Does separation anxiety rule your world? It’s hard to leave when your child is screaming and crying for you and wants you to stay by his side. These big feelings may be overwhelming for both parent and child, but separation anxiety is actually a normal part of child development.
It isn’t unusual for babies and toddlers to become tearful or clingy (or even have a full blown meltdown) when it’s time for Mommy or Daddy to leave—even if the child is being left in familiar surroundings. Unfortunately, many parents make the separation even harder without realizing. After spending decades in childcare settings, I’ve learned some ways to make drop-off easier.
1. Don’t throw children into new surroundings without warning. Visit a new childcare center or sitter several times with your child before leaving him for the first time. Sit in on circle time or stand nearby while your child’s future caregiver holds or plays with him. Building familiarity will make the transition easier.
2. Talk about what to expect. If he is starting preschool for the first time, read books featuring his favorite characters heading off to school. Tell him about all the fun things he’ll get to do—play, paint, play outside and so on. Go over the plan for drop-off, keeping it upbeat. For example, “I’m going to walk you to your classroom and help you put your backpack in your cubby. Then you are going to have so much fun while I go to work! I packed you peanut butter and jelly for lunch and I’ll be back after nap.” Model that it’s no big deal, and your child will pick up on that idea.
3. Don’t sneak out. I’ve seen many parents sneak out the door as soon as their child looks away. This makes the child more upset when he realizes Mom or Dad left without even a goodbye or reassurance that they’ll be back. These children were sometimes inconsolable all morning. Always let your child know you’re leaving and that you’ll be back.
4. Be quick. On the other hand, prolonging the goodbye is also traumatic. I’ve seen parents drag it out so long that both child and parent are emotionally exhausted—and the parent still hasn’t left! This doesn’t mean you should push them out of the car and drive off. Walk your child in; give him a cheerful hug, kiss, and goodbye; and head out.
5. And keep going. Returning to pick him up again if he cries just delays the process. Say goodbye and go. Call later to check on your child if it will make you feel better.
6. Be on time. Always return on time. This builds trust and will allow your child to become comfortable in knowing you’ll always come back.
7. Repeat. Separation anxiety is a phase. It will pass, but your child may deal with short bouts of it at different points of his development.
Rachael Moshman is a mom, freelance writer and blogger. She has a master’s education with a focus on infant and toddler development. Find her at RachaelMoshman.com.
Zoom over to one of these events and please the vehicle lover in your family! Kids can explore antique tractors at the Plantation Agriculture Museum or marvel at classic cars on beautiful Petit Jean Mountain. Plus, this weekend, enjoy the family-friendly Hot Springs Motorcycle Rally!
17th Annual Fall Swap Meet at Petit Jean State Park: This annual event is hosted by the Museum of Automobiles on Petit Jean Mountain. Classic and vintage vehicles from all over the region will be on display. Sept. 24. For info: (501) 727-5427, PetitJeanStatePark.com. FREE!
22nd Annual Antique Tractor & Engine Show at Plantation Agriculture Museum: Get your engines ready and join us for a fun nostalgic trip to the Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park. The museum invites all hit- and-miss engines and pre-1960s tractor exhibitors along with all visitors. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 6. For info: (501) 961-1409, ArkansasStateParks.com/PlantationAgricultureMuseum. FREE!
“Let's Ride Together” Hot Springs Motorcycle Rally & Trace Adkins Concert in Hot Springs: Rev up for this unique festival that includes a motorcycle parade, vendor mall, field events, poker runs, bingo, a bike show, and concerts! Kids have their own activities on Sept. 6: "Safer Streets," a kid-friendly motorcycle safety class from noon-1 p.m., and kid-approved activities galore from 1-3 p.m. Concert-lovers, mark your calendars to see Eliminator at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 and Trace Adkins at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 6. Sept. 4-7. Ticket price varies. For info: (501) 282-7076, TheHotSpringsRally.com.
We couldn’t help but notice that September has gone to the dogs! Celebrate man’s best friend with one of these canine-themed activities. This weekend, your pup can get a bath for a good cause, and your tykes can attend a free performance of "Go, Dog. Go!" at the Children's Library & Learning Center.
AAC Children's Theatre Presents: "Go, Dog. Go!" at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center: See a special performance of Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre performance of this fun and adventurous show! 10 a.m. Sept. 6. For info: (501) 978-3870, CALS.org. FREE!
Dog Wash at Kroger in the Heights: It’s another chance to get your best friend clean and support the Humane Society of Pulaski County! 9 a.m.-2 p.m. $15. Sept. 20. For info: (501) 227-6166, WarmHearts.org.
Dog Wash at Trinity United Methodist Church: Get your pooch clean and help the Humane Society of Pulaski County! All proceeds go directly to the care and support of homeless and injured animals in the central Arkansas. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 6. $15. For info: (501) 227-6166, WarmHearts.org.
“Go, Dog. Go!” at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre: Find out where the dogs are going and why they are going so fast, as the Children's Theatre presents this captivating adaptation of P.D. Eastman's famous canine extravaganza. Watch the stage explode with a delight of color, motion, music, and dogs. 7 p.m. Fri.; 2 p.m. Sat. & Sun. Sept. 19-Oct. 5. $12.50 for children and adults; $10 for AAC members. For info: (501) 372-4000, ArkansasArtsCenter.org.
Hot Springs National Park Kennel Club Dog Show at Hot Springs Convention Center: Dog fanciers from around the country come for a fun competition that includes conformation, and obedience and rally trials. 5-9 p.m. Sept. 26; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 27; and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 28. For info: (501) 321-2277, HotSprings.org. FREE!
September is busy with school, sports, new friends, festivals and fairs! Make memories with your family by attending at least one of these family-friendly events, from a hot air balloon festival to a bacon extravaganza and everything in between.
19th Annual Arkansas Hot Air Balloon State Championship in Harrison: Bring your lawn chair, $5 for tethered rides and enjoy an art festival on the square, a Corvette parade, a kids fest for CASA and much more. 6-9 p.m. Sept. 5; 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 6; 7-10 a.m. Sept. 7. $5 tethered rides (weather permitting). For info: (870) 741-2659, ArkansasBalloonFest.com.
6th Annual Conway EcoFest at Laurel Park: Visitors of all ages can browse the marketplace of eco-friendly vendors, watch the Cardboard Car Derby, see a butterfly release, participate in interactive activities and hear live music throughout the day. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For info: ConwayEcoFest.com. FREE!
Little Rock Bacon Fest at Arkansas State Fairgrounds: It’s a celebacon! Festivities kick off at 9:30 a.m. with a 5K Fun Run/Walk; the festival opens to the public at 11 a.m. There will be live music, local merchant booths, a kids zone with inflatables, cooking contest for both professional chefs and amateurs, a beer garden, and a bacon eating contest. Be a VIP Taster Judge for $30 to sample and vote on all the amateur dishes. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 13. $10; advance tickets are $8; kids 8 and under are free (up to two kids) with paid adult admission. For info: (501) 372-8341, ArkansasStateFair.com.
Faulkner County Fair at Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds: Mosey over to the Faulkner County Fair, where your family can enjoy a midway, home economic booths, live entertainment, and livestock exhibits filled with sheep, cattle, hogs, rabbits and more. Cheer on the floats as they parade through downtown Conway at 5 p.m. Sept. 16. Check website for complete schedule. For info: FaulknerFairParade.net. Admission FREE!
Lonoke County Fair at Lonoke County Fairgrounds: Enjoy a carnival, pet show, talent show, and parade! Visitors can also explore exhibits, such as livestock, horticulture, arts and crafts and more. Special events include the Redneck Games, miniature bull riding, and lawn mower races. Check the website for more event details. Gate admission is $2, children $1, children under 6 free. For info: LonokeCountyFair.com.
ACANSA Art Festival in Little Rock and North Little Rock: Music, theater, visual and performing arts are featured at various venues in Little Rock and North Little Rock during the festival. Live performances, exhibits, educational opportunities, workshops and activities abound during this exciting event. Events for families and children include Artists in the Park from noon-6 p.m. Sept. 27 and End of Festival Box Lunch and “A Pointe of Chorus” performance on Sept. 28 from 1-5 p.m. Visit the website for a complete schedule of events and to purchase tickets. Ticket price varies. For info: (501) 663-2287, ACANSAArtsFestival.org.
Arkansas Department of Health: Food for Thought Unity Fair at War Memorial Stadium: Enjoy a variety of diverse foods from local food truck vendors, as well as music and other entertainment. Share information and traditions unique to a variety of cultures. Be sure to check out the ADH Center booths for more information regarding Public Health. The event is on the north lawn, along Markham Street near War Memorial Stadium. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For info: (501) 661-2268, Whitney.Haynie@Arkansas.Gov. FREE!
World Fest 2014 at War Memorial Park: Presented by the Little Rock Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission, World Fest offers students of all ages multicultural learning experiences through a variety of activities, including Kids World with activities for little ones, the Global Animal Zone with a fishing derby and aquarium, vendors and more! 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For info: (501) 244-5483, RCDCWorldFest.org. FREE!
3rd Annual Walk, Raffle & Roll Fall Festival at Clinton Presidential Center Park: Join H.D. Arkansas, the local organization for the Huntington's Disease Society of America, for a 1-mile walk around the Clinton Presidential Center. Walkers will earn a free Team Hope shirt and can take part in day's activities, including live music, silent auctions and a raffle. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $10. For info: HDArkansas.org.
38th Annual Sherwood Fest at Sherwood Forest: This one-day festival includes live music, activities, local vendors, a cutest kid contest, and a totally free Kid Zone filled with bounce houses, crafts and games. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. For info: (501) 833-0476, CityOfSherwood.net. FREE!
46th Annual Barn Sale in Camden: Camden Business & Professional Women's Organization presents South Arkansas's largest arts and crafts festival, a one-day event featuring 180 arts and crafts exhibitors and food vendors. This family-friendly event will have plenty of activities for kids. Enjoy the antique and classic car show, 5K run, and live music throughout the day. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For info: (870) 231-6244, BPWBarnSale.org. FREE!
Bryant Fall Fest at Bishop Park: This annual festival includes all the best: a parade, festival food, a Duct Tape Boat Race, and live entertainment. KidZland will keep your little ones entertained with free activities, such as bubbles, spray chalk and games. Other attractions, like the bounce houses, slides and inflatables, require a ticket. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For info: (501) 847-4702, BryantChamber.com. FREE!
Two new exhibits are now on display in North Little Rock, courtesy of the William F. Laman Public Library System. The traveling exhibits are on view free of charge to the public at the library's main location and the Argenta Branch.
In Argenta, visitors can explore an exhibition about the creators of Curious George, the adventurous little monkey made popular in story books and cartoons. "The Wartime Escape: Margret and H.A. Rey's Journey from France" unveils the history behind the children's character, whose creators fled Paris on bicycles in 1940 to escape the Nazi invasion. The Jewish couple, Margret and H.A. Rey, eventually made their way to the United States with their manuscripts and illustrations for the book, "The Adventures of Fifi," which was retitled "The Adventures of Curious George."
In the exhibition, visitors can learn about this journey and view art prints by artist Allan Drummond and archival images. The exhibit will be on view at The Argenta Branch (420 Main St., NLR) through Oct. 26.
At the Laman Library main branch, visitors can enjoy an exhibition about the evolution of the home throughout American history. "House & Home" will include films, construction materials, domestic artifacts and photographs that show how domestic life has transformed. The exhibit also explores issues such as housing inequality, land distribution, and the role of the government in the home -- from the Colonial period to the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in the 1930s.
The exhibit will be on display at the Laman Library (2801 Orange St., NLR) through Oct. 20.
For more info and hours for both branches, visit LamanLibrary.org.
(Image: Allan Drummond, Escape from Paris, 2005, courtesy Allan Drummond and Institute for Holocaust Education, Omaha, NE)
After completing successful summer reading programs, local libraries are returning to their school year schedules this month. Here are a few of the free, regularly-occurring activities at North Little Rock's Laman Library, as well as Central Arkansas Library System's Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center.
All of the following events are FREE!
Babytime at Laman Library in North Little Rock: A lively lap-sit program includes action rhymes, songs and stories for babies 6 months to 2 years old. Each Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Creation Station at Laman Library in North Little Rock: Children of all ages will enjoy a craft or hands-on activities. Each Thursday (except Sept. 4). 4-5 p.m.
Kids in the Kitchen at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center: Register early for this cooking class geared for kids 8 and older. 5-6 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Snack Attack at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center: Children ages 6 and up are invited to make a fun and tasty snack in the library's kitchen! 4:30 p.m. each Thursday.
Storytime at Laman Library Argenta Branch: Kids of all ages are invited to read stories, work on crafts and more! 11 a.m. 2nd & 4th Thursdays of each month.
Storytime at Laman Library in North Little Rock: Stories, activities and a craft for little ones ages 3-5 each Tue. and Wed. at 10 a.m. Sept. 9-30.
Tail Waggin' Tutors at Laman Library Argenta Branch: This program provides a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where children can boost their reading skills and build self-esteem by reading to furry friends. 3:30 p.m. Tue. & 10:30 a.m. Sat.
Terrific Tuesday at Laman Library in North Little Rock: Children of all ages enjoy fun activities every Tuesday (except Sept. 2), such as games, puzzles, crafts, bingo, and more. 4-5 p.m.
Twinkle, Twinkle Storytime at Laman Library Argenta Branch: Babies birth to 18 months old take part in a lap-sit program to encourage interaction between parents/caregivers and their baby. Learn simple nursery rhymes and songs and enjoy short stories, too. First and third Thursdays of each month (Sept. 4 & 18).
For more events, browse our full online calendar here.
Okay, I’m about to amaze you with my math skills. This month I’m turning 46. This year is also Little Rock Family’s 20th anniversary. That means I was 26 when our first issue came out. Yay! I can do addition and subtraction. I jest, because math has never been my strong suit. I’m still figuring out what my strong suit is.
At 26, I was in graduate school, married roughly one year and very far from becoming a mother. That was good, because I was hardly mature enough. Even before we had children though, I picked up Little Rock Family whenever I ran across it. People without children often tell me the same thing. They say they read it every month. I love that, because it tells me that more people than just parents are interested in well-rounded family wellness. A family includes all kinds of people connected by a common bloodline or bond.
Grandparents, parents, babysitters, neighbors, teachers, cousins, brothers, sisters, coaches, friends, aunts, uncles, pastors, foster parents and more are all considered family. People who connect to other people to help younger generations grow and thrive make up a family. Everyone who impacts a child’s life is important and plays a key role in their development.
September 7 is National Grandparents Day, so we’ve focused much of our content on celebrating that golden generation. Grandparents are such an important part of our lives. They tell stories of the past, impart wisdom, provide unconditional love and share their talents. In this issue, the Pratt family originally from Sierra Leone, Africa shares their heritage, heart and home. Good ol’ grandpa and THV 11 anchor Craig O’Neill talks about what’s been going on with his grandkids since he graced our cover in 2007. Also, Family Chatter is serving up yummy comfort foods in “Cookin’ with Grandma”.
You’ll also find the latest on health and wellness for your child, the best family entertainment venues and events, and more. Keep Little Rock Family handy as you celebrate grandparents and set out to seize every day throughout the month of September. Our Little Rock Family is here for you!
Honor the beauty of the Natural State by joining vounteers all over Arkansas in cleaning up our green spaces as part of the Great Arkansas Clean-Up. Clean-up events start this weekend and continue throughout the month of September. Grab your friends and family and take part in one of these five, family-friendly events.
7th Annual Great Crater Cleanup at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Mufreesboro: Volunteers who participate in the litter-pickup event will be rewarded with refreshments and prizes. 9 a.m.-noon. Sept. 6. For info: (870) 285-3113, CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.
Great Arkansas Cleanup and National Public Lands Day at Petit Jean State Park: Help keep Petit Jean State Park clean and litter free! Join the group for a few hours of litter pickup and be rewarded with a free cookout lunch. Following lunch, there will be a door prize giveaway for participants. Groups, please call ahead. Sept. 27. For info: (501) 727-5441, PetitJeanStatePark.com.
Great Arkansas Cleanup at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Place your mark at Pinnacle Mountain State Park by helping to beautify the first and only park in Arkansas located next to a major metropolitan area. Contact the volunteer coordinator at the park for more information. 9 a.m.-noon. Sept. 20. For info: (501) 868-5806, ArkansasStateParks.com/PinnacleMountain.
Park Cleanup Day at MacArthur Park: Bring your family to the park to clean up! Then, explore the park and museum. Meet on the north lawn to receive your assignment. 9 a.m. Sept. 6. For info: MacArthurParkLR.com.
Trash Bash at Lake Catherine State Park: Join the trash removal from Lake Catherine. 8-11 a.m. Sept. 20. For info: (501) 655-2161, ArkansasStateParks.com.
For other opportunities, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com.