Is a teary drop off at preschool our problem or the kids? What? You mean it could be us (the parents)? In my work, and as a mom, I have found that during most of the difficult transitions and changes it is about me having a hard time letting go of control.
No denying the fact that our kids will get older each year and each year we will have to let them go–and grow–a little at a time. In the beginning of their precious lives, we are in control of every drop they eat and every muscle they move. As preschool or daycare enters the picture, losing control becomes our greatest hurdle. Once we get our emotions in check (and understand we are not alone) we can find ways to make it easier and healthier for our kids to transition into preschool.
- Our children read our verbal and nonverbal cues so our facial expressions and words we use to say, “It’s school time” should be positive and best delivered with confidence and a cheery smile.
- Transitions will be easier when drop-off is done quickly–no lingering. Delaying is hard on the kids and makes us weak. And we must absolutely say goodbye. Trying to sneak out of school or even our home without closure will create more anxiety in our children. They may become clingy because they never know when we will be leaving next.
- Preparation is the key. We must let our kids know what to expect out of the day. Use statements like “I will be back after you _______.” (Fill in the blank with…finish painting, have a snack, wake up from your nap, etc.)
- Leave a lovey or something of ours (sweater or a small purse) to help children feel comforted. Plus, you can say, “When I come back for you I will get my sweater.”
- Partner with your children’s teachers (in all grades). If your child hears you talk negatively (at any age) about their teacher trouble will likely ensue. Our kids are always listening.
What can I guarantee, if you say a quick confident goodbye even if you feel torn up inside? Your child will gain trust in you and he/she will grow in confidence each day. Remember leaving with a smile gives a nonverbal message that you and I will be OK. Then call a friend and cry over your coffee cup, like I did.