Like many kids, my guys have experienced more than the occasional bought of separation anxiety.
Kids Matter explains that separation anxiety or separation distress is a normal part of development in children from six months of age through the early years and can occur in school-aged children as well.
It can present in a variety of ways, including being teary and upset, nervous, clingy or withdraw. Some children may experience physical complaints such as headaches, nausea or tummy aches.
For my children, nervous tummy aches are quite common. The trigger might be a sleepover away from home, a stressful time at school or just a particularly clingy phase. Often I will use little tokens and gestures to remind them I’m always thinking of them. Sometimes it will be a love note in their lunch box or a special wristband that we both wear so they feel connected to me wherever they are.
From now on however, I will be implementing a used by UK mum, Louise Mallet, when her son was upset starting school. It was so successful she shared it as a public Facebook post.
On her son’s first full day at school, she drew a small heart on the palms of both her and her son’s hands. They were “charged” up by holding hands on the way to school and she told her son to simply press the button if he wanted to send her a hug and she would do likewise.
Louise even drew a spare heart on his arm in case the one on his hand wore off! Now that’s a mum who thinks of everything.
She was pleased to report the tactic worked and her son said, “I pressed it for a long time mummy but I didn’t cry.”
Commenters on the Facebook post likened it to a similar method described in a storybook called The Kissing Hand, where a mother racoon kisses her son’s paw when he was nervous going to school.
She tells him, “Whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, ‘Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.'”
What beautiful, yet simple techniques to let your little person feel they a tangible connection with you, even when you aren’t close by.
For more information on managing separation distress and creating positive separations, the Kids Matter website has some good information and resources.