Preschool drop-offs can be difficult for both children and parents, but that can change! Here are some tips to help make the drop-off experience more positive for all involved.
Choose the School Carefully
Before you can send your child off to preschool with confidence, you have to be happy with the decision you’ve made. So the first step is to choose a school you feel comfortable with and that you’ve spent time researching.
Do they have educated and highly-trained staff? Do you agree with their educational philosophy? Is the way they discipline respectful? What are their safety protocols? Is it a place you’d like to leave your child at? These are all important questions you should get the answers to. Taking a tour will also give you a good idea of how the staff interact with children and give you a sense of the overall environment. If you don’t feel 100% sure you love it, your child won’t either.
It can be hard for parents to drop their children off for preschool. There are a lot of emotions you may struggle with, especially if they have been home with you for a while. While you should acknowledge your own feelings, be aware of how you might project them onto your child.
Children naturally pick up on their parents’ emotions. If you appear nervous and anxious, they will pick up on that. Instead, try to project calm, cheerful confidence. Smile when you talk about school activities and discuss the exciting things they’ll be doing throughout the day. If your child senses that you are excited and anticipate a good day, they’ll look forward to their time at preschool, too!
Mind Your Language
When you talk to your child about their exciting day ahead at preschool, be aware of the language you use.
You may want to reassure them of their day ahead, so you may say, “Don’t worry darling. Everything is going to be okay. I won’t be gone for long.” While you hear reassuring words, your child hears that school isn’t safe and they won’t be safe until mom or dad comes back to get them. Telling your child that everything will be okay will have them wondering if something is supposed to go wrong. Be mindful of what you say and instead use positive, truthful language. Instead of saying you won’t be gone for long (which might not be truthful), tell them, “I will be back after storytime (or the last activity of the day), and then you can tell me all about your day.”
Pack a Comfort Item
If it’s okay with your child’s teacher, you may want to consider having your child bring a small reminder of home for difficult days. It can provide comfort and reassurance if they are having a hard time, and can be a confidence booster knowing a little piece of their mom/dad/home is with them. Good options include a piece of a blanket, mom or dad’s t-shirt, or a small stuffed animal.
Create a Goodbye Routine
While it can be tempting to sneak away while your child is looking away, that unexpected change can backfire and make for even more difficult drop-offs in the long run.
Routines are great for easing anxiety as your child will know what to expect next. Coming up with a quick and easy goodbye routine will help your child prepare for your leaving. Make the goodbye special by including a unique high-five, whispering an encouraging phrase in their ear when you hug, or kissing both palms of their hands. Whatever you choose to do, make a regular habit of it so your child knows what to expect. This sendoff is also a good way to set a limit for yourself as well – so you won’t be tempered to linger at the door.
Giggle & Grow is a Welcome Addition to Your Morning Routine
Preschool should be a place your child feels excited to return to. We’re ready to help you make drop-offs more positive by being a place your child feels safe and comforted! At Giggle & Grow in Gilbert, Arizona, we focus on the needs of very young children. We strive to make a positive difference in the life of every child by partnering with parents to provide an environment that is safe, nurturing, educational, and individualized. Let us help your child learn, play, and grow.