Making preschool drop-off without tears

Whenever I go to drop Little Dude off to preschool, I see that some kids have trouble saying goodbye to their mom or Dad. Surprisingly, these kids aren't new there, but my son's friends who have been going there for months. In fact, sometimes, my own little guy is very reluctant to leave my side. 

If you have a child in preschool, you are probably familiar with this. Relapses happen often with toddlers and preschoolers, and the same goes for settling into school. I'm using the term 'school' in this post to mean nursery, preschool, and even kindergarten. Preschoolers still don't have much control over their feelings. Their comfort level at school may change, depending on factors such as whether they had a good night's rest, how they are feeling, or if they face any issues with other kids. Every child is different. 

I've already shared tips on gently easing your child when they first start going to preschool. Even if he or she has settled in, you may still occasionally face tears at drop-off time.

Tips for making sure your child goes off to preschool or kindergarten smiling, and not crying.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that drop-off time is free of tears, or at least more relaxed:

1. Get them involved in planning

Little kids love to help, so get them involved in packing lunch. Ask your child to pick a favourite snack for school the next day. They can also choose their outfit. This firmly places their minds into accepting that they are expected to go to school the next day, as part of routine. I don't do this every day with my son, or he would be eating chocolate chip cookies every day! But sometimes, when I anticipate tears, I will ask him to help me pack his lunch and include a treat.

2. Settle issues at home

Don't leave home with your child in an agitated or anxious state. If there are specific issues you are aware of, deal with them first. If you can't do it immediately, talk about what you will do to make things better later. Reassure them that you will do what you can to ease their worries. There are times when we get to school a few minutes late, because I want Little Dude to be in a relaxed state of mind before we leave home. It's really better than him staying anxious for the whole time he's away from me.

3. Talk about the day ahead

On the way, talk about the activities your child will be doing in school that day. It's great if your child's school gives you a schedule, or ask for one. This is how you can generate excitement and get rid of some anxiety. Sometimes, I show photos of or explain the kind of activity they will be doing that day. Sometimes, we do follow-up activities or repeat what has been done in school if it was fun for him. 

4. Speak to the teacher every day

Take a few minutes to talk to the teacher every day. I feel that this really helps me keep track of my son's day to day development. I also use this opportunity to discuss any particular issues, which he may be facing, even if they are small. For instance, Little Dude likes sipping water throughout the day, and in school, he didn't have easy access to his water bottle (to prevent kids sharing them). This made him uneasy. I spoke to the teacher about it and worked out a way for him to get to it when he wanted. It's best to work with the teacher and assistants to work on solving these kinds of specific problems. 

Try to incorporate these practices in your daily routine, and you won't have to deal with any tears at drop-off at all. 

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1 comment

Unknown said...

Loved it. Thanks for sharing

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