Dropping off your child to kindy or childcare can be hectic. You can be feeling rushed, they can be upset and all of this can lead to you feeling sad or anxious, making the whole experience quite stressful.
The good news is some simple steps can be introduced to your morning routine to help make morning drop-offs easier and calmer for you and your child.
Jane Harpley, C&K’s Children Services Regional Manager for North Queensland, has been teaching and supporting educators for many years, and gives her top 5 tips for making make drop-off time as smooth as possible.
1. Establish an arrival ritual
Rituals are most likely already quite common in your home. At night you might read a book together before bed, in the morning you might eat breakfast before getting dressed. Rituals provide an opportunity for a child to feel secure in knowing what to anticipate and can learn what to expect.
Establishing an arrival ritual for kindergarten or childcare can allow your child to feel secure and calm, and more aware of what the next step is as they transition from being in your care to that of their educators.
Arrival rituals can be different for each family, and that is okay. What is important is to be consistent and to involve your child in the ritual. It could include greeting your child’s educator, putting their bag/lunch/water bottle away, then walking them to an area of the playground or to an activity that they particularly enjoy. Morning rituals centre around ensuring children feel welcome while creating a sense of belonging.
2. Bring something familiar
Many children have a toy or blanket that can bring them some comfort. These items are often referred to as ‘security’ objects and can be a great tool when transitioning children from home or to childcare or kindergarten.
If your child has a favourite toy or blanket, bring it to kindy or childcare with them. It can act like a little piece of home and can help reduce their anxiety or stress.
3. Talk it through
Talking about the morning and drop off will greatly benefit your child. You can say, “We’re on our way to kindy this morning. I know your teachers have a great day planned for you! You’ll play with all your friends, eat, play with toys and then I’ll pick you up.”
Don’t sneak out the door. Instead, let your child know when you are leaving and say goodbye. If your child starts to cry or becomes upset from the separation, don’t brush over their feelings, and let them know it’s okay to miss you. When you support your children’s feelings of loss or pain, you are helping them understand their emotions, reinforcing your bond and helping them develop resilience.
4. Play together
C&K childcare and kindergartens always encourage parents to take as much time as needed when separating from their child.
In the morning spend time playing, do a puzzle together, look at some of the toys or features of the room together and talk to your child’s educator. This will help them become familiar and comfortable within their environment.
C&K understands that drops off can be stressful and aim to help parents feel relaxed, unhurried and settled during the arrival period.
5. Talk to your educator
Every child is different, and their worries and anxieties are very real and distressing for them. C&K educators are here to help you and your child. Discuss any concerns you have and let your educator know the routines you currently have in place. They’ll be able to give you some strategies and will partner with you to make the transition from home to their kindy or childcare as smooth as possible.
C&K is a not-for-profit organisation that has been offering rich and varied learning experiences for Queensland children since 1907. At C&K, children are encouraged to be involved in play that promotes a lifelong love of learning. We nurture happy and healthy minds, hearts and bodies so every child can achieve their full potential.