School drop off is a daily nightmare for families with children suffering from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is usually a short lived phase most kids get over with time, patience and adjustment to their surroundings. Others, like my daughter, experience it on a more intense scale for longer periods. However, the first weeks of school are unnerving for most kids. Here are some ways to make school drop off easier for kids who are experiencing anxiety for the first time or for those who deal with it on a chronic basis alike.
Dealing with the worries
1. Visit the school when it’s not in session. Let your child get familiar with the school when it’s empty and less overwhelming.
2. Make contact with teachers and staff. Explain to them your child is anxious. See if they have any tips. This isn’t the first time they’ve dealt with someone with school jitters after all.
3. Talk about worst case scenarios. Find out what your child’s fears are and discuss the worst that could happen. Things usually don’t seem so bad when you realistically hash it out.
4. Then problem solve ways to avoid the issue. If her biggest fear is that no one will sit with her at lunch, brainstorm some solutions. Perhaps options could be to arrange with someone to sit with her in advance or ask a teacher to help her make a connection. Let her choose what she sees as the best path to have a sense of ownership over her fears.
5. Do as much as possible the night before. Shower, pick out clothes, pack lunch and make sure the backpack is ready before bed.
6. Let your child help shop for lunch supplies and assist in packing. They’ll know exactly what’s inside and have something to look forward to when they make it to lunchtime.
7. Create a spot for everything. Give each child a cubby and/or hook by the door. Backpack, sweater, shoes, etc. should all be there when it is time to run out the door.
Follow a drop off routine
8. Determine the best time to drop your child off. My daughter does better when she’s one of the first kids there, so the group slowly grows around her instead of her walking in to chaos. Other kids might prefer arriving just before the bell.
9. Develop a morning routine and leave at the exact same time every morning. Knowing what to expect and following a routine will help the morning go smoother for everyone.
10. Don’t delay the school drop off. Give your child a quick kiss, a “You’ve got this!” and be on your way.
What are your top tips for school drop off? Let us know in the comment section.