Early in my career, I first trained as a pre school teacher.


A great skill to acquire as a preschool teacher is knowing how, and when to take a child from their parent.


Confidently insisting to the parent that their child will be fine, waving them off to work and quickly distracting the child with the days activities. That was me. I had it down packed;


"Hey Johnny your here! I need your help with the rabbit cage, come on?" as I whisked him away giving Johnny's' Mother the "he'll be fine, you go - nod"


Distraction.


It worked every time.


I never once considered there might be a better alternative, and certainly not one that actually supported the development of a child's emotional regulation.


It wasn't until years later when I worked as the Director of a preschool did I notice the major contributing cause of a child's separation anxiety, was in fact the parents behaviour.


There I was, now on the other side of the fence, at my desk I sat - morning, noon and night observing parents.


I witnessed them coming and going.

Dropping off and picking up.

Popping in and phoning through to check.

Peeping in my office window - signaling thumbs up? or thumbs down?

Worried that their precious child might be overwhelmed, upset and in desperate need of their comfort.


Some would stay way too long, setting themselves up for the dreaded daily repeated plea of "Mum stay with me a while longer, pleeeease?"

Frazzled mothers talked too much, reassuring their child with anxious words and gestures trying to convince them they will be fine.


"Your going to have so much fun with your friends"

"You love it here"

"I'll buy you a treat"

"I'll pick you up early"


The overly positive sales pitch was dreadfully inconsistent with their 'Your making me late for work' body language.


Children were seen with teary eyes, gripping tightly onto the moving leg of a fathers suit pant, while frowning at the teacher - feeling confused, disconnected and now even more anxious.


So how do you respond to a child who is clearly suffering from separation anxiety?


The best response is L.O.V.E.


Listen, Observe, Validate and Empower


Listen:

Be calm and look them in the eye to listen, connect for a moment and hear them out.


Observe:

Observe your own feelings and behaviour. Breath deeply and slowly and hold a calm positive stance.


Validate:

Use describing words to depict how it might be for them. Name the feelings you see, and empathize with them so they feel heard and understood.


"You feel sad"

"Its hard to say good bye" or

"You really want me to stay, I know, its tough"


Empower:

Give two choices "Would you like to go outside or read a book?"

then, a statement of intent "I love you, and Ill be back later"


Then smile and walk away confidently.


This response along with calm, confident body language will send the child the message:


"I am OK that you are sad, I trust this place and these people, and you are safe"



Remember: If your OK with their big feelings, they will be OK with their big feelings.


Super Nanny Script: "It’s OK if you feel like being sad, I'll be back later to pick you up"


The Structured Child:


Structured Natures need to have total authority over getting themselves ready. Reminding them all the time is seen as an insult to their abilities rather than a helpful gesture.

You can ask them how they would like you to support them in getting ready.


They will naturally follow a methodical, structured routine analysing all the details along the way right down to the perfect amount of toothpaste required for the job.

They value timeliness and have a high internal standard of how things should be. Allow them to keep a consistent and duplicatable routine, they have a high degree of mental organisation so you can be sure they will keep themselves on track.


Is your Structured child rude or dragging his feet in the mornings?

  • Think about how much input they have into the creation of their morning routine. Give them the authority by letting them know they are in charge of their own routine. The order and pace of getting ready, and that you trust that they will be ready and out the door on time.


  • Is there an authority figure at school whom they are not feeling respected by? Or a sibling that causes overwhelm?


  • Is something or someone interrupting their routine, causing them to be unable to complete things in a perfect manner? If there are changes to be made, make sure you explain these well in advance, giving them opportunities for input, and time to adjust.


  • Is there an aspect of their day that they see no value in? Structured Natured Children only give priority to things they see value in, labeling the undervalued things as ‘stupid’. Help them to see the value in different parts of their day, and how these add up to the big picture, or give them a responsibility that has an air of authority to it. Such as handling money or feeding the pets.


  • Do you feel a negative energy from your Structured child? - Think about whether they are the source of that negative energy, or a reflection of it. Structured children have a reflective quality and they can unconsciously pick up and reflect others people's moods and energies. Time alone in still reflection can help shift this.

Key words to remember are based on the highest needs of the Structured child;


Authority over their own business,

Order and routine,

Facts, and

Time alone.


For more Parenting Strategies based on your Childs Nature; buy the amazon best seller - The Nature of Children, by Jessie Buttons. Get the Book



Heading back to school and getting into the groove of a morning routine can look different for each child.


The Sensitive Child:

The slow steady Sensitive child may require a bit more sleep, and are generally a lot slower to rise and wake up in the mornings.


They move through their morning routine with grace, asking questions and gathering details, sticking to the plan at hand.


They prefer not to be rushed out the door, so replace the phrase ‘Hurry up!’ with ‘I’m ready when you are’ or ‘How can I help?’



Is your Sensitive Child whiny and/or grizzly in the mornings? Here are a few tips specifically to help support you in parenting a Sensitive Natured child, and make school mornings easier.

  • They may like to spend some time snuggling in the morning, so make time in the routine for this, or create other comfortable moments or spaces during their routine.

  • Predictability and planning is key for Sensitives. A calendar of events in their room or a common area works well, and be sure to follow through on plans!

  • Talk about the schedule of the day and offer emotional support for any feelings they have about up and coming events. Be careful not to dismiss the details that matter to them, they have many questions and truly believe they need the answers to all of them. You can refer them to other sources to find their answers if their questioning becomes overwhelming.

  • Sensitive Natures like to be comfortable at all times and this includes their clothing (remove scratchy labels, and loosen tight waist bands)

  • Touch is important to Sensitives, they like to be held and comforted, or to sit right next to you. This is how they feel comfortable connecting with you and will continue to have this tendency as they grow. Create opportunities in the mornings for this need.

Key words to remember are based on the Sensitive highest needs;


Comfort,

Time,

Details of their day, and

Face time with a parent.


For more Parenting Strategies based on your Childs Nature; buy the amazon best seller - The Nature of Children, by Jessie Buttons. Get the Book

JESSIE BUTTONS

THE NEW ZEALAND SUPER NANNY

Helping Families Solve Problems

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