Before I opened Sunrise Montessori, my son, John, not yet two years old, was growing bored in home daycare, so I looked into local Montessori schools on the advice of my big sis, Allison. Changing environments was very hard on him, harder than I expected. The tears and anxiety he experienced were intense and instead of getting better over time, they got worse. After two weeks of guilt-sobbing on my way to work, I finally switched with my husband so that he dropped off and I picked up. And thank goodness I did! Rob reported to me after a couple days that John was no longer getting upset and had stopped crying at drop off. I was baffled. What was he doing that resulted in such a turn around?
There is an art AND a science to successful drop offs. Here is the skinny to make your child’s drop offs drama-free for BOTH of you!
What you should NOT do…
- Don’t pick different times of day to drop off (the BEST time of day to drop off at Sunrise is before 8AM when the children are playing outside)
- Don’t drop off after the work period has begun (Imagine walking into work late with everyone looking at you…your child experiences the same thing when they have to walk into the classroom after 8AM)
- Don’t sneak out to leave until you’ve said goodbye
- Don’t promise gifts for good behavior
- Don’t let your child see that you’re upset (Your child picks up on how you are feeling and copies it, so if you’re upset, they likely will be, too)
- Don’t treat Mondays like Tuesdays (Children are just like us…Mondays are hard to get back into the routine, so take your time on Mondays when you drop off and give yourself an extra minute for a longer hug)
What you SHOULD do:
- Establish a routine to your drop off (Children crave routine and knowing what to expect)
- Make your drop off short and positive (Nothing to worry about but a wonderful day ahead!)
- Trust your child’s teachers (Set up a meeting to get to know your Lead Teacher if that’s what you need to be more comfortable)
- Once you’ve said goodbye, leave. Do not linger! Lingering = A lack of confidence, in both your child and the school, neither of which is helping your child’s state of mind (Think of pulling off a band aid…better to be fast before building up the pain in your head than stretching it out)
- Ask the teacher for help if your child is having a really hard time and for whatever reason, your routine is not working (The longer you stay when your child is having a meltdown, the longer your child takes to calm himself; if what you are doing isn’t working, it’s okay to ask for help…your caregivers want you to!)
- Talk about it ahead of time with your child if they are old enough to understand; visit the school before the first day so your child is familiar with the environment and knows who her teacher is (“When we get to school, you will hang up your backpack, go to the door that leads outside, and Mommy will give you a kiss and a hug, say goodbye and you will go outside to play with your friends.”)
- Have a special thing you do with your child after hugs and saying goodbye (Do a high five, blow a kiss, make a silly face)
- Bring a picture of your family for your child to look at during the school day (At Sunrise, every classroom has a Family Wall where children can go and look at their picture when they are missing you or feeling anxious, which soothes them)
It turns out that Rob was naturally gifted at the suggested ways the experts recommend dropping off our child. He told John what to expect, gave him a high five after saying goodbye and left. It wasn’t easy for me to figure this out, but I learned. Eventually John was excited to go to school. I finally knew we didn’t have to worry about this problem again when he didn’t want to leave at the end of the day. Out of all the problems you can experience in life with your young child, this is a good one to have.
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!