How to help a child with separation anxiety at school
Do you have a child with an anxiety disorder? Having this particular Separation anxiety! Finding it hard to leave your side? Extremely clingy type? All of these come in handy and are a normal reaction of little children in the early young stage of development, and some tend not to let go of it quickly; hence it becomes a future problem to deal with.
Let’s dive into what this really denotes and precisely how to deal with it.
The word “anxiety” means an unpleasant State of mental uneasiness, nervousness, apprehension, and obsession or concern about some uncertain event – as defined by the English dictionary.
Anxiety falls into many categories as usual, and it is a normal occurrence in every human being, both young and old.
So, anxiety disorder is not only found in children.
Can anxiety disorder be cured permanently?
If you should ask your doctor medical advisor or personnel, the answer is “NO.” Still, aside from the answer being from them, it solely depends on every individual circumstance to be able to set the mind or control the mind never to worry or get anxious when situations that require being anxious fallout.
Anxiety is not curable as it could occur and reoccur consequently when faced with or when in a situation that brings about it. On a warning note, you should know that for it not to turn into a bigger problem and then pose a threat to your wellbeing; one must try their best “not to worry needlessly” about every single situation or obstacle that comes their way.
Sometimes, anxiety cannot be cured, mainly because it is a ” genetic makeup” of an individual. This disorder is a known risk to mental health.
Now, moving to the main topic, one crucial fact relating to it is that it’s being said to have started from “Childhood.” So, as we can see, part of separation anxiety comes around for a kid, and there are many ways to help deal with it as an adult (parent or guardian precisely).
Also, note that as in the cases of “separation anxiety” in kids or a child, it is not as severe as other forms of anxiety, so it’s certainly nothing to get worried about but instead try your best and put in efforts in exercising how to deal with it for them.
What separation anxiety entails
This comes naturally for every kid, that awful anxious expression they give you when you leave their side or say them “a goodbye”. Or the tantrums they throw at you, the cry and the unwillingness to let go( clingy) as a mother, you would know lots more; all of these are healthy reactions to Separation and a normal state of development.
Babies do not understand the concept of time, so they would not know that the absence of their mom or dad does not mean they would not be back.
Hence, there is no cause for alarm and, at times, not only being clingy to their moms but also dad and siblings (if any). As time goes on, it is expected and usual for them to have outgrown such a stage, so such a child gets to adapt with time.
However, in some children, the trend keeps on going even at an older age. These sets of kids find it hard staying back at a place and their mom or dad leaving them behind, for instance, in the case of an older kid not wanting to go to school in fear of them not being able to stay with their guardian or parent.
Only with force, much effort, and patience will the kid be able to stay back in school forcefully even as at being older for such a tantrum or act.
In this case, and if it reoccurs or goes on and on for a longer period ( that is, the fact that this period of anxiety lasts longer in a child into preschool, elementary school, or beyond), then there is a call for attention yielding the term”Separation anxiety disorder.”
Here, we can see that there is something called “normal” separation anxiety and “separation anxiety disorder.”
Guidelines to help deal with normal separation anxiety
Here, I will be listing a few guidelines or prerequisites on how to deal with “normal separation anxiety.”
1. Make sure you don’t stop practising Separation with the child: don’t say because of their reaction, and it’s getting too much; hence, you then stop it. Doing that wouldn’t be of help at all.
2. Surround and keep familiar faces nearby (siblings, family, friends); this would make your child know you are not the only available face that he has to know.
3. Do not hesitate at every Separation. Make sure to reassure your child that your absence is fine and that they will be okay. For example, running back immediately to your room each time your child cries becomes an addiction to your child and is a tactic to avoid Separation.
4. Do well to warn outsiders (school teachers, friends..) to make sure not to use scary objects or toys on your child.
5. Use the trick method even when you want to leave – here, you must have told your child you will be back in an instant but deliberately take a long time before coming back.
6. A deep, warm, and reassuring hug could help.
7. Promise them at every instance and make a deal with them if they are going to let go without worry. For example, telling your child that you would get him a spiderman if he goes to school without crying for the whole day. Of course, there’s a probability of the child going with such a deal.
8. Get your child whatever snacks he demands if you’re capable of it, as this could also be a ticket.
But then, what could have led to “separation anxiety” in a child?
It could occur as a result of :
1. Change in environment
2. Change in surroundings
3. Divorce in the home
4. Loss of loved ones which can cause trauma.
Symptoms of Separation anxiety disorder in children
Separation anxiety disorder is a severe condition that makes a child unable to overcome the fear of being left alone(this period seems to last longer), especially away from their family members, pets, or even places like home.
The child’s fear is usually unrealistic too. To help recognize one who has a Separation anxiety disorder, below are the symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting (a panic symptom)
- Rapt breathing
- Nightmares of Separation or thoughts of being kidnapped
These are physical symptoms they could exhibit!! It is important to note that; it does not last long!
Actually, phrases like this are only natural, and they will soon pass or fade away. However, this is why you must make sure your child does not only get to be cared for or given attention by you alone.
Also, make sure to be very observant and get access if you can trust a particular babysitter. Most times, refusal of your ward or Child go to a babysitter could be a problem somewhere that has to be taken care of with utmost rapt attention.
Ensure that you have so much confidence when trusting your child with a caregiver, be full of positivity that they can take care of your child, or help handle the situation as you could, so be calm and consistent!
Treatment of separation anxiety in children
• Doctors treat separation anxiety through psychotherapy.
• As a parent, make sure to keep practising Separation with your child
We’ve talked about“separation anxiety disorder,” let’s look at ways we can tackle it.
How to help a child with separation anxiety at school
1. Settle your child’s lateness with the management, begging them to be lenient with your child.
2. Assign a safe room or space available in the school area for your child if the need arises ( that is, to reduce anxiety)
3. Provide a mobile phone or available access for the child to easily contact home in a time of stress at school
4. Assign a teacher or counselor who can patiently help to deal with your child disorder in any possible way that can help
5. Exercising could also help such a child
6. Make sure the environment your child stays in is full of humor and people who could help when necessary or required to ease unnecessary fear or thought.
Who is prone to “Separation anxiety disorder”?
Most commonly, about 4% of younger children have a separation anxiety disorder (SAD), whilst in Adolescents, it is slightly common. It is also usually rare in a boy child, as research has shown, but in a girl child, it is said for them to be the ones who are more likely to get affected than the boy child.
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With proper treatment, most children diagnosed with Separation anxiety disorder experience elimination of symptoms. However, it is then required to go for early treatments, which would enhance the child’s chances of recovery!