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Separation Anxiety

Saying goodbyes to children is often more difficult for adults than children! Don’t worry, it’s perfectly natural – and hopefully this page will help.

Your class teacher will advise you on the class routine for return to school which will look and feel different to school drop off in the past.

Be aware that your child may both anxious at leaving you and excited about being back at school at the same time which can be confusing. So:

  • Get your child ready - see our Helping kids return to school page at
  • Get yourself ready - think of a quick and simple farewell routine - a hug, three kisses and a goodbye wave or blown kiss
  • Let children know where you will be - "I'll be ... at work, at home, going shopping, getting dinner ready, working on the garden today whilst you are playing with your friends!"
  • Explain when you will see them again - for children who cannot tell time, you might say "I'll be here just after story time" (or other end of day activity - speak to teacher) or "I'll be waiting for you at 3pm. I'll want to hear all about your day!"

The farewell routine may be shaky the first week, but it should improve with consistency.


Tips and tricks

If goodbyes seem to be taking a long time – be patient.  You and your child have spent a huge amount of quality time together over the last weeks and this is a significant ending.

It may help to give your child something called a “transition object” – something that belongs to you or a picture, that the child can have nearby and touch or speak to when you are away.

Love hearts

Draw a love heart on your hand and one on your child’s hand.  When they feel they need you, they can touch the love heart.  You can then tell each other that you were thinking about them today by touching your love heart.

Love buttons

You might want to sew a button into the inside of a jumper or cardigan that the child can touch through out the day as a comforter.

A special item

You might have a key ring, hair band or some other small item that is special to you which they can keep with them or near them during the day.