Weekly Wellness Update

Week of August 31-September 4 - Back to School

Starting School: Four Strategies for Helping with Separation Anxiety and Settling In

By Deb MacNamara Ph.D


First day at school pictures seem to fill family photo albums. These images capture the significance of the ‘going-back-to-school’ ritual, a celebration of a key milestone in a child’s life. Despite excitement, there is usually apprehension in both kids and parents but if we are to help them we need to consider this transition through their emotions. The biggest factor driving much of their reaction and experience is separation anxiety. Children are creatures of attachment and when separated from those they are connected to, the alarm system in their brain starts to make a lot of noise. They can become anxious and scared because the people they lean against, feel secure, and are at home with, are disappearing and leaving them behind. It is a compliment to your relationship when a child misses you – in fact – it was actually nature’s intention. Fortunately, there are many ways to help reduce a child’s separation anxiety and help them adjust to their new school surroundings.

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