Page 29 - Baby Society Magazine Issue 32
P. 29

 Separation Anxiety
As a normative developmental behavior that reflects a strong attachment to parents and caregivers, separation anxiety frequently manifests as clinging to a parent or caregiver when being dropped off at school or having an emotional reaction to being left with a different caregiver.
While infants, toddlers and preschoolers have different developmental reasons for showing this behavior, handling it should be consistent across all early childhood ages. First, ensure drop-offs take place when the child is not overly hungry or tired. A well-rested and well-fed child is often less stressed and may transition easier.
Second, make drop-offs short and consistent. Create a simple routine such as giving the child a hug, telling him or her when you expect to be back then turning and leaving. Maintain the same routine and do not return to the classroom after dropping off, as this could make the separation anxiety worse and trigger a heightened emotional reaction. The more consistent and steadfast the drop-off routine, the quicker the separation anxiety will resolve.
Attention-Seeking Behaviors
Children desire attention and some will seek it through any means available. This may include hurting others, throwing tantrums, overly dramatizing “injuries,” whining or showing blatant defiance in full visibility of parents or caregivers.
It is important that adults interpret the behavior as communication and understand the child is asking for attention for a reason. Evaluate if the child has an unmet need, such as hunger, tiredness or self-care. When possible, ignore the attention-seeking behavior and then seek opportunities to provide overt, strong attention for positive behaviors.
For example, after ignoring the child throwing blocks across the room, strongly emphasize positive behavior when they put away the toys neatly. Label emotions and ask how they are feeling. Discuss ways to show these feelings in more appropriate ways.
Also be consistent with consequences. If the child hurts another or causes a mess, explain the consequence in simple terms. For example, “We cannot break our crayons, even when we are angry. You broke your crayons so you cannot play with your art materials.”
To watch a “Parenting with Goddard” webinar recording featuring Loquasto and Pruett providing additional tips, and to access a wealth of actionable parenting insights, guidance and resources, visit
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