With a new school year approaching, we thought it would be helpful to share some school drop off tips.
Drop off, especially at first, can be a hard transition for everyone - the children, parents, and teachers!
Katie, an RECE and Montessori Toddler teacher, has 10+ years of experience starting a new school year and has welcomed many new children into her classroom.
Here are her 8 tips to make drop off easier:
1. Create a Predictable Drop Off Routine
It’s helpful to create a drop off routine with your child. This appeals to their need for order and creates predictability.
For example, you could tell them in advance, “I’m going to give you a BIG bear hug and 5 kisses at the door and you’re going to go inside with your teacher. I’ll be back to pick you up when school is finished.” Make it special and just for drop off.
Once you say goodbye, walk away and let the teachers take over. If they are experienced teachers, they’ve handled these types of new transitions countless times and know what to do.
2. Your Energy is Important
Your energy is important because your child will pick up on how you’re feeling. Ideally you're feeling confident, calm, and optimistic.
Even if you're feeling a little sad, it's best to keep your energy calm until your child is in the classroom. It's wonderful to share your emotions with your child but expressing them right at the classroom door will likely make the day harder for your child.
3. Talk About It
Young children often understand more than we give them credit for. On the way to drop off, you can talk to your child about school and what to expect.
Follow their lead and avoid pushing the topic but you can talk about the different fun parts about school, i.e. there are so many fun toys to play with, nice children to play with, a friendly teacher, new books and songs, etc.
4. Give Them Something to Look Forward To After School
Young children don’t really have a concept of time so part of your drop off routine may be giving them something to look forward to, like “We can go to the park after school” or “I’ll bring your bike when I pick you up and we can go for a bike ride.”
These types of comments are also helpful for the teacher to hear because they can create dialogue around it and remind the child throughout the day “Daddy said you’re going to the park after school, what do you like to do at the park?”
5. Don't Sneak Away
This is difficult for the child because they will eventually realize you’re no longer there and it’s very upsetting for them. ALWAYS say goodbye.
6. Don't Visit
Try to avoid walking by the school throughout the day. Seeing you may confuse or upset them when they realize that you're not there to pick them up.
7. Validate Feelings
If your child is sad or having difficult feelings at drop off, it can help to validate those feelings - “I can see that you’re sad. I love you so much and I’ll see you after school."
8. Avoid Bribery
Try to avoid bribery unless you’re prepared to “reward” them every day. It can become an expectation and add another hurdle to drop off once you've removed the reward.