5 Montessori Tips to Ease Separation Anxiety
Updated: Sep 15, 2022
School drop-offs can be an ordeal for both the parent and the child. Some children skip all the way to class without a backward glance while others cry, beg and scream to be not left behind. We collected five Montessori approved tips to ease your children during drop-off to help comfort your minds and hearts as well.
Be On Time. Arriving late can worsen a child's anxiety as the class has already started. Children tend to feel more anxious when rushed so give your child extra time in the morning to get ready. A sense of order and punctuality is in keeping with Montessori philosophy and a lack thereof can seriously disrupt the operation of the classroom and affect your child’s ability to receive the full benefit from the programs.
Create a Goodbye Routine. Children crave and benefit from routines and most parents who establish one with their children tend to have successful, seamless, and drop-offs. Try a secret 'I'll be right back' handshake or special 'goodbye for now' hug! One of the features of a Montessori classroom is the consistency of an established schedule, and a little routine like this in the morning further promotes the values that are being taught in the classroom.
Do Not Linger. Montessori teachers are trained to practice strategies such as redirection, engagement, or even something as nurturing as a hug which can assure your child that the classroom is a safe place to be in, even without mommy or daddy. Seeing a parent and not being able to be with them is torturous for a child, so it is best to trust their care and depart quickly. You can always call after twenty minutes to check on them -- chances are they have settled in the classroom after a few minutes.
Never Sneak Out on Your Child. The idea might be tempting after a while, especially if drop-off tantrums haven't waned or gotten better even weeks after school had started, but the breach of trust in this matter is not conducive to a positive classroom experience. Building warm and trusting relationships between children and teachers is at the heart of early childhood learning and development and is reflective of the Montessori values.
Encourage Friendships. Inevitably, your child will have connected with a friend or two in class. Asking your child questions about them at home, and when possible, schedule 'playdates,' will help your child be more excited about attending class rather than anxious. Maria Montessori believed that it is the duty of every person to work toward and be part of something great which not only serves individual interests but those of all humanity. As a result, Montessori education teaches empathy in a variety of ways, including fostering positive friendships.