At the beginning of the nursery year and throughout the coming terms we always have a mini task at hand convincing nervous new parents that their children really will be ok once they have dropped them off.
We have a few children with a few tears as we always do, but these very quickly diminished over a week or so. We anticipate it taking longer than usual but it actually always turn out to be a lot quicker.
What we so often deal with is separation anxiety for the parents rather than the children, at least the children get to go and play, have fun and even have a cuddle if they’re sad. They’re not the one walking away feeling like the worst parent in the world for abandoning their child – where is their cuddle?
If you are a parent who has struggled (or still is) with the dropping off process, read on for a few top tips on what works best in our experience.
Be positive when talking about nursery/school/the childminder
Don’t discuss any doubts or fears you have in earshot of your child, you’d be surprised how much they take in even when you think they’re not listening.
Give your child the opportunity to leave you independently by going to toddler groups (when life is normal again) and indoor soft play or leaving them with a trusted family member
Be aware that your anxieties can quickly become theirs.
Trust in the settings’ settling in process
Share photos of the nursery and activities through the website or Facebook page with your child
When dropping off
Be positive about it and give yourself plenty of time to get ready and get there – stressing about running late is not helpful for either of you
Show your child you’re happy and that you trust the staff by your energy and body language
Give them a hug and a kiss and hand them over to a member of staff
Keep your voice light, say bye bye/see you later and then leave.
Believe us when we say they’ll be fine, we wouldn’t leave them sad and crying all day and will tell you if they may need a little longer/more support
Call us if you want to check on them, we’ll tell you honestly how they are doing
Let them see if you are upset
Hesitate, linger or hang around, even if they start crying – this just makes them sad and upset for longer and makes it more difficult for the staff to comfort them
Be tempted to sneak off without them knowing, this will only make them worse and not trust that you are actually coming back
Try to sneak a peek through windows or gates – they may see you and get upset
Worry if they cry, we’ve been doing this a long time and are great at distracting, comforting and getting them busy
Remember it is ok for you to feel a bit anxious; they’re your most treasured possession and it’s a big thing to hand them over to others. And for your children, allowing them to feel sad sometimes is actually ok too, it gives them the opportunity to learn how to process their feelings and deal with emotions in other situations, turning your child into a well-rounded and resilient little person.