10 Drop Off and Pick Up Tips for a Smooth Transition
Below are 10 great tips from BabyFirst’s Early Childhood Expert, Jessica Kohn, for your drop off and pick up routines. Following these can help ensure smooth and stress-free transitions for both you and your little one.
Don’t be rushed. Establish a short drop off routine with your children and stick to it. If you are feeling rushed or anxious, your children will too. Long, drawn out goodbyes often lead to unnecessary tears. The quicker the better...even if they need to peel your little one off of you. It happens to the best of us!
If your children cry, don’t see that as a cue to linger longer. Ask the caregiver to give you a call or send you a text to let you know when your little ones are calm and engaged. It’s rarely more than a few minutes. It is also very developmentally important for children to learn that they can be comforted by others.
Exude confidence. Even if you are feeling sad about leaving your children, never let them know. Children are excellent readers of emotion and can easily internalize your feelings. Tell them that you will miss them but that you know their day is going to be great!
Know your children’s daily schedules and be specific about when you are going to pick up. When you say goodbye, tell them when you will be back, for example: “I’ll be back after you have your afternoon snack.” Young children are concrete thinkers and don’t yet understand the concept of time but as long as it is consistent, they do master their daily schedule quickly.
Never, ever sneak out on your children! Even if they look happy and occupied, always say goodbye before leaving. When parents sneak out, they are fostering a huge sense of mistrust and paranoia in their children.
Give your caregiver some family pictures to comfort your children in case they miss you. Let your children bring a transitional object such as a blanket or comfort item.
Don’t speak of any concerns about your little one in front of them. Little children have big ears and typically their receptive language (what they can understand) develops way before their expressive language (what they can speak). They are listening to everything.
At pick up, don’t expect more than a one or two sentence anecdote about your children’s day. The caregivers are busy making sure that all of the children are safely packed up to go home. Most likely they will not have the time to give you a play by play of your little one’s day, nor is it appropriate. Trust the communication systems your center has in place.
It may sound strange, but some children actually have amazing days in daycare and then burst into tears at pick up. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal! Sometimes the happiness they feel when they see you just overwhelms them.
Show gratitude to your children’s caregiver. Always end the day by saying thank you and wishing your caregiver a great evening. This is a great way to model and set a good example for your children.