8 Tips to Avoid Preschool and Kindergarten Drop-Off Separation Anxiety

It's time to drop off your little one at preschool or kindergarten. Right as you're ready to bid your farewell, outcome the waterworks. Tears and tantrums are normal signs of preschool drop-off separation anxiety — but it can be tough for parents to handle. If your young kid is scared of being dropped off at school, these tips will help to ease their anxiety and smooth the goodbye process.

Common Signs of Drop-Off Separation Anxiety

Kindergarten drop-off separation anxiety often manifests with stress-related symptoms. Your kindergarten or preschool-aged child may talk about school fears or need plenty of reassurance from you. Common signs of drop-off separation include:

• Asking you not to leave.
• Complaining about feeling ill.
• Crying or throwing a tantrum.
• Physically clinging to you to prevent you from leaving.
• Showing regressed behavior.

How to Help Prevent Preschool Separation Anxiety

There are plenty of tips and tricks available to help ease preschool separation anxiety. If your child is struggling with the drop-off every day, try these eight strategies to help them feel comfortable, reassured and confident as you wave goodbye:

1. Take a tour of the school ahead of time: Starting a new school can be overwhelming. Minimize anxiety by taking your child on a tour, walking them through their new routine and setting up a playdate with a few classmates.

2. Role-play school scenarios at home: If your child struggles with the unknown, try acting out common scenarios to help them feel prepared. Scenarios could include meeting teachers, making friends, eating lunch in the cafeteria or playing in the playground. '

3. Give your child a keepsake: If your child is requesting reassurance, give them a little memento they can keep in their pocket throughout the day.

4. Don't delay: It's normal to want to give your child an extra kiss and words of affirmation before you leave. However, lingering can make the separation worse. Instead, say goodbye and offer a reassuring hug — and then be on your way.

5. Create a routine: Establishing a daily goodbye routine will help your child set comfortable expectations. Whether it's a special goodbye phrase or a secret handshake, having a regular habit can help ease anxiety.

6. Be on time for pick-up: If possible, aim to always arrive on time to pick up your preschooler. Being late can rekindle anxiety and worsen the drop-off separation.

7. Speak with a teacher: Your child's preschool or kindergarten teacher can be an incredible ally. They've likely seen their fair share of separation anxiety, and they can share resources or even give your child some extra attention.

8. Infuse school drop-offs with positivity: Use affirming words to praise your child's independence and confidence. Help your child make a friend in their class that they look forward to seeing each day. Or, consider a sticker chart with rewards for every day your child overcomes separation anxiety.

How Can The St. Paul's Schools Help Your Child Face Their Fears?

At The St. Paul's Schools, we aim to create a warm, welcoming and adventurous culture for every student. Our small classroom sizes and close-knit community enable teachers and staff to offer individualized support to each child. If you're concerned about handling preschool separation anxiety, we are here to support you. Need more information about The St. Paul's Schools preschool and kindergarten programs? Feel free to contact our admissions team to learn more!