If you’d like to help your child through a difficult phase of separation anxiety, contact the Counseling Center to learn more about our child therapy Westchester NY services.
Anytime there is a major shift in one’s everyday routine, it’s shocking and confusing. That holds true as much for children as it does for adults. One of the most overwhelming shifts that one must endure in life is the separation from the people with whom he or she has grown accustomed to spending his or her time. At no point in life is this anxiety stronger than the first time that a child must spend an extensive period of time away from his or her parents.
It is a natural reaction that occurs in the first days of school, summer camp, and later even when the child goes away to college. As a parent, your job is to help your child through these difficult phases, while encouraging them to embrace their independence. Here are a few tips on how to go about doing that.
This is something that doesn’t ever really hit home until the day it actually happens. But the less surprise the better. If you suspect that your child may struggle with separation anxiety, then you should address it ahead of time. By informing your child that it may be weird at first, but ensuring him or her that it will get better, you can minimize the stress your child experiences once you actually separate.
In all likelihood, the first day will be a challenge for your child. But if you can find a way to convince your child to actually want to go to school or camp, then he or she will be more likely to make the extra effort to try and endure the early stages or homesickness.
Depending on which stage your child is in and how difficult you suspect the separation will be for him or her, the practice runs should vary in nature and length of time. For example, if you suspect that simply making it through a full day of school will be a challenge, have your child spend some time with a friend. This will only be a few hours of separation, which will make the school day more bearable. Or if your child’s going to sleep-away camp, you can have him or her spend a few days with a relative. This will warm him or her up to sleeping in a different bed and waking up to a foreign environment.
If your child can make a friend, or at least have a familiar face to turn to, then he or she will feel less lonely when you leave. The hardest part is the very beginning when you first walk away. From that point forward, your child will have to endure a storm of emotions. It will be far easier there’s someone with whom your child feels relatively comfortable to distract him or her from those thoughts.
All in all, separation anxiety is a difficult but very common challenge in a child’s life. If you want to make sure your child makes a smooth transition, Counseling Center can help. We offer child therapy Westchester NY services. For more information, call us at (914) 793-3388.