Seeing your child struggle with separation anxiety as they start school is tough. But you’re not alone. Many parents face this. The good news? There are ways to help your child adjust. Let’s discuss practical tips to ease separation anxiety and help your child thrive in their new school. 

Start to prepare your child for preschool by establishing routines, meeting the teacher, and creating a positive mindset. Then, handle preschool drop-offs with consistency, comfort objects, and avoiding sneak exits. Lastly, manage parental separation anxiety with teacher communication and patience.

Preparing Your Little One for Preschool

Establishing Routines

Implementing a consistent daily routine before preschool can help your child get accustomed to a structured schedule. This includes regular wake-up times, mealtimes, and bedtime, mirroring the preschool routine.

Meeting the Teacher

Arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher before the school year begins. Doing this helps your child to become familiar with the teacher’s face. It will help you establish a connection, fostering a sense of security.

Visiting the School

Take your child for a visit to the preschool before their first day. They’ll want to become familiar with the physical environment, such as the classroom, play areas, and bathrooms. This will do wonders in reducing anxiety on the first day.

Scheduling Playdates

Organize playdates with other children who will be attending the same preschool. This gives your child a chance to make friends and build social skills before the official start.

Maintaining a Positive Mindset

Your attitude plays a significant role in how your child perceives preschool. Stay positive and enthusiastic about this new adventure, reassuring your child that it will be an exciting and fun experience.


Engage in role-playing activities at home. Pretend to be the teacher and the student, allowing your child to act out various scenarios they might encounter at preschool. This can alleviate anxiety and build confidence.

Reading Books

Explore children’s books that focus on starting preschool. Reading these stories together can help your child understand what to expect and normalize the idea of going to school.  

Handling Preschool Drop-Off 

Handling preschool drop-offs is a crucial aspect of ensuring a smooth and positive transition for both you and your child. Let’s delve into key strategies for making drop-offs as stress-free as possible:

Establishing a Goodbye Ritual

Create a special and consistent goodbye ritual with your child. It could be a secret handshake, a special phrase, or a loving hug and kiss. This ritual provides comfort and a sense of security during the separation.

Don’t Sneak Away

While it may be tempting to slip away unnoticed when your child is distracted, it’s best to say a proper goodbye. Sneaking away can erode trust and make your child feel anxious when they realize you’re gone.

Comfort Object

Many children find comfort in having a familiar object from home, such as a stuffed animal or a small blanket. This object can serve as a source of comfort and reassurance during the initial moments of separation.

Remind Them You’ll Be Back

Before leaving your child, remind them that you will be back to pick them up. Reiterate the time when you’ll return, reinforcing the idea that separation is temporary.

Avoid Comparisons

Every child is unique, and their reactions to preschool may differ. Avoid comparing your child’s behavior during drop-off to that of other children. It’s essential to recognize and respect your child’s individual journey and emotions.

Separation Anxiety Tips for Parents

Getting to Know the Teacher

Building a strong relationship with your child’s preschool teacher is essential. Open communication with the teacher can help ease your anxiety. You’ll soon gain confidence in their ability to care for and educate your child.

Preschool is a Life Lesson

Remember that preschool is not just about your child’s education; it’s also a valuable life lesson in independence and socialization. Recognizing this can help parents shift their perspective and reduce anxiety.

Resisting Surprise Visits

While it’s natural to want to check in on your child, it’s crucial to resist surprise visits during the preschool day. Trust the established routines and procedures of the school. This can reassure your child that you have confidence in their new environment.

Pep Talks for Yourself

Give yourself pep talks when needed. Remind yourself that your child is in a safe and nurturing environment. They’re with trusted professionals who have experience in childcare and education.

Having Patience

Understand that separation anxiety is a phase many children and parents go through. Be gentle with yourself and your child as you both adjust to this new situation. It’s normal to feel emotional, but know that these feelings will likely pass.

Helping Your Child to Feel Safe and Secure 

Ensuring your child feels secure is vital for helping them conquer separation anxiety. With these methods, you’ll give your child the help they need during this significant transition. Remember that it will take time, but with your love and patience, your child will succeed.

Contact Lighthouse School if you’re looking for a supportive learning environment. We want to help your child to shine!