|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Fostering Independence

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My five-year-old daughter is becoming increasingly more attached to me, so much so that she won't even go to friends' houses to play unless I go. I'm becoming concerned about her starting kindergarten this fall. She has attended preschool two days a week since she was three, but she seems to get more attached to me the older she gets. What can I do to help her feel secure?

A: Begin to work now on gradually encouraging your daughter's independence. Go with her to a friend's house, but explain that you will leave for a few minutes and then return. After she has settled in to play, tell your daughter that you will be back shortly and leave. Walk or drive around the block for 5 minutes, then return and praise your daughter for being such a big girl while you were gone. The next time she plays at the friend's house, leave for 10 minutes, then 15, and so forth. Make sure that the friend's mom is aware of what you are doing and willing to help support your daughter in this.

Your daughter is probably worrying about the next step of starting "big school" this fall and being away from you. Begin talking every night about what school will be like, going through a typical day from the time your daughter leaves home until you pick her up or she gets home on the bus. There are many books available about starting kindergarten; check with your public library or a bookstore and get several to read over and over between now and the first day of school.

Call the school your daughter will attend to find out what hours the building is open. Take your daughter to visit now when there are few people there and walk through the halls and look into the classrooms. You will want to do this several times over the next few weeks. Be sure to take time to play in the playground. Meet whatever staff members are there and introduce your daughter to them.

Talk with the principal about your concerns. Ask him to place your daughter with a teacher who will be loving and understanding if she has separation problems this fall. Also talk with the school counselor and work out a plan ahead of time to assist your daughter if problems do come up.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!