It’s 6am. You’re trying to get yourself ready, your family ready, and get everyone out the door to drive to daycare. You get through the rush and bustle of the morning, walk through the doors of Leap Academy, get to your child’s classroom, and it happens. The drop off meltdown.
It’s something most parents face at some point in their child’s early childhood education. It’s a normal part of development to not want to separate from a parent or a familiar caregiver. Paige Brickl – Twos Teacher and Maria Fitz-Gibbon – Owner would like to give some tips and tricks that can help you and your child on those days where drop off gets a little tricky.
1. Have a Consistent Plan
Consistency is key when it comes to children in this age range. Here at Leap Academy all classrooms use schedules, routines, and consistency to help the day run more smoothly. This can benefit you at home as well. Make sure to talk about drop off with your child. Be clear about what is happening and when.
2. Short & Sweet
Part of a consistent drop off is the length of time it happening. It can be confusing for a child to have a three minute drop off one day then a ten minute drop off the next. One helpful trick I like to offer to parents is this “Cubby, Hug/Kiss, Goodbye.“ Help your child put their belongings away, give them an extra snuggle, then say goodbye. Maybe even allow your child to shut the door for you to help them with this transition. Over time this short and sweet, consistent goodbye will help reduce drop off anxiety.
3. Reassure Safety: I will always come back
This is something that can really help a child feel more comfortable with separating from a loved one. Just a gentle reminder that they are only being left for a little while goes a long way. This promise to come back can also be reinforced by a child’s teacher throughout the day if that child gets nervous. “Remember our grown ups always come back for us.” For those children that are a little more anxious, letting them know that Leap Academy is a safe place with safe adults that will help them can also ease some of those nerves.
Some children need a little extra help in the mornings. If you have had me as your child’s teacher you know my love of visual schedules. A lot of research supports the use of visual representations in early childhood. A visual can help a child make real world connections with what’s happening in their day. If your child is a little nervous in the morning think about making them a simple schedule. It can be as simple or as complex as your child needs. The important thing is that it is used consistently and positively! A visual morning schedule can greatly reduce drop off anxieties.
5. Sometimes It’s Just That Day
Children, like adults, have their own wants and needs. Sometimes they have big emotions that they can’t yet communicate with us. If your child has a rough drop off, don’t panic. Maybe they didn’t sleep well, don’t feel good, or just woke up a little bit nervous that day. Each day is a new day and a new drop off. And each day may look different and that’s okay.
If you have any concerns about your child’s drop off please don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher. We are here to help support you and your child’s day at Leap. Just remember some drop off nervousness is developmentally appropriate! It is part of your child growing up and won’t last forever. But we are here to help you through it.
At Leap Academy we are happy to provide you with any help you may need as you tackle the dropping off process. Give Leap Academy a call and let us talk with you about our team of teachers and how we can assist you. We have two locations to choose from: Waunakee (608.850.9696) and Madison (608.204.9696).