassuring your child you will return, holding teachers hand. By the third week your child will feel more secure with us and have learned we will keep them safe, feed them, tend to their needs, and separation anxiety should begin decreasing. Like adults, they do not have the words to express their anxiety so we help them the best we can to learn to describe their feelings with words.
The different styles of separating are:
What your child is feeling - I'm sad to leave my mom and dad and be alone in a strange place.
Your response - Try not to look worried. Children pick up on that. Remind your child how much fun school will be and that you'll be back to get him/her a little later. You can also reassure your child that the teacher is there to help and make your child feel better. Your child will stop crying after you leave.
What your child is feelling - Not gonna cry, not gonna cry, not gonna cry. Not even gonna say goodbye because that'll make me cry. Just gonna get right to play.
Your response - Don't panic if your child doesn't say goodbye. Your child is just trying to hold it together. Say goodbye, but don't pressure to get a response. And don't talk about how you'll miss your child or how sad you'll be without your child - it'll make your child feel sad. There's a chance your child will completely loose it when he/she sees you at the end of the day because your child has been olding the feelings in. Make sure you spend some relaxing, calm bonding time together after school.
THE DELAYED REACTOR:
What your child is feeling - I'm cool with school. Then, a few days or a few weeks later ....Wait... Where's mommy? I'm missing my parents.
Your response - Talk to your child about the things that he/she enjoyed so much at the beginning. Also try to develop a quick goodbye ritual, like a reasonable number of goodbye hugs and kisses, handshake or wink, that you can do as you leave. It's not that your child suddenly decided he/she doesn't like school. Your child was just so caught up in all the new experiences that he/she didn't realize they had been away from mom and dad. The newness is over. Your child will bounce right back as time goes on as you continue to stay consistent with your monring drop off routine.
THE SILENT OBSERVER:
What your child is feeling - Let me check out what's going on around here before I jump in and start playing with other children.
Your response - Give your child time to adjust to the new enviornment. Then help your child get used to the idea of becoming involved by reading books about school together, playing school at home and talking about the teacher's and children. Remember that your child is learning as he/she is observing. We will help your child find their comfort zone so your child can get more involved.