Early Childhood Behaviorist Corner

  • September 2020

    The start of a new school year is a time full of excitement It can also be a time of anxiety for both adults and students. It is important that we understand that separation anxiety is a common behavioral phenomenon for preschool aged children. As we start school, you may see an increase in interfering behaviors such as crying, dropping to the floor, toileting accidents and refusal. It is possible to see the reemergence of “old” behaviors. Again, this is a common situation.

    What we can do to help

    In school, we start the year by pairing with the students. This means that we spend time engaging with them in preferred activities and with preferred items. We do not place a lot of demands on the students during the pairing process, but rather, encourage them to explore their new environment and develop a relationship with their teachers and classroom staff. Our ultimate goal is for the students to look forward to coming to school each day.

    At home, you can help decrease any separation anxiety your child may be experiencing. The following are suggestions that can help the transition from home to school a little bit easier for everyone:

    • If you are nervous about school, your child may pick up on that emotion. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher and/or behaviorist if you have any questions. We will be happy to assist you. When you talk about school to your child, or in your child’s presence, be positive. Your child will pick up on the positive emotion.
      Establish a morning routine that works for your family. This way you can start the day with less stress.
    • Drop off/ boarding the bus should be done quickly and without a fuss. If you are matter of fact about the situation, your child will be more likely to accept this as part of the new routine. A quick kiss and “I will see you after school” should do it.
    • Establish an after school and/or evening routine. Try to have time to relax together. Let your child know that you are proud of them.

    There are some cute books that address the feelings children may have when starting the new school year.

    • Llama Llama Misses Momma by Anna Dewdney. This is available on YouTube as a read aloud story on Kids Books Read Aloud channel.
    • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel Goes to School. This is available on YouTube as a read aloud story on Reading Library Books
    • Daniel Tiger also has a song about separation which can be found on YouTube as well as PBS Kids. The song title is Grown Ups Come Back.
    • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is available as a read aloud story on YouTube also.
    • There are also several Sesame Street videos (Elmo goes to school, etc.) about starting the school year that your child may enjoy.

    We are excited to be back and look forward to working with you to make this a fantastic year for your child!

    Christine and Kimberly



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