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Old 01-19-2009, 01:12 PM   #1
spirited
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Seperation Anxiety???? In a Four year old

Has anyone been there done that, seriously it is such a issue. Although my son's pedi seems to think he'll outgrow it. It just seems that we should've been past it already.


Any tips?

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Old 01-19-2009, 01:28 PM   #2
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Re: Seperation Anxiety???? In a Four year old

It is easier to deal with separation issues when there is a routine. Once your child goes to school, a routine separation will be established. A lot of families that have kids with separation issues, need to be even more structured in the morning routine.

Separate quickly.

Don't give in. When a child is obviously struggling emotionally during the separation, it is often easy to give in because it's hard to see our children struggle so much. This will make it easier in the moment but even more difficult in the future.

Remain neutral in your expression and tone or remain a little cheerful when saying goodbye. Kids pick up on even subtle anxieties. When they show distress, it is easy for us to show worry. This will perpetuate the cycle.

Are you leaving your child with familiar people? I would say start with that first.

I have worked with children who have separation anxiety in the school setting. These are the ideas that seemed to work best for those students. There are other ideas as well but these are the major ones that come to mind.

The biggest problems I have seen is when the parents unknowingly play into the separation anxiety and react with sympathy to the child during the actual separation. We are only human and do react. It is fine to react with sympathy but not during the separation. That prolongs it and intensifies the anxiety.

Last edited by ladylee; 01-19-2009 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:33 PM   #3
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Re: Seperation Anxiety???? In a Four year old

Thats the thing even going to his grandparents, the store, play group etc. The first thing out of his mouth Your staying right? Dont leave me? When it does come time to leave him at say his grand parents. he flips, I mean serious meltdown. I always try to reassure him, but my heart hurts seeing him like that.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:51 PM   #4
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Re: Seperation Anxiety???? In a Four year old

My 4 year old recently started getting 'shy'. Not asking me to stay but she goes into class and playgroups w/ much more hesitation. She has to warm up to new people. Even if an adult talks to her she'll shy away. Must be a growing pain.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:08 PM   #5
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Re: Seperation Anxiety???? In a Four year old

I am so sorry you are going through this! hugs

The advice I give you is what I have learned working with children who have school phobia and extreme separation anxiety in the school setting. I am not in your situation and can't pretend to know how difficult it really is. It is easier to give advice than to live it. I just wanted to say that before I continue. I honestly would be a wreck and would probably make it worse if my child had it - knowing my personality. It would be such an internal struggle for me to do what I know is needed.

How do you leave? Do you leave quickly? Do you try to reassure him during a meltdown. I have found that often prolongs it and really makes it worse. What you sometimes have to do with a child who has separation anxiety goes against every grain of our being as a mom in that moment of time. I do think reassuring is really necessary, though. I would just do it a day before and right after you pick your child up. Preparation is the key.

How quickly does he rebound when you are gone. Is he fine 5 minutes after you leave?

Is there a way you can have a routine with your parents? Such as having two hours a week where it is expected that you will drop off your son with your parents, something expected. The routine time and day is the most beneficial. It will be very hard for the first few times (maybe even up to six times), but with routine comes stability - in most situations.

I think it's great you are thinking about this before kindergarten. I really hope you can try that routine separation soon.

I would also request a meeting with your sons school before school starts. You can practice the morning routine with him two or three days before school starts and actually drive to the school. Maybe even getting out with him, practice lining up and then going inside. The teacher will most likely help you out as well.

The hardest part is the separation but when mom is gone, they are usually fine (at least not showing outward signs of distress). That is what I have noticed in the school setting.

Last edited by ladylee; 01-19-2009 at 02:16 PM.
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