My oldest is about to start kindergarten and I'm worried about separation anxiety. He gets upset easily and has a hard time calming down. I'm worried about how he'll do all day at school.
It can be so hard to cope with the separation anxiety that comes with being away from our children for long periods of time. The meltdowns and clingy-ness make it even harder.
My youngest was two-and-a-half when we first had to put him in daycare. Previously he had been with my mother, which is about as good as it gets for childcare.
Amanda and her youngest son.
Man, was it TORTURE dropping him off at the daycare. He would get a little clingy even at my parents, but nothing like this!
It didn't matter how much we hyped it up. Once we walked into that classroom, the reality would hit him and the meltdown ensued!
I literally had to peel him off of me and just walk out. Some days I could sneak out when he was distracted with a toy.
I know a lot of parents worry about how this seemingly traumatic experience might be scarring their kids for life.
Today's article will help you learn ways to better manage this anxiety and feel better about the separation.
Talk About It
Whether it's prompted by a Llama Llama book or Daniel Tiger episode, have a conversation about the transition and their feelings. It's okay if they don't seem to understand or if the talk only lasts for a few minutes.
Lay the foundation that it's okay to miss you and that you will miss them, reminding them that you will be coming back to pick them up.
List all the fun things about daycare or school. At our daycare, my youngest would get to paint and do other really messy projects that we didn't do at home.
Do Your Kid a Favor
We don't want our kids to be upset, but we aren't doing them any favors when we try to make those feelings go away for them.
You have probably heard of helicopter or lawnmower parenting, where the parents insert themselves too much into their child's life. They solve their children's problems and remove common obstacles for them.
Unfortunately, this type of parenting can cause A LOT of problems for kiddos down the road.
When children are parented in this manner, they are more likely to experience anxiety (the exact problem we think we're fixing), low self-esteem and lack of confidence, under-developed life skills (cleaning, organization, communication, relationships), and poor coping skills (low frustration tolerance, emotional dysregulation). Check out this article from Parents.com for more info.
Be the Change
Ok, so you realize you're not doing your kiddo any favors by fixing their feeling for them, but you still feel guilty and dread dropping them off.
So, how do you feel better and make everyone's life a little easier?
Change that way you think about that separation. Our anxious thoughts generate that anxious feeling.
It does not scar him for life to be so upset when I leave.
He won't hate me forever for working instead of staying home with him.
She will get along fine without me.
If we change our beliefs that the separation is so horrible, then we can change the way we feel about it.
Changing our thoughts may not directly change our children's behavior, but we can model acceptance of the situation, which shows our kids that it's really no big deal to be away from us.
I reassured myself by having faith in the daycare providers' abilities. I knew they cared about my child and were capable of comforting him. Maybe they wouldn't do it exactly the way I would, but I reminded myself he was in good hands.
I asked them one time how long he cries after I leave and they said it was less than 10 minutes, typically. I would tell myself this as I walked out, almost in tears myself.
My youngest doesn't attend daycare anymore. And now when we drive by the building, he talks about his friends and has even asked a couple times if he can go play with them, again. So, that tells me he’s not scarred for life.
Thanks for taking the time,
How do you handle separation from your kiddos? Share in the comments below!
Have a question for Ask Amanda? Click HERE.
“Love and logic” is how Amanda Campbell defines her parenting style. As I sit down with her over coffee to discuss her burgeoning business, her experiences as a mother, and how she is really an introvert, it becomes apparent that she exudes this philosophy in all areas of her life.
After years of working in public mental health, Amanda opened the doors to her very own practice as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in May of 2015. Amanda has that calm but knowing demeanor you would really want in a therapist. Something about her just makes you want to talk, which is probably why I can’t help share all the quirks of my husband’s I would like her to help me fix. Every therapist loves getting hit up for free advice, right?
Amanda specializes working with moms, couples, and adults and older adolescents with anxiety. She likes to refer herself as the therapist for “worry warts and distant couples”. Amanda enjoys the freedom of being her own boss and choosing her own clients but admits that being her boss has come with a huge learning curve. In addition to the mental health component of her job, she has had to learn how to do advertising, marketing, social media, and client procurement. “Basically, everything outside of the actual therapy has been my biggest challenge,” she said. But Amanda isn’t looking back, only forward. She stays current in her field, has started a clinical consultation group, and serves as the resident expert for theCityMoms of Greater Indianapolis.
When she isn’t fixing marriages and calming people’s worries, she is busy raising her two sons: Trajan, 7; and Parker, 4. Her husband, Ryan, is also an entrepreneur. He left a career in the healthcare industry to become a mobile personal trainer. Amanda said her family is certainly learning to sync their calendars and embracing the flexibility of two entrepreneurial parents. As a mother Amanda tries to be fair and loving at the same time. She explained that her parenting style has evolved over time, and she has learned to be more empathetic and less authoritarian. She believes that it’s important to give her children a voice. It is in moments like these where it is apparent why she is such a successful therapist.
As a family the Campbells enjoy doing crafty things, dumping all of the Legos out on the floor and having a family build, and going to the IMA and library. On her own, Amanda enjoys reading and cooking. She has been a theCityMom since January 2016 and stays active with play dates and the Mompreneur meetings. Amanda originally joined to make friends for herself and to socialize her younger son Parker. She appreciates that the group allows “other moms to put themselves out there.” She would love to see more daytime events downtown.
And yes, even though she talks to people for a living, Amanda is a self-described introvert. It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy people, but rather she is not always comfortable in social settings. She has learned to hide it well and opening a private practice has given her a huge boost of confidence and the drive to just “plunge into it”. Thank goodness, because I have some more questions to ask her…
And now, what you are dying to know…
What five items would you bring to a desert island?
2. Bag o books
4. One of those knives that has all the other gadgets. Swiss army knife?
What are you reading right now?
1. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner
2. The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
What’s the weirdest thing in your purse?
I always carry a lot of napkins. I have some fruit strips and crayon packs in Altoid tins.
What is your best recent mom memory?
My son Trajan wanted to take his blanket outside. I of course didn’t want him to. He asked me, “Mom, what are you really worried about?” We talked it through, and the therapist in me was so proud of him. I loved being able to reason with him.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I play Candy Crush. It’s a nice distraction :)
Be sure to check out Amanda's Website www.busymomslifecoach.com
And stay tuned next month to see who Amanda thinks should be the September Mom of the Month!
Mississippi Pot Roast
Recipe from Belle of the Kitchen www.belleofthekitchen.com
If you missed out on my last recipe (http://www.thecitymoms.org/crock_pot_creamy_pierogi) let me fill you in on my cooking style: the less work the better. I am a fan of convenience, healthiness, but most importantly convenience.
As I was meal planning this week I stumbled across this recipe from Bell of the Kitchen on Pinterest. It appealed to me on multiple levels. First, this recipe had a minimal number of ingredients. Excellent. Second, it required only one kitchen tool, the CrockPot. Even Better. And third, it allowed me to continue my ongoing quest to cook a roast that doesn’t suck. Challenge accepted.
3-4 pounds chuck roast (I used two, 2 lb roasts, because that’s what Kroger had)
1 packet Au Jus gravy mix
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
4 pepperoncini peppers
¼ cup butter, cut into slices
**If you are feeling extra lazy/efficient use a disposable CrockPot liner.
Place the meat in the CrockPot. Cover with the two seasoning packets. Add the four peppers and the butter slices. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
I have to say that this might be the best roast I have ever cooked. Unlike the dry slabs of meat I usually produce, this roast was incredibly juicy and flavorful. We barely had enough leftovers for my lunch the next day. I served this with Bob Evans mashed potatoes (available in the refrigerator section of your grocery store) and a bagged Chopped Kale and broccoli salad bag. I can’t set the bar too high. Enjoy!
Scrutinizing consumer reports for the perfect backpack. Eagerly awaiting your child’s classroom and teacher assignment. Turning bargain shopping for school supplies into an artform. Yes, getting the kids off to school can be stressful, but it is typically a really exciting time for a family--a time of anticipation, new beginnings, and hope for the future.
Now imagine not knowing how you will ever afford a backpack or school supplies. Imagine not knowing which school your child will attend because you aren’t sure where you will sleep tonight. Unfortunately, this is the reality for nearly 5,000 homeless students in Indianapolis. The barriers and challenges facing homeless students can be incredibly overwhelming, but there is one local organization trying very hard to erase some of those barriers.
For the past 15 years, School on Wheels has been striving to provide one on one tutoring and educational advocacy for school-aged children impacted by homelessness. The non-profit, founded by Sally Bindley, serves as a “homework club” for some of the city’s most vulnerable students and also assists with backpacks, uniforms, and other educational needs. School on Wheels also assists the parents of homeless students who face their own host of challenges, and tries to empower them to be their child’s best educational advocate.
In the organization's first year, they were able to tutor at one shelter and reach about 50 students. This past year, however, School on Wheels operated in 13 partner locations and served just under 430 students. That kind of reach relies heavily on volunteerism. “We couldn’t operate without volunteers”, said Volunteer Manager Samantha Breeling, “They are the heart and soul of what we do. They are the wheels on the school of wheels.” Volunteers can serve as volunteer tutors but also in administrative and support roles. This is an opportunity for the whole family to get involved. Children ages 11-13 are allowed to volunteer along with their parent or guardian, and children age 14 and older are allowed to volunteer alone with parental permission.
As you prepare your own family to head back to school, it is a great time to reflect on the challenges other local families may face at this time of year. If you feel fortunate enough to be in a position to help, School on Wheels wants you!
Do you have what it takes to be a volunteer?
Volunteers are asked to commit to one hour a week for one Semester. School on Wheels tries very hard to accommodate the schedules of its volunteers with tutoring shifts available during the day as well as later evenings.
Volunteers are required to submit to a background check, complete a tutor application, and participate in a short phone interview. If accepted, volunteers will attend a two and a half hour tutor training.
Complete the application here:
Not ready to volunteer yet but want to stay connected? Follow School on Wheels on social media:
I lost a friend recently. He died. He was young. It should not have happened. I deal with death on a daily basis, but this was different. He had such a huge and positive impact on everyone around him. And there is just a huge gaping hole in the lives of everyone who knew him. I wish he had known the impact he had and just how irreplaceable he is.
I think for most people, losing someone you care about causes you to re-examine what you have. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day of our lives. The stress of jobs, paying bills, grumpy kids, the house that always needs cleaned, the laundry I just can’t keep up with. It’s too easy to let joy get lost in the shuffle.
During the past month there have been moments of intense sorrow. There has been anger. There has been fear. I have also seen people come together to help each other, to be there for each other. My husband and my son have been my anchor, reminding me that I have so much to be grateful for.
I am a veterinarian. I solve problems on a daily basis and sometimes lives do hang in the balance. I want to fix it all, and I struggle with the reality that I can’t always do that, no one can. Most of the time I make my peace with it. There are diseases and injuries that I can’t repair. Processes that I can’t stop. Sometimes all I can offer is a peaceful end. I am honored to be in the exam room when a family says good bye to the dog or cat they love. It is the last give the give to a beloved pet. A last act of love.
This is different. I don’t like situations where there really is no solution. There is no way to repair this loss, and I am still coming to terms with that. It’s too easy to look around and see all the negative in the world. It is everywhere. In order to get through a very difficult time I am forcing myself to look for the good. The world seems overwhelming, so I have been focusing on the joy in the day to day of my life. Looking at a typical day, I have been blessed. Here is what I hold on to.
- The laughter of my son. Seriously, is there anything better than the sound of a baby laughing?
- A big hug from my husband. He makes me laugh even when I feel like I don’t want to. And nothing is better than a great big hug from him. Watching John and Jack together makes my heart so happy.
- Rocking Jack to sleep. It is a brief pause in my day and the only time Jack holds still long enough to snuggle. That quiet moment where we rock in the nursery with the lights off as he finishes a bottle before going to bed. In that moment there is peace.
- What I do matters. Whether it is raising my son, helping a client and patient, or just being there for someone in need. The day to day of my life matters. I can’t solve all the world’s problems, but I can still make a difference in my own way.
- Have faith. I have had my days, especially over the last month, where life just seems really hard and makes me question everything. Deep in my heart though, I have faith. I believe in something/someone bigger than myself even if I don’t understand why things sometimes happen the way they do. I focus on what I can do and try to make a difference in my own way.
Focusing on good wherever I find it is helping my own heart heal. If you get one thing out of reading this I hope it is the absolute fact that you matter. Who you are and what you bring to the world makes a difference. The lessons I will carry forward from my friend are to laugh and to do what you love. Life is just too short for anything else.
High-waisted khaki pants. Patterned kerchiefs tied around necks. Lots and lots of men. If these are the images that come to mind when you imagine the “Boy Scouts”, it is time you got to know the modern face of scouting--a place where women leaders are welcomed and family time is the top priority.
Stacy Barry, a Realtor at Century 21 Scheetz, said that scouting has been an adventure for her whole family, not just for her nine-year-old Hudson, who joined the Scouts in first grade. “There is never a discussion if he is participating in Scouts or not,” Barry said.
And now her second son Parker won’t have to wait as long to follow in his big brother’s footsteps, because as of this year the Scouts are allowing Kindergarteners to join!
Barry, like many modern moms, is busy to say the very least. She balances a highly successful career in real estate with two lively boys, but she says the commitment to the Scouts is worthwhile and a priority in her family. In addition to being a “huge melting pot of kids” the Scouts teaches practical life skills, important values, and keeps kids active and engaged in their community. And no longer is the Scouts a “boys only” club. “The scouts have changed a lot,” Barry said. Moms and Dads are welcome to participate. In fact, the leader of Hudson’s den is a woman, and there are many female leaders throughout the organization. Barry believes that women bring many strengths to the program such as organization, practical advice, and a strong knowledge of age appropriateness. At the end of the day, the Boy Scouts is a family affair, and all are welcome to participate and volunteer.
Michelle Weber, Graphic Designer and Co-Director of theCityMoms of Greater Indianapolis, said her six-year-old son Thomas is so excited to be able to join the Boy Scouts as a kindergartener: “He loves science, nature and exploration. The Boy Scouts seem to have it all. He was very excited to see all of the STEM scouts has to offer and cannot wait to be old enough to check that out”
How It Works:
Prospective Scouts (Kindergarteners and up) can register starting August 25th at their local elementary school or at www.joinScoutsIN.org.
Scouts are organized into dens, with one to two leaders, and dens are included in a pack, which typically encompass an entire school.
The Boy Scouts requires a very low financial commitment. Scouts pay a minimal fee to join and are required to purchase a uniform and t-shirt. They do participate in fundraising efforts throughout the year to sustain the den activities.
“It is a lot of work for the parents, but it is worth it,” Barry said about the commitment. Especially with Cub Scouts, it is expected that there is a parent present per child. Most Scouting events are very family-friendly. Barry said she and her husband typically take turns attending events, and her husband is an assistant den leader.
Weber said, “My husband and I plan to attend Joining Scouts Night at Thomas’ elementary school to learn more. We were both scouts, growing up, so we know there is a level of involvement that each parent commits to each den. It is a little exciting to think of experiencing all of that, again, with our son!”
What Do They Do?
Scouts participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, and learning safe knife skills. They also volunteer and give back to their schools. It is service learning with an emphasis on the great outdoors.
Weber said, “My hope is that my son will get to build upon the interests he already has while learning basic life skills to help him be successful. I also expect that he will have A LOT of fun!!!”
Blueberry Oatmeal Layer Bars
I love blueberries. They might be my favorite fruit. So you can imagine my delight when I learned about Driving Wind Blueberry Farm which is located only 10 minutes from my house in the heart of Indianapolis. My daughter and I have stopped by to pick blueberries there each of the past two summers in early July. She’s three, so I end up doing most of the picking but she does love their blueberry graham ice cream from Lick and resident donkey.
This year I picked about ten pounds over two visits, and later bought another five pounds from Wildwood Market. That’s a lot of blueberries. We used a lot of them fresh and froze the rest. I spent a copious amount of time looking for new blueberry recipes. The one below is my own creation, inspired by many other bloggers, namely Hummusapien. I didn’t take detailed pictures while prepping, but they were so good I decided they had to serve as my next blog topic. Next time I make them I might try infusing a little rosemary or basil into the jam and crushed almonds into the crust just to be adventurous. These are not overly sweet, so we ate them as a special breakfast treat.
Makes 9 bars
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30-35 minutes
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8x8in baking dish and line with parchment. Makes it much easier to lift out.
- Heat a small saucepan over medium and add blueberries, chia seeds and maple syrup. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Use a potato masher mash up the berries. Allow to cool.
- Mix the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Add applesauce, maple syrup and coconut oil.
- Set aside a rounded half cup or so of the base mixture and then spread the rest evenly into the pan. Top with blueberry mixture, spreading evenly with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the rest of the oat mixture on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into 9 bars.
- Eat within a few days or freeze for later.
Last year the Indiana Dairy association had a contest: who makes the best mac and cheese? My husband tagged me in their post on twitter because we think I make some pretty sweet mac and cheese. So, I entered the contest. This was no easy thing because they wanted a recipe and I make food off of the top of my head most of the time. To make matters worse, hubby didn't think “any cheese without mold on it” was a suitable ingredient. So, it was really hard and I was not optimistic. For good reason, too. I lost. I wasn’t a finalist last year but I got 4 free tickets to the fair and a nice swag bag of consolation prizes.
Fast forward a year and the Indiana Dairy folks are at it again. Except this time its grilled cheese. I am not known for my grilled cheese prowess, in fact I seldom make them because my oldest child hates american cheese. But, our IN Dairy pizza cutter from last year’s swag had been left on the stove when it was hot so it melted and I thought to myself: “Self, we could spent $12 on a pizza cutter, or we could lose this contest and get one for free!” Obviously, I opted to lose the contest again. We have 4 kids and one income: $12 is a lot of money!
Imagine my surprise when, instead of a package full of swag, I get an email telling me I’ve qualified as one of 8 finalists! Hey, wait a minute. I just needed a new pizza cutter here. This is bananas. Never in a million years did I suspect I would qualify. I saw some of those other grilled cheese’s on Instagram. One of them had pulled pork on it! Mine doesn't have pork! Mine is really very boring! I’m toast! Cheesy grilled toast! Its a lot of fun to tell people that you’re awesome and qualified for a grilled cheese contest, its another thing entirely to have to make 4 sandwiches in public and serve them to people to be judged.
In the next few weeks the organizer of the event called me a few times to confirm the ingredients in my recipe. By this point I’d already forgotten my “recipe” since I pretty much made it up. So I'm reasonably sure that I overestimated the size of my slices and that this sandwich will have way too much cheese on it. She asked if I wanted particular brands of bread or cheese. My response of “I really just buy whatever is on sale…” seemed super lame. She told me that one competitor wanted specific cheese that was made in Indiana, probably by artisans with access to magic cows who tap dance and sell chicken nuggets or something. I can’t stress to this lady enough how much I think she should really disqualify me and send me packing. I am not a chef. I’m just a chick who likes to get swag in the mail and has a reasonable degree of culinary ability. But, alas, she didn't disqualify me.
Its 8:33 in the morning the day of the contest. I haven't even gotten to the fair grounds yet and I have already imagined 500 ways I could embarrass myself and all of my ancestors. God help me if anyone asks what I did to prepare for this thing because the answer will be that I took a sleeping pill so that I wouldn't be up all night imagining all the ways I could perish in a grilled cheese related incident. I haven’t practiced my sandwich at all. Because goodness knows that I’d end up burning myself, because that’s my level of competency. I’m working on reminding myself that I’ve been saying and doing stupid things for 30+ years now and I’m still a relatively functional human being. Worst case: I lose but I got my whole family into the fair for free. *shrug* Thats not so bad, right?
…Uh oh… what if I don't get a consolation pizza cutter?! I’m going back to bed.
In my early twenties, a girl I grew up with died in a car crash. As with anyone who dies too soon, it was hard to understand and hard to forget. By this time in my life, I wasn’t really friends with her, but I had some close friends who were. So it felt too real and too close to home.
In sixth grade, her birthday party was the first boy/girl party I went to. It was momentous at the time, but looking back, it was probably just a big let down. Boys stood on one end of the garage and ate all the snacks while girls stood on the other end of the garage pretending we wanted to dance while no one actually danced.
Sixth grade, what a crazy time.
Now years later, Facebook keeps suggesting I be friends with her. Now, after all these years of her being gone, Facebook thinks we should connect.
Every time I see that suggestion, it makes me sad all over again.
She’s gone! I want to yell at the screen—stop suggesting her!
Then I worry about all the other people that are being reminded of her absence every day by a social media website. I wish someone could just log in and cancel her account. Because it would make me feel better. Not her parents who have to struggle daily without their daughter or her close friends who feel a tangible void in their lives; I want someone to deactivate her account so someone who knew her 15 years ago can be less uncomfortable.
I wonder how often these great and wonderful things we love to incorporate into our lives are actually backfiring. How many automatic responses, birthday reminders, and friend connections we have that aren’t real anymore, that bring about pain when they–through a little computer magic–come back into our lives.
When we found out we were pregnant in December, I downloaded a baby countdown app on my phone. Then in January, when I had a miscarriage, I deleted the app. But somehow I must have inadvertently signed up for approximately one hundred different email reminders about this baby that no longer existed. Because at least once a week, I get an email about prenatal advice, how many weeks along I am, or what I should be buying for the baby growing in my belly.
Except there is no baby.
No matter how many times I unsubscribe to an email, another one comes the next week in its place. When I’m least expecting it and, sometimes, not equipped to deal with it.
For the most part, the whole surprise pregnancy and miscarriage time feels like a foggy dream: not real, hard to remember, and some uncertainty about me being involved in it. I’m detached in a weird way.
Then a handy email reminder comes along, and I’m smacked in the face with it again.
Sometimes the memory just stays for a moment and other times the memory sticks all day. Sometimes it comes with joy and sometimes it comes with sadness.
But thanks to automatic emails, the reminder always comes.
It just makes me wonder how much of this life of being connected with technology, is actually beneficial.
Because sometimes it just hurts.
Originally published on Trusty Chucks in March 2013