Have a read of my recent blog on listening to an anxious child – my listening superpower!
How can this apply to early years settings?
This article from Hand in Hand parenting describes the same approach for early years settings. It can take more time initially, as you listen rather than distract, but the long term benefits significantly outweigh this. https://www.handinhandparenting.org/2016/11/separation-anxiety-in-class/
I am parent whose child struggled with this for 4 years of school and for whom this approach has worked. I would recommend you have a go. Parents and staff! I would love to hear your comments on how it went!!