How to Help Kids Through Their Separation Anxiety
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Many children are returning to the classroom soon and anxiety about being separated from their families is very common. The Doctors welcome a parenting expert to share how you can prepare and plan for your child to be away from you after spending nearly a year at home.
Parenting expert Donna Tetreault explains this unique situation presents parents with an opportunity to help their kids build resilience. "A lot of kids are saying, 'I don't want to go back to school,' that is what parents are telling me," she tells The Doctors.
Donna says a plan is needed if your child is feeling anxious about going back to school and suggests being "proactive instead of reactive."
First, open the lines of communication about how the child is feeling, and if they are reluctant to open up, she says to "meet them where they are" and allow them to share their thoughts and concerns in whatever manner best suits them. She says in many instances, a child might not immediately open up about this, but to be consistent about talking about it.
Next, start the school day routine the night before, including laying out their clothes, packing their lunch. Donna says this will help parents avoid chaos in the morning and allow you and them time to deal with any issues that may arise.
Also, try art therapy to help a child express their anxiety. Donna suggests having a child draw out their feelings and worries, which can help them express their emotions and also help the parents better understand what they might be dealing with.
Additionally, she suggests planning a trip to their school before school resumes, even if it means just driving by the school. The parenting expert says this will help remind the child of life in the classroom and ease some anxiety about returning.