Dealing with separation anxiety in preschoolers is no fun, I’ve been there. Luckily, we found a way to encourage our daughter to have “No Cry Preschool Bye Bye’s” with this fun sticker chart.
Moreaya went to Preschool for half the year last year. She was supposed to start in August of 2015, but she was so adamant about not going that I removed her from enrollment. She was only 3.5 and I wasn’t pushing the issue. Plus, she’s my baby and I didn’t mind having her at home with me for another year!
But then came January and she proclaimed she was ready to go to school like her big sister. I think this helped tremendously. In August, Sophia hadn’t started school yet so I don’t think Moreaya realized that she would be gone all day at Kindergarten. Once she realized she was home alone with Mom, she wanted to go to school to have friends and fun too!
That didn’t mean that we didn’t have some separation anxiety though. The excitement quickly faded that first day when I told her it was time for me to leave. For a week or so we saw tears almost every single morning… from both of us. Thankfully I held mine in until I was already back in the van, but it was hard on me too! I knew she was having fun, she was happy and excited each day when I picked her up after being at preschool for 3 hours, but the next morning would start the same way… with tears and proclamations that she wanted to stay home with me.
She didn’t have to go and we didn’t force preschool on her, but I knew she was having fun and I wanted her to gain confidence in herself and the fact that Mom would always come back to pick her up!
So we came up with a sticker chart to encourage happy mornings. In fact, we called it our “No Cry Preschool Bye Bye” chart and what a difference it made! Each day that she didn’t cry, she got to put a sticker on her chart. Of course, there were still tears the first few days, but not many days after once she understood she got a sticker!
We battled preschool separation anxiety one sticker and row at a time. When a row would get filled, she would get to pick a treat. Not only did she start seeing that being happy about going to school was rewarding, she started genuinely being happy and reassured that we would be reunited in just 3 short hours!
This little lady starts her first day of preschool on Monday and we’re pulling the chart back out. She assures me she isn’t going to cry this year, although I didn’t even ask the question. But I think it will still be a good reminder and a fun activity for her to do daily as a reward for being a big girl!
If you have a preschooler who experiences some separation anxiety, I’d definitely encourage you to try out the sticker chart. Just click below for a printable format of either version – boy or girl!
How do you or did you encourage your children to conquer preschool separation anxiety?