It’s hard on every working parent to say goodbye to their kids. Between tears, crying, and clinging, daycare drop-off can be really rough and a stressful duty on both baby and parents!
The first thing that parents need to be aware is to not let your child pick up on your mood. Projecting happy confidence during drop-off could make your child feel better about staying behind. No matter what, do not let your child know you are feeling sad or concerned about dropping her/him at daycare.
It is important to make this transition as smooth and quickly possible. Be positive about the experience your child will embrace at the daycare during the day.
Drop off should be a fast process and full of love, ensuring your child that he/she will have a fun day and that you are always going to come back for him/her. As soon you decided to extend your stay at the daycare, your child will get the feeling that you will be joining them for the whole day. Plus, he/she will not bond with the teacher because mommy or daddy will always be the best choice.
Sticking around until your child calms down might seem like a good solution, but it only makes it harder on your child. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving entirely, head out to your car and wait for the daycare to call you to say your child is settled and happily playing (for most kids it will be a matter of minutes).
Children sometime are visual, and they are very smart too. Start the drop off process from your ride to school. Does not matter how old is your baby, start talking about how great will the day be, that you love them to pieces, that you will always be back for pick up and make it more visual for them. For example: What will be a common routine for you with your baby? Do you usually buy groceries with your child? Is your child in pull ups? Diaper? Bottle? Love cookies? Well a very reassuring way to say good bye will be giving something trustful to your child to hold to it. You can tell your child something like: “mommy is going to Publix to by your milk, and will be back soon”, “mommy will go to Wal-Mart to buy your diapers, and I will come back soon”, etc.
It is important that when you come back make sure to show to your child that item (even if you have it from home). Show that Milk or diaper that you just bought when you were gone.
As soon you approach your child’s classroom for drop-off, enlist a caregiver to stroll out of the room with your baby or engage your toddler with a fun toy or task. Getting kids involved in an enjoyable activity from the start can help them feel more comfortable at the center and more ok with your leaving.
Don’t sneak out. Instead, give your child one hug and one kiss, tell him you love him, and—this is important—let him know when you’ll be back to pick him up. Then leave, even if the daycare teacher has to peel your little one’s arms from the death grip off your neck.
It is important for you not to feel guilty and to feel like you can call any time to check on your child. Most daycares do not mind parents calling to make sure that the day is going smooth. A phone call can give you such peace of mind, and just remember that the daycare personnel are your partners in helping you raise your child.
Maria Dos Santos
Owner and Regional Director – My First Academy