The Conscious Parent: Separation Anxiety

When it comes to a new school environment and you know your child is anxious then there are some things you can do to prepare her for this transition.

  • Visit the school and classroom beforehand. Literally do the whole tour of the school from meeting the principal, the cafeteria workers, the librarian, explaining each as you go along.
  • Meet the child’s teacher and give her information about your child’s personality (shy, outgoing, sensitive, active etc.) Some kindergarten teachers make home visits prior to school so the students feel more comfortable when they arrive.
  • Send your child to school with little reminders of your connection such as sticky love notes in her school or lunch bag. You can give her something personal that helps her feel connected to you like a picture of the two of you together.

True separation anxiety is not manipulation on the part of the child but reflects unmet emotional needs or lack of developmental readiness. Rather than ignore, blame, shame, tease or worse, use medications to essentially punish children for their strong emotions about separating let’s acknowledge and respect their feelings and the attachment relationship. In this way parents will be helping their child develop his capacity for empathy toward others, something we could all use more of in this world.

Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson are the authors of Attached at the Heart: Eight Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children and cofounders of Attachment Parenting International (API), a 501 (c ) 3 nonprofit organization that provides evidenced-based parenting information and local support groups. For more information go to

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