Defined as the fear of being away from a parent or carer, separation anxiety is common and normal in children. It can begin as young as 8 months and peaks around 18 months. Usually, it gradually goes away during childhood and is a normal part of child development.
Here are some tips to help your child if they experience separation anxiety:
If you are leaving your child in a new environment, arrive to the location early. Spend time with your child before they go into the class/centre. At our Malaga studio we have the cubby house outside which is a great opportunity for you little one to interact with others in the class, make friends and settle in.
Allow your child to bring a comforter, a teddy, blanket, dummy, whatever will comfort them while they are away from you. Please ensure you label this so it doesn’t get lost.
Tell your child’s teacher or inform the office about our child’s separation anxiety and the best way we can support them in class.
Gently practice separating with your child with positive experiences at both separation and reunion.
Some things to think about when leaving your child:
Let your child know when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back. It’s tempting to sneak out but can often make things worse when they realise you’re not around.
Do an activity before you go that they enjoy.
Don’t drag out goodbyes, keep it brief.
Have a happy, relaxed look on your face when you leave. A worried or sad face may encourage your child to think the place is not safe.
Some things you can do at home:
Avoid being negative or criticising your child i.e. don’t be such a baby.
Read stories (or make them up) about overcoming separation fear.
Give lots of positive encouragement about how brave your child is when they are away from you
As dance teachers of young age groups, we understand and see separation anxiety frequently. Our BaBee Boppers class (soon to become Ready Set Move in 2022), allows parents to remain in the room and experience the dance class with their child. This is a great option when your child is just not ready to be independent in the class and a great way for your child to become comfortable with the teacher and studio. Ready Set Dance supports an independent learning model. As pre-schoolers participate in classes, they have the opportunity to develop additional secure attachments with adults (teachers) and peers. This prepares them for school readiness. As they grow independently in their dance class, they develop feelings of confidence and self-efficacy. For more information about our programs, please contact us at email@example.com
If you’d like to see a topic discussed on the Parent Corner email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready Set Dance- Dr Cathie Harrison- Early Learning Consultant