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Soothe Separation Anxiety with SODAS

Children often experience a mixture of emotions when they join a new sports team, start a new grade in school or are put into a situation that requires them to interact with new people. While some are excited, others may be fearful. Stomachaches are a common symptom of separation anxiety, which children may experience when they are afraid of leaving their parents for a new environment. If your child is struggling with separation anxiety, the SODAS method may help him or her overcome the fear and leave the anxiety behind.  

The SODAS method of decision making gives families a structured process to go through together when facing challenges. Just as certain bubbly sodas can help calm an upset stomach, you can use SODAS to help a child who is afraid to start school, ride the bus or join a new sports team.  

Situation - The first step to solving any problem is defining it. Talk through what is causing your child to feel afraid. Ask specific, open-ended questions like "What makes you feel afraid?"  

Options - Come up with options for how your child can solve his or her problem. Let your child list good and bad options.

Disadvantages and Advantages - Work with your child to identify and list the disadvantages and advantages of each option you listed in the "Options" step.

Solution - Help your child choose a solution based on which option has the most advantages.  

If the stomachaches or other symptoms continue, even after you address the separation anxiety issue, have a doctor examine your child to determine if something of a physiological nature could be going on.