Tips for a Stress-Free Drop-Off
New beginnings for families can bring a stir of emotions and fears. The first day of school can endure a lot of stress and separation anxiety concerns for both children and their parents. In particular, we know the first day drop-off period of the first day is the hardest. This is why we have compiled our 5 greatest tips in order to ensure a stress free drop-off.
Tip #1: Establish a Routine
It is important to establish a consistent routine for a successful drop-off. This begins from the moment you wake up, to the moment you leave your child. Ensure in your routine that you and your child have enough time to wake up, get ready, and eat before heading out. Most preschools and childcare facilities will have a set day routine that you should follow. Establishing and sticking to a routine will help your child feel comfortable and in control of their day.
Tip #2: Keep it Short and Sweet
Saying goodbye to your children, especially on the first couple of days, will bring a lot of emotions. It is important to remember not to skip out on saying goodbye when your child looks away. Some parents think it will benefit their child if they leave as soon as the child looks away or is looking around the room. This can create more of a scare in your children and a greater feeling of abandonment. When saying goodbye, it is crucial to keep it short and sweet and save your tears for the car ride or home. Children are able to pick up their parents' emotional state and if they sense you sad or upset, they will feel the same way.
Tip #3: Talk About it and Practice
It is crucial that your child is aware of when their first day is and what it all entails. You can utilize photographs of the space, and the educator to help your child get comfortable. Ensure you have visited the location with your child at least once prior to the first day in order to help aid in the transition process. It would also be beneficial to practice your drop-off routine at a nearby friend’s or babysitter’s house.
Tip #4: Connect with The Educator
Connecting with the educator on a personal level it will help ease your mind and nerves about this whole process. When you are dropping your child off on the first day, have a conversation with your educator in front of your child. This interaction will show your child that the educator is someone they can trust. Your children are likely to notice if you feel comfortable in a situation which is why it is important to connect with the educator.
Tip #5: Set Realistic Expectations
Understand that no matter how much you prepare and put a routine in place, the first couple of days will be a hard transition. It is crucial to set realistic expectations for both your child and yourself. Reassure your children by leaving them with something to remind them of you when you leave. This can either be a photograph, a note in their lunch bag, or something special you both share. For an example, in the book, The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn, it is about a raccoon who when she leaves her baby, she always kisses her palm first and says “I love you”. This symbolizes for the baby, that their mother, or parents’, love is in the palm of their hand and for whenever they feel scared, they can hold their palm to their cheek and feel the love.
Drop-offs are stressful, but we do hope that the 5 tips we provided will make that day easier.