Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mommy Advice

I received a comment from L.P. on my last post, asking if I had any mommy advice for dealing with clingy kids and separation. I couldn't reply via email, so I thought I'd post a reply.

In my particular situation, a huge credit goes to a great preschool and a FABULOUS preschool teacher. I cannot say enough good things about Miss E. She is a warm and caring teacher who truly loves each of her students. She was great at directing Nathan to a distraction or giving him a big hug while I left the playground. And she had soft words for me on the days I struggled to leave him.

Nathan with Miss E at Pre-K graduation

Here are a few tips:

  • Be strong. You will both live through it. (And it's okay for you to cry too. I always tried to hold on 'til I was back in the van before the floodgates opened.)

  • Be reassuring, but firm. Tell your child how much you love them and that you will be back to get them. Most young children can't tell time, so giving Nathan a milestone to judge pick up time by helped. He knew that I'd be there after the second playtime.

  • Talk about their favorite school activity. Give them something to look forward too.

  • Help them make friends and encourage them to go play with their friends when you arrive at school.

  • Get feedback and help from the teacher. Ask if he/she has any advice on easing the separation. Make sure the teacher knows if your child has separation anxiety and ask them to help ease the transition.

  • Give them a talisman or lovey to keep with them at school. (Nathan liked to wear one of my old watches or a bracelet to preschool.)

  • Read books about going to school. "The Kissing Hand" is a cute one. And Sarah suggested "I Love You All Day Long".

  • DO NOT sneak away. This is my advice as a mom and a former day care provider. It's scary for a child to turn around and find that mommy has suddenly disappeared. It makes them cling even more in the future. Say your goodbyes, tell them you'll be back and leave them in capable hands.

There are lots of other things you can try and lots of resources available. Read parenting books or internet articles. Ask other parents for advice. And remember that every child is different and just because something worked for someone else doesn't mean it'll work for you.

All you mommies out there are welcome to leave comments with your suggestions.


jessi said...

I thoroughly agree with not sneaking away. I think by saying goodbye you are letting them know that you are leaving them in good hands and also that you will be back. Little P has had major separation anxiety. Another piece of advice - especially with younger kids - I think sometimes you might just need to put off your plans and stay with them. WE noticed that if we left Little P to cry, he would often be more clingy at home, not go to bed, be more moody, etc. and it just wasn't worth the hassle for the rest of the week to have and hour or two free. Also, just keep trying. We started with a reliable babysitting coop (a couple of friends that traded weeks babysitting each other's kids) and let them know to call us if they felt like he wasn't calming down. Well, this is turning into a book, so I'll get off my soap box now...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving such beautiful advice. I think that I will give the preschool a call on Monday and ask them for their advice. They are such sweet people and I should remember that they have been through this so many times. I am sorry that I did not leave my email address, chalk that up to "Mommy Brain".

monica said...

it takes a while but in the end it make kids stronger and independent... but it's hard... all my children cried for the first couple of weeks... but I knew they'd stop as soon as I turned the corner...

I would say don't make a big fuss. If you act 'normal' (not too many cuddles and kisses) then they realise it's a normal thing and nothing to worry about.

With us it was helpful meeting another friend at the gate and let the kids walk in ahead of us, already 'talking' to each other.