I Want My Mommy!

Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers and Elementary School Children and Their Parents

The faces were pressed against the glass, hoping to sneak a peek at their little one. It was the first day of kindergarten and a number of parents had come to school to watch the children begin the day. As a new teacher, one without children of my own, my initial thought was, “It’s half a day. The kids will be home soon. What’s the big deal?”

Years later, I put my first born on the bus. I couldn’t speak because of the lump in my throat. I was sure he would have a good day. His teacher was a very capable, well-educated woman. He was in good hands. I remember the bus driver just smiled and nodded.

We’ve all been a witness to or experienced separation anxiety first hand. Anxiety happens to both parents and children. Separation anxiety can strike the young child on his way to preschool for the first time as well as the older child on the first day of middle school or even high school. Being separated from what is known and comfortable can be difficult. Some children say goodbye and hop right onto the bus without a backward glance. Others have a hard time leaving the protective arms of the parent. Sometimes it is the parent who has a hard time letting go. Just remember, God has entrusted your little one to you to raise for Him. Be encouraged that your child is growing and moving to the next stage of development.

Here are a few tips to ease the transition to preschool and elementary school. Each tip is to help both the parent and the child feel more comfortable and less anxious.

• Begin with prayer. Pray for a smooth transition for you and your child.

• Visit the school prior to the first day. Check out the playground. Roam the halls. Try opening and closing the lockers.

• Meet the teacher(s) before school actually starts.

• Walk the path from the bus or car drop off area to the classroom. Note landmarks so your child can easily find his way.

• Read children’s books about going to school.

• Give your child something to love from home; a small piece of his blanket, a stuffed animal he can keep in his locker or cubby. Try spritzing the item lightly with Mom’s perfume or Dad’s cologne.

• Send a photograph of your family in a plastic bag.

• Everyday, tell your child, “I love you. I’ll always come back for you.” Then always be on time at school or the bus stop.

• Ask the teacher who your child plays with at school. Arrange for a play date outside of class to encourage the friendship.

• Tell the teacher what activities your child enjoys. If he likes art, the art station can be open when he arrives to aid in a smooth transition.

• Avoid the temptation to show up at the classroom prior to the end of the school day. Rather send a message that tells your child he is capable.

• Laugh with your child! It’s hard to be anxious in the middle of a belly laugh.

The bond between a parents and children is strong. You’ve instilled great love between the two of you. Rejoice!

Join me next week for tips on how to manage the transition in middle school and high school children.

God bless you!

My Faith Story

Becky Danielson

Sharing one’s story of faith is done among friends. To get to know me better, I’d like to share my story with you.

My Journey of Faith

When I stop to think about the sheer number of people the Lord has created, it boggles my mind. Like snowflakes, each is different, special in so many ways. All are made in His image, yet each with unique characteristics and stories. My story is distinct, yet I have always felt it was trivial and quite honestly, dull. That is until a special day a few years ago.

During a lunch break at a Christian conference, each attendee was encouraged to share a faith story. As usual my plan was to allow everyone else to speak first, that way time would run out and I wouldn’t have to say a word.

What fabulous accounts the people at my table told of God’s grace, love and compassion. Saved from agonizing addiction and reckless lifestyles, stories of restored relationships and profound faith. Each was more wonderful to hear than the last.

With time still remaining, all eyes were on me. I quietly told my story of being raised in a Christian home by parents who carried out their faith in action. I spoke of my grandmother who prayed for me, the wonderful Christian man I had married and the blessings of a vibrant church family. When I finished, it was time to return to the conference. Everyone rose to leave with the exception of a woman who had told an extraordinary story of redemption. She continued to sit at the table with tears in her eyes. Concerned and curious, I asked her if she was okay.

“I loved your story,” she responded.

“Well, it’s quite uneventful compared to yours,” I said.

“Oh no, not at all. An experience like yours is what I pray for everyday for my own children.”

She wanted what I had for her children. I was overwhelmed by thankfulness and humbled for not appreciating the gifts I had been given. God had given me a great story. I’d been looking the other way. I pray for my children who began their faith journeys at a tender age to be nurtured by the people who love them most, just like I had been encouraged. It’s a story to be appreciated.

Welcome to Faith First Parent!

I’m thrilled you’ve chosen to share in the joys and challenges of raising godly children. Each week you’ll be encouraged and equipped with the Word of God. You’ll find scripture, prayers, and reflections sprinkled with occasional time saving tips, fun family activities, and recipes. Parenting is an adventure. The journey is sweeter when we share it with friends.
May God abundantly bless you and your family,
Becky