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Starting Child Care: How to Minimise Separation Anxiety

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Taking your child to a daycare center for the first time can cause separation anxiety in your child. Several measures can help to reduce the magnitude of that separation anxiety. This article discusses some of those helpful measures.

Control Your Feelings

Children are very sensitive to the attitudes and feelings of their parents or caregivers. It is therefore very important for you to be positive as you take your child to the daycare center for the first time. How can you do this? Never apologise for enrolling your child into a daycare center because the child will think that you did something wrong. Secondly, talk about the exciting things that your child will experience once he or she goes to the daycare center. The child will start looking forward to the experience of being at the daycare center.

Do It Slowly

Another way to reduce separation anxiety is to phase out the transition for your child. For example, you should not leave the child at the child care center for an entire day if it is his or her first time to be away from you. Instead, leave him or her there for about an hour on the first day. Keep increasing the time he or she spends at the daycare center on subsequent days until it is now easy to be away for the entire day. This "breaking in" period can last a week.

Leave Something

You can also reduce how anxious your child feels by leaving him or her with an object that can remind them of the familiar home setting. For example, you can leave a scarf or a teddy bear behind. This object will comfort the child and reduce the separation anxiety felt while you are away.

Say Goodbye

It is never a good idea to sneak away from your child when you first take him or her to a daycare center. This is because the child will feel abandoned and he or she will find it hard to settle in at the daycare center. It is better to prepare your child for your departure. For example, you can tell your child that you will be going to work once you finish reading to him or her a story. Saying bye reassures the child that you are going away for a while but will be back for him or her. Your child will then feel less anxious while you are away.

The transition period will be less difficult for you and your child if you implement the suggestions above. Talk to child care experts for more help.