I have two kids, ages 3 and 1. They started going to nursery school, but it seems to be too difficult for them. Every time I leave, they worry and cry. How do I make separation easier for them?
While you are clearly concerned about them, separation anxiety runs both ways, and you might also have some anxiety about your child's worrying and crying from temporary separation. Separation anxiety for children is an understandable emotion, given that (a) their primary caregiver is leaving, and (b) their new caregivers are strangers. One way to help reduce anxiety is to include the new locale, the nursery school, into a safety zone. How do we help to bring the new caregivers, the teachers, other children, and new location, into the circle of trusted "family" for the child? One way is for you to model the trust you have in the new caregivers.
That means working on your own anxiety about your child, and not experiencing anxiety for them as he or she adapts (with a struggle and some tears). It is difficult for most of us to adapt to radically new experiences, but it rarely ever proves "too difficult." This fact has been shown consistently in studies: We too often believe and predict that some future circumstance will be intolerable. Children do this too. Usually we do this about novel circumstances. But in fact, in spite of fears, as adults we can adapt to the most drastic changes within a few months—and children adapt even more quickly.