5 Tips to Make Drop-offs Easier

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Morning drop offs at childcare can be equal parts happy and harrowing. You’ve earned this time. You’re going to remember that you’re a productive human – eat with both hands; discuss toileting with precisely no one for a full eight hours. Your child gets to have an incredible day learning, making friends and having fun, in a warm, secure and resource-rich environment. It’s supposed to be win-win for all.

So why are they clinging to you like their lives depend on it?

Change, especially when it involves saying goodbye to a parent or carer, can be tough. But there are a few things you can do to make the daily drop-off a little less distressing.

Say goodbye

It might be tempting to sneak off once you see that your child has settled in to an activity (especially if you anticipate tears), however this can cause panic when they do look up to see that you’ve suddenly gone. Leaving without a proper goodbye creates a sense that this is the place where a parent or carer takes me, then disappears.

Emphasise where you are going and when you’ll be back. We commonly believe that young children are oblivious to what’s happening around them, but this isn’t necessarily true. Your child really will appreciate you trying to explain what’s going on. For example, “I’m going to work for a little while. You’re going to play, then have a nap. After snacks, I’ll be back to get you.”

Don’t linger

Drawing things out, especially if your child is upset, can exacerbate things. Try to keep the drop-off less than 15 minutes. In most cases, it’s not going to get any better after that point, especially if your child can still see you. It’s terribly hard, but say goodbye and let your child recover their emotions in the arms of a trusted Educator. Don’t go back in, even in your child is upset. Instead, give the Centre a call an hour later to make sure the tears have stopped.

Remember that your child feeds off your emotions

Morning drop offs can be just as hard for parents, however our kids often perceive and reflect our own emotions. Make sure your body language says, “You’re going to have the best day!” Smile, be positive and keep your hugs warm and friendly. If you’re showing signs of distress, chances are your child won’t feel comfortable enough to say goodbye.

Bring a comforter or security object from home

These can be transitional objects that can make the separation easier for children. It might be a favourite toy to help them feel close to you throughout the day.

Talk positively about your child’s day

Discuss the process of saying goodbye and what your child might encounter that day. What sorts of activities will there be? Which Educators will they see? Who will they play with? We all need to rush to work but it’s important to give your child time to settle in. Their feelings of trepidation are very real, but showing them that you trust the environment, that you greet each Educator, and that their first experience away from home will be a positive one, will make all the difference in their early learning journey.

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