Separation anxiety is a frequent reaction to being taken out of everyday surroundings and is felt by the young as much as the old.
It is a medically recognized condition, in the same league as post traumatic stress disorder or the grieving process.
Their first day at school leaves youngsters vulnerable to this form of fear.
Unlike new moms, very young children are usually excited about their first day of kindergarten or a child-minding centre.
Pre-school anxiety can equally affect the mother who is, for the first time, letting the child out of her supervision.
A key to dealing with this, and to stop panic developing, is to be prepared for the trigger point.
Be open about what lies ahead for the youngster and don’t set off pre-school separation anxiety by waiting until the last moment before letting the child know it will be left in new surroundings without you.
This applies for any situation where the absence of familiar faces will be a first-time event, because a new babysitter also could prompt a similar emotion.
It is hard to rationalize a looming unpleasant experience to a four or five-year-old but a loving low key conversation, well before the event, will go a long way to soothing a stressed child.
Tell them exactly what is going to happen and explain this is going to become a regular event without mommy or daddy being a part of it.
Give the child time to emotionally prepare for the time of separation.
Pre-school nerves can be toned down by some simple techniques and take the panic out of the first day at kindergarten.
You can stop panic from building by keeping a lid on your own stress levels.
Prevent new mom anxiety by conveying an atmosphere of calmness and pleasant excitement about the new experience
Check with the teachers at the kindergarten or school if they have a policy where mom can stay around for a short time while the child is made familiar with the new authority figures in his or her life.
Perhaps their rules permit mom to attend for short periods during lunch breaks in the first days to take some of the stress out of the separation.
Try to time your departure as soon as you are aware that junior is beginning to realise this could be fun, and starts finding new friends.
Stop separation anxiety by not getting emotional when leaving your child.
Remind yourself that, although it is normal to feel upset, the sight of your stress will only make your child’s anxiety worse.
Be reassuring about being back soon to bring them home again.
Outline your plans for the day and name a time you will return, even if they don’t know about clocks yet.
For example, you could say you will be back after their lunch or nap.
If it is the first time your child is to be left somewhere new, go for a few visits together beforehand.
Always carefully check the reputation of the institution or person your child will be left with.
Develop a familiar parting ritual with a kiss, or the way you wave goodbye.
Another way to allay fears of being left is to give the child a photograph of yourself.
Meeting teacher or some of the other children, or playing school at home also could be a big help.
Being away from home for the first time can be a cause of anxiety for mother and child.
Children will adapt much quicker if you take the time to prepare them for the big changes in their lives.