I’m over at my amazing friend, Angelica’s place today, New Latina, sharing a post about back-to-school separation anxiety. (Coincidentally, this is also my son’s first day of first grade. I could probably use some of my own advice right now!) Get a taste of the post below, and then head on over to New Latina for all the flavor.
Many tears are shed at the beginning of a new school year, as parents and little ones adapt to the process of separation. There are a few things we can do to help smooth out this ritual, as well as a few things we can understand to help make it feel easier.
First off, a little background on separation anxiety. When you drop off your preschooler on that very first day of preschool, and she spends the first ten minutes wrapped around your leg begging you not to leave her, it isn’t necessarily a sign that you’ve selected the wrong school, or that you’re a bad parent, or that she’s developed an insecure attachment. It likely just means that she’s a normal three year-old who’s aware enough to be nervous about a new situation.
While separation anxiety generally peaks and then declines somewhere between 18 months and two years, it is still quite normal for young children to exhibit some of the same telltale signs — clinginess, crying, withdrawal — at three, or even six years old. Individual personalities are more prone to this type of anxiety, and major life events (new siblings, moving, family loss, etc.) can cause a resurgence as well.
The onset of separation anxiety may not be able to be controlled, but there are things that can be done to successfully navigate this developmental challenge.