This past year has been especially challenging for our children. Now, as we emerge from lockdown and begin our way back to work and school, kids may be struggling with the thought of being separated from their parents after having become accustomed to having them around 24/7. Change is never easy for a child, so it is imperative that families ensure an easy transition from parent to child caregiver and/or from home to school. Kids may not understand why mom or dad can’t stay home with them anymore, why they have a new nanny, or why they have to change daycares.
Childcare Advocate and Author, Florence Ann Romano, shares her advice for easing the separation anxiety:
- Communication is key! Let kids know what changes are ahead and reinforce that you will both be safe even if you are apart. Pick an appropriate time to talk. Going on a walk or a ride in the car can be a good option as long as your child is calm and there are not too many distractions.
- Have a discussion with kids about school, daycare, or their childcare provider and remind them of the fun times they experienced in the past so they associate these places with happiness instead of fear or anxiety. Allay any fears that the child is somehow at fault for the transition.
- Reintroduce old routines gradually-kids are likely to have had different bedtimes, mealtimes, playtimes, etc. during lockdown, so start the transition back slowly. Start bedtime and morning routines as if you were already going to work and they were going to school/daycare.
- Start to separate from your child for short periods of time- whether it is leaving them with an older sibling or grandparent while you run to get groceries or grab a coffee with a friend.
- Meet up with old friends – some friendships may have become distant, so encourage the kids to mix again (as much as possible within the recommended guidelines) by meeting friends at the park. Allow them to run around and experience some separation from you without feeling anxious about it.
- Is this the time for parents to consider installing nanny cams now that they will be spending more time away from home and leaving the kids with caregivers?
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