AMOS & CELIA HEILICHER MINNEAPOLIS JEWISH DAY SCHOOL

Easing Separation Anxiety this Fall 

Whether your young child is just learning to walk or getting ready to go to their first day of preschool, leaving your child can be hard. Seeing your child upset and cry out to you is tough for any parent. As a new school year begins, children will experience change - new classrooms, schools, teachers - and change may come with some anxiety. We spoke with Heilicher school counselor Andrea Hansen, and she shared a few key strategies to help ease these transitions.

  1. Be quick, yet loving - don’t linger. You don’t want to prolong the inevitable, so be firm in saying goodbye and giving hugs and kisses. Then it’s your turn to leave. Don’t sneak out; it can create distrust.
  2. Create goodbye rituals. If your child is old enough, come up with a fun way to say goodbye. This can be a handshake, special hug - whatever works for your family.
  3. Be positive - Your child feeds off your energy, so stay positive and reassure them that you will return at the end of their day. Being on time for pick-up is important to establishing routine and trust with your child.
  4. Practice - Start leaving your child with familiar people for short amounts of time. Gradually increase your time away and the situations your child is in.
  5. Be realistic and consistent - Kids have good days and bad days just like adults. Being consistent can help children understand boundaries and learn independence - stick with your plan.

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The Passing of A Year, The Crossing of A Sea

Isn’t it ironic that we celebrate our hurried exodus from Egypt, one in which we did not even have time to let bread dough rise, with a meal that is so full of preparation and organization it is literally called “order”? The seder plate is even laid out from chazeret (lettuce) to charoset (fruit and nut mixture), helping to ensure the order of the meal is followed and no mitzvah is passed over. We scour the house in advance of the holiday, searching for chametz (forbidden foods), and we arrange to sell the rest, as a way to ensure there is none remaining in our possession at sundown on the first night of Pesach. It is remarkable that we remain so devoted to the detailed preparation of a holiday designed to mark when we went from bondage to freedom without time for even the simplest food preparation.