Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tips for Successfully Navigating the Preschool Drop-off!

I'm a single parent and the only one bringing income into my family so it's kinda obvious that I use preschool/daycare options for my Tigger.  Tigger isn't naturally an extrovert or a happy morning person but we've seemed to manage and get the most out of our separations.  I'd thought I'd go and leave my wisdom for any new moms out there who are terrified of leaving their kids at the daycare/preschool and how to make sure it becomes successful for both mother and child.  I've compiled my own Do's and Don'ts and thought I'd share.


  • Do tour the facility with your child before he/she starts.  This way your child can see the kids they'll be playing with and meeting the adults in the classroom
  • Do pack a lunch if possible.  I know some places have lunch provided, however, with your own lunch, you can be creative and know what your child is eating is truly healthy
  • Do make their lunches fun.  I've found that Tigger eats more when the sandwiches are cut in cute shapes and there is a variety of fruit, veggies, and the main course is different every day
  • Do chat it up in the car before school and after school on the way home.  Sing.....not only does it relieve stress it promotes language development (you can't tell I'm a Speech Therapist can't you ha!)
  • Do the "assignments" given to them with them and promote it as the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Even if you're busy or tired from work, it's great together time and it shows that when need to finish something, we do it quickly and concisely.  
  • Do let your child know you are leaving and give them a kiss goodbye.  Not only do kids learn to separate in a healthy way, but children like Tigger who are more sensitive and not "crowd" people, will learn that school is important and that sometimes we need to go and be in places that we don't like but it is part of the routine and it will be over soon.  
  • Do give the head teacher a small gift from time to time for holidays or teachers appreciation week.  Child development teachers as well as all teachers in general get a bad reputation or get talked badly about most of the time whether in the political world or with people that don't understand what teachers do all day....the teacher will appreciate the gesture of gratitude.  
  • Don't prolong your goodbye's.  It doesn't do the child any good, makes them more anxious and less likely to calm themselves in a timely manner after you leave.  If you must cry because you are feeling sad, wait until you're in the car.  I've done it, but I learned that however hard it is, to say my goodbyes and go to the car....the result, my child has no separation issues when it comes to school and she's happy to be there even if she's just as happy to leave when I get there in the afternoon.  
  • Don't leave when your child is busy without saying goodbye.  Tigger needed to know I was going to come back for her.  Saying goodbye tells the child that this is the routine, yet that they are loved and they can go about their day.  
  • Don't stop communication with the school.  You need to know what's going on.  Does your child exhibit behaviors there that are not the norm in your house or vice versa?  The exchange of ideas can help a child be at his/her best in all settings not just school and not just home.  
  • Don't keep your kid in a school you don't feel comfortable in.  If you've done everything a parent should do in order to have your child be emotionally healthy at school and your kid is unhappy or hates going to school (if you're bad mouthing school in general without reason, prolonging your goodbyes with phrases like "my poor baby...mommy's sorry you have to stay here" this doesn't count!) go see what is happening and change schools until one is a good fit.
Sometimes children need to be in preschool or daycare.  If that is the case, make sure you optimize the best opportunity for both of you to be happy, healthy, and thriving.  


Last Mom said...

Great list!!! With ten or so years working in early childhood, I can say with confidence that you are right on! Yay for you and for Tigger! And yay for Tigger's school staff! I'm sure they appreciate it!

Here's one to add: STAY OFF YOUR CELL PHONE when picking up and dropping off. I see people rushing in and out while talking on their cell the whole time. Devote those few minutes twice a day to your child. Talk to the teacher. Ask about the day. Tell the teacher good morning, goodbye, thank you. It is rude to the staff to be on your phone and taking away from your child.

Ticia said...

Interestingly enough a friend of mine said for her daughter the routine of the same lunch was comforting to her. So that one might be dependent on the kiddo. But, otherwise I AGREE with that list, it's also true in dropping off for Sunday School or any similar thing.