The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a classic book written to help Kindergarteners and other school- or preschool-aged kids hold onto mom or dad while apart at school. You can find it at the library.
- Try reading it a few days in a row the week school starts.
- Use it as a jumping off point to brainstorm other ways you and your child can keep connected while separated.
According to Vancouver psychologist and child expert Dr. Gordon Neufeld, separation anxiety is completely normal in young children and not something we need to try to eliminate. But in our current culture where many kids are separated all day from parents early on for day care and, more recently, all day kindergarten, we have to acknowledge that kids are carrying a larger separation burden than ever before. The good news is we can help lighten that load by strategizing tools for them to hold onto us while apart.
Some effective ideas:
- Tape a family photo in your child’s lunch box
- Stick a note in their lunch box. Draw a heart or something else that will put a smile on their face. For kids who read already you can include a simple message like “Mom loves you.”
- Buy an inexpensive locket (they will likely lose it a few times) and put family photos in it. Your child can wear it or just keep it in their backpack.
- Volunteer for an hour once every couple of weeks or whenever your schedule permits. Many kindergarten teachers love a parent visiting to read a story or help with a craft.
- If you are having a tough week with separation try stopping by to see your child during their outside lunch break to say hi and let them know what snack they can look forward to when they are finished their day
And remember, Kindergarten is a voluntary year in British Columbia. It’s up to you to decide how much of it you want to partake in. If you you only want your child to be in class for part of the day or part of the week have a talk with the teacher at the start of the year and discuss what that could look like. Or you may decide to homeschool for this year.
At this age family time as well as imaginative play at home and outside are still very important to your child’s healthy development.
You will miss your child and what he or she contributes to your day. These strategies will help you adjust as much as they will help your child! If you are struggling with separation don’t hesitate to contact me to make a plan to make things easier on the both of you.
Here’s to a happy start to the school year!