How to Ease the Separation ProcessOctober 18, 2018
If you’re struggling to leave your child in the preschool room or with a babysitter for an afternoon, check out these tried and true tips from Lisa Zaretsky that work for any separation.
1. Establish a routine that works for your child
It’s best if the routine can remain consistent. For example, if your child’s routine is that you read two stories and then say goodbye, it’s best if a similar routine is followed when a different grown-up is with him.
2. Always say goodbye
While it may be tempting to slip out when your child is playing or engaged, he’ll eventually notice you’re gone and this can be unnerving and make it difficult for the child to relax and trust the process. It’s best to phrase your departure as a statement, rather than a question, so you’re not asking permission.
3. Follow through when you say you’re leaving
When your child is visibly upset, it can be extremely difficult to walk out the door. It’s tempting to say that you’ll stay for a few more minutes. Unfortunately when you change your plans based on your child’s reaction, it shifts a lot of responsibility onto your child. It’s better to say “I know you’re sad, but I’ll…” and do what you say you’re going to do. Trusting and counting on the adult’s words is an important part of the separation process.
4. Refrain from coming in and out
It can feel disruptive to your child if you’ve said goodbye, then you return, and then you say goodbye again. It can be helpful to acknowledge and discuss with your child that saying goodbye can feel sad.
Some helpful resources:
- Oh My Baby, Little One by Cathy Apelt
- Don’t Go! By Janet Breskin Zalben Clarion
- You Go Away by Dorothy Corey
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn