Separation Anxiety and Returning to School

“Be satisfied with what is, while you’re reaching for more.”
Author Unknown

Separation anxiety is one of my favorite topics, probably because I experienced so much separation anxiety as a child. I really connect to children in this area, and love to be advocates for their hearts.

The above quote fits in beautifully. So many times, because we want our kids to be strong and successful, we expect more out of them than they are able or willing to give in a particular situation or moment (reaching for more). This causes us to miss important cues that have a subtle and very profound impact on their lives. In wanting them to be able to move forward and make it through difficult times, we sometimes forget to fully connect our heart to theirs, to meet them where they truly are (being satisfied with what is).

As our children return to school in the coming weeks, take a few moments to be sensitive to the fact that they are experiencing both excitement and stress in their little minds and bodies, just like we are. Look for harmony, not perfection. How do we create that? This is a time of change for all of us, and we need transition time. Your children may need some additional connecting time in order to make the leap. Be sensitive to their hearts. It helps tremendously with separation anxiety.

It is not a bad thing when our kids want to be close as they are being pulled out into the world. It is perfectly normal that they would want to stay close to you. You are “home” for them and a safe haven. Be there for them. That is so important. This creates trust. Find out what being there for them looks like to them. Do some extra planning for those first few days, making room for flexibility. This can ward off separation anxiety.

If the teacher says, “Just leave. He’ll be fine.” Consider how true that is for your child. Who knows your child better? You do. Yes, children get over being left against their will. It happens every day. They settle in and life goes on. However … and this is a BIG however …what happens to their heart, to their trust, and to their spirit? They need to know they are safe and loved, and that mom and dad are there for them when they need it, not just when mom or dad think they need it. Big distinction.

I know there are different schools of thought on this subject. This is simply my opinion. What I can tell you, is that being flexible with my kids during these transition times has really paid off. They TRUST me. They know when they are in a situation that is difficult or uncomfortable, that I will not sneak off while they are not looking. They know that I walk into a classroom as their mom and their advocate, and I never take that hat off. They can always count on me. This has resolved any separation anxiety issues very quickly.

Go with your gut, your instinct, your intuition. You know your child better than anyone else. Feel their heart. Go back to your childhood. Experience the first days of school, and then give your children your love, your listening ear, and your heart. Communicate with your children in advance. That helps a lot too. What does he/she need in order to be able to stay and thrive? That is what you need to come to an agreement on.

The amazing gift in all of this is that when we give them more room to experience these events, feelings and fears, and we show up by their side along the way, their level of trust in us and in themselves strengthens. Their self-confidence strengthens. They retain their wholeness, as opposed to growing up wounded in their heart. This is a beautiful gift for every child.

If you would like support in this transition, feel free to contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I am happy to assist you! To schedule, simply call 951-240-1407 or email me at

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