Quite often, children who are entering childcare for the first time over the age of one have a rough time dropping-off the first few days. They often act like mom is abandoning them and never coming back, and it’s heart wrenching. We as the adults know mom is coming back in a few hours. We know that they will have activities, curriculum, and crafts throughout the day that will keep them engaged mentally and physically. We know they will have a day full of fun and adventure. We know they will make friends with the other students in the class. But all that knowing doesn’t ease the tightness in your heart when they reach out crying that they don’t want you to leave. So what is a mom to do?
We have found that a routine is the most helpful thing for the little ones who struggle with drop off time. Prepare your child before starting – begin a morning routine that you would follow once you start bringing him/her. Once your child starts – the teacher will work hard from the very start to establish a relationship so he/she is comfortable going to her in the morning. Picking up at a similar time each day will help your child figure out at what point in the day you are coming back. Our classrooms have structured days, as will the majority of Childcare centers, so your child will know after which activity you will pick up and it will help him/her stay calm because he/she will know when to expect you. Between a consistent routine and having a relationship with the teacher, it should hopefully only take a few days to settle in and not be upset at drop-off. You could also take your child and let him/her meet the teacher and class ahead of time to familiarize them with the room, the other children, and the teacher. There is not much to prepare a child for this kind of transition since you don’t have the same environment at home, so we as a center do everything we can to ease children through the transition.