Help Your Child With Separation Anxiety

I take my 5-year-old to school every morning and we are often one of the first to arrive. I like to stick around to watch him play and talk to parents. Almost every morning I see a child grasping desperately at their mom or dad as they’re left in the schoolyard. It breaks my heart to see that. They’re screaming, crying, trying everything they can to not be left behind by the most important person in their world.

In these moments I’m thankful to my boy for not doing that. Last year he did do it once or twice, briefly, but we got through it together. Whenever I see these kids and their parents I want to rescue them somehow.

So, this morning, after watching 3 different kids fall apart as their parents left them, I decided to look into what parents can do. Here’s what I found:

Separation Anxiety

During the First Days of Kindergarten

Tips For Parents And Caregivers




Conversation and Reading Will Make Your Child Smarter

I recently read an article on the CBC News site titled Nothing short of remarkable’: Study finds parents’ chats with their toddlers pay off 10 years later by Amina Zafar. This is a great article –go read it. But, if you want the short version, here’s my condensed version:

The Point

  1. Read to your kids, even if they can’t talk yet.
  2. Speak WITH them, not TO them. This means conversationally where they reply, even if they aren’t making sense/words.

The Reason

  1. Science.
    More specifically, this study, “Language Experience in the Second Year of Life and Language Outcomes in Late Childhood” concluded that talking with your child helps them perform better – conversation with kids aged 18 to 24 months old produced marked cognative/academic performance improvements for the following 10 years.

What Next?

  1. Develop a daily routine.
    Create a time in your child’s day where YOU read to them, where YOU talk with them.
  2. Create 1-on-1 Time.
    If you have more than 1 child, create a time slot for each one of them to be with you where they have your complete and undivided attention. Maybe not on the same day, maybe both parents can each take 1 kid. Figure it out.
  3. Stick to it.
    Getting this started is great, but sticking to it for years is the challenge that will pay off.
    Remember that this is not for you; it’s for your child.

Side Effects

  1. Your child will come to crave this attention from you. You may not realize this, but kids calm right down when they know that they can have your undivided attention. They feel secure, at ease, comfortable.
  2. You’ll find that these conversations and reading sessions will be become enlightening. Your child will eventually start sharing their deeper thoughts with you.
  3. You’ll miss it when you stop, so don’t.

Parenting Level: Boss

A friend of mine said this about his father in a Facebook post. This father should teach classes and we should listen.

Say This Instead


The Point

When you talk to your kid, you’re thinking like an adult… Because you ARE one. Stop, listen, feel.

I printed this sheet out and kept it in plain view for me to reference. To remind myself to be more gentle.

Use These Phrases Instead

TOOL - 16 Phrases for ParentsListening & Accepting

  • Tell me how you’re feeling.
  • I want to understand how you’re feeling.
  • I love you, even when you feel angry.
  • It’s okay to feel mad.
  • How can I help?
  • I can see why you feel …
  • It looks like you’re having a hard time. Tell me about it.
  • I can imagine you feel …

Moving Forward

  • Can I give you a hug?
  • Let’s take a deep breath together.
  • I’m sorry for … .
  • Next time, I’ll … .
  • Can we start over?
  • Will you forgive me?
  • Will you sit next to me?
  • Let’s take a break and do something fun.
  • Let’s go for a walk together.

Download a Printable PDF.

PARENTING TIP –Pay With Attention

When your child does something that you want them to do more of, you tell them that they’ve done a good job, and tell them why.

What’s Happening Here?

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Love The Process

love the process

Trick: How to Get Kids Attention

Originally published September 16th 2012

Earlier this week my oldest was so interested in a book being read in class that she brought it home, with the express purpose of reading it to us. I thought that was really interesting, and she did a pretty good job.

Later in the week I was walking through the grocery store with the kids when I grew frustrated with some of their behaviour. I thought about putting them back in line, then about how they might react to that. I really didn’t want to spoil the positive mood – I just wanted to curb their behaviours.

Somehow I came up with the idea of narration

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A Childhood Wasted

Every time I look at what my kids are doing/have done in the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program I can’t help but look back at my youth and realize that I completely wasted it. Sometimes I just sit with that crappy feeling for days as I agonize over my lost personal development opportunities. Ultimately, what gets me out of that mental trap is the obvious realization that I would not actually choose to do my past differently because it would prevent me from having the family that I have now.Read More »

Responsibilities, Privileges, and Consequences

Several years ago I created this 2-page document to help me keep my kids on track. I find it hard to stay on top of a person, telling them what to do all the time, reminding etc. It drives me mental. I do not like to be the person to cause grief or strain, which really gets in the way of doing what a parent needs to do. I often turn to lists, charts, posters, etc to help defer the work and pain.

In the doc, I try to be fun or silly, but real and honest. I wanted it to be more than a list of instructions and more of a guide for life.

My Responsibilities as a Good Person

Morning Responsibilities

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Parenting Tip: Don’t BE the Bully

Kids going to school in the 80s and 90s did not get the same exposure to “bullying” as kids do now. The bully back then was a real stand-out kid, the stereotypical macho, hyper-aggressive, low-intellect, unhygienic, knuckle-dragging waste of human flesh. Well, that’s I looked at them.

The Bullying Paradox

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