Often, the first time a child goes to school is more traumatic for the parent than for the child. Separation anxiety is bound to occur, perhaps for the first few weeks your child attends school. You’ll miss having a partner for daily activities and you’ll reminisce about the years that are over. Remember, however, that this also gives you some time to take care of chores and have some down-time. Following are some tips for dealing with separation anxiety.
Stay Out of Your Child’s Room
While your child is at school, ease separation anxiety by staying out of your child’s room until he or she comes home. In fact, you might want to spend some time out of the house, running errands, working out at the gym, or meeting friends. Give yourself lots to do so that you aren’t thinking as much about your child and how much you miss him or her. Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t always work with separation anxiety, but it can’t hurt.
Get Together with Friends
If you have friends whose children have also gone off to school, get together for breakfast or a workout or whatever else you like to do together. Sharing in your separation anxiety will help pass the time until your child is ready to come home. This is also a great time to share parenting tips or to talk about how your children are handling going off to school.
Meet Your Child’s Teacher(s)
Setting up a meeting with your child’s teacher(s) will give you an opportunity to find out what will be going on at school and to assuage your fears of evil teachers. Most teaching professionals know how difficult it can be to part with a child on his or her first day of school and will be happy to discuss the curriculum and activities with you. Getting to know your child’s teacher(s) will also ensure that they contact you with any problems and give your child the attention he or she deserves.
Keep a Full Schedule
For the first few weeks that your child is in school, keep your separation anxiety at bay by keeping a full schedule. Plan your errands while he or she is away and set up get-togethers with friends. You might also want to start a project at the house, like painting a room or reorganizing furniture. Arts & Crafts, baking, yard work and gardening are all constructive tasks. You might also want to make your child a special snack for when he or she gets home from school so that you can eat and talk about your day.
Plan Activities for the Weekend
Since you won’t be spending as much time with your child on the weekdays, curb your separation anxiety by planning neat adventures on the weekends. Go hiking in a nearby park, visit a lake, take your child shopping or plan a picnic. Make weekends “family time” so that your child gets in the habit of enjoying the time he or she has with parents while school is out. Looking forward to those activities will also help you get through the week.