Back to School Part 3 – Bridging Separation

This short blog focuses on supporting your child in the morning before they go to school so that they can have a strong sense of holding on to you during the day. 

Remember, your child has been separated from you during their sleep hours and now there is that short amount of time before they will be separating from you again to go to school. Connecting with your child during the morning is key, it may seem like a difficult task during the busy morning but it doesn’t need to take long at all, it’s just tweaking the little things that you do already do.

When you greet your child first in the morning let them know how delighted you are to see them, how you checked on them in the night (bridges back over the separation during sleep), maybe have a shared moment over breakfast. Those sleepy morning cuddles and tender moments mean so much for connection.

It can be helpful to mention to your child some key moments during their day when you will be thinking of them i.e., lunch time, as it really helps them feel their attachment with you despite the temporary separation of the school day. 

Dr Gordon Neufeld refers to this as ‘bridging the divide’ of separation and there are further simple things you can do to ‘bridge’ and help your child hold on to you, for example putting a note in your child’s school lunch or giving them a photo or possession of yours to keep in their school bag. Whatever feels right for you and your child.

Bridging in the morning before school to the time when you will see them again is always well received as it puts the focus on the return rather than the separation; try and be specific about something you will do together after school and then when you pick them up you can remind them “remember I said we would do this together? I have been looking forward to it all day!”. There is absolutely no need for grand gestures here it can be as simple as sitting and having a snack together and doing some colouring or reading.

A wonderful book to pick up is The Invisible String  by Patrice Karst. It talks about the heart connection we all hold with those we love, even when we can’t be with them physically. I read this to my daughter 5 years ago and we talk about it all the time.

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