kids

7 tips for every parent who struggles with the childcare drop-off.

C&K
Thanks to our brand partner, C&K

One year ago, my youngest child started kindy.

Looking back, I remember feeling many mixed emotions. Neither of my boys had ever been in childcare, so this was new for me and for them. How was I going to let go? Would he be okay without me? Is he ready? Am I ready? All these questions raced through my mind.

After rushing through the morning rituals of dressing, eating breakfast, conducting search ops to find the missing shoe, and getting my two boys buckled up in the car on time, there was just one thing left to do — say goodbye. I’m not sure if it was harder on him or me. Probably, the latter.

If you’re feeling worried or your child suffers from separation anxiety, you’re not alone. Here are seven tips I’ve found that have helped me:

1. Talk through Day One beforehand.

Having a chat with your child on the morning of their first day about what they might expect can help them feel comfortable about new surroundings and experiences.

Months before my son started at C&K , a not-for-profit with more than 350 kindys and childcares in Queensland, I began discussions with him about what was going to take place. And I’m sure it paid off — his first day of kindy went off without a hitch.

Without being too helicopter, I spent time mentally preparing him to feel that this was going to be a natural transition, one of independence and maturity. We took advantage of orientation sessions that were on offer and each time we would drive past his future kindy, I would point it out. When drop-off day neared, he was excited.

2. A little piece of home can bring a lot of calm.

Sometimes bringing a ‘security object’ can help relax your child and give them a sense of security in a new environment, says Jane Harpley, C&K’s Regional Manager for North Queensland.

“If your child has a favourite toy or blanket, bring it to kindy or childcare with them,” Harpley writes on C&K’s website. “It can act like a little piece of home and can help reduce their anxiety or stress.”

Whether a favourite blanket or a cherished toy, a much-loved reminder can help your child transition from home to childcare or kindy.

3. A few light minutes can lighten the mood.

My son seemed to appreciate the time I spent in the morning getting involved in an activity with him. His C&K educators encouraged us to take our time to settle into the rhythm of the morning, whether that was by playing with play dough or blocks or completing a puzzle. Feeling welcome and unhurried helped both him and me. This won’t always be able to happen – but we can only try.

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4. Make ‘arriving’ part of the fun.

Keeping up a routine for you and your child will help them settle with ease. It’s a great idea to keep this schedule consistent for at least the first three weeks, which can be the hardest for them. My son loves a good routine so we kept it up all year.

Upon arrival, Jack would put away his lunchbox and water bottle. Then, we would talk about an activity he’ll be excited to do, before a quick hug and kiss goodbye.

5. Don’t ghost on the ‘goodbye’.

Sneaking away without saying goodbye while your child is preoccupied isn’t going to make it easier. Trust me, they haven’t forgotten about you.

This is a surefire way to leave them stressed and feeling abandoned and alone when they realise you’re gone. Always make sure to give them a big hug goodbye and reassure them you’ll be back at pick-up time.

Drawing out long goodbyes can be counterproductive. Contrary to what you may think, lingering on can actually cause an already anxious child to feel worse. Keep it prompt but loving, and rest assured they’re in good hands.

6. Cry if you need to, but only afterwards.

It’s true that children pick up on our stress. If you’re feeling anxious or emotional about parting ways with your cherub then chances are pretty high that they’re going to pick up on it.

Manage your emotions and project confidence knowing they will thrive as they learn new skills and create friendships. Save those tears for when you pop back in the car.

7. Know that there is support waiting for them. And you.

Saying goodbye is hard, but trust that your capable educators will be able to redirect your child’s attention after you leave. They will contact you if there is an issue and most children do settle relatively quickly once their parents have left.

I felt at great ease with Jack’s educators at C&K. If I had any concerns, they would talk me through them without judgement. Don’t be afraid to get to know them and have a chat about your child’s needs – it’ll put your mind at ease.

If you’d like more tips and information about starting childcare or kindergarten, visit candk.asn.au.

C&K

"Learn through play at C&K. See how we foster a lifelong love of learning in each child, and prepare them for school and beyond. Let your child engage with our professional nurturing educators and see how their days will be filled with loving care and wonder.

C&K has cared and educated for over one million children since we were established in 1907. We have over 350 kindergartens and childcares around Queensland, and as a not-for-profit, children come first in everything we do."

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