It’s a Wednesday morning and the dog won’t come in from the back yard, you just spilt coffee on your new work shirt and your child decided today was the day she was going to break out last year’s halloween costume for the perfect school outfit. And all of this happens before you even get out the front door. So how in the world do you manage to get your child into school efficiently with all the distractions that pop up from the parking lot to the classroom? Or when attempting to say goodbye for the day?
Transitions are hard, there is no getting around that. Whether it is transitioning your child from a parent to their teacher, from outside play time to lunch or from the bathroom to nap, transitions can be tricky. Luckily for parents and teachers everywhere, there are ways to make these periods of transition easier! Read below for some tips on the best way to have a successful morning drop off. Then try it out for the next week or two. We may not be able to dry clean your shirt or get your dog to move faster, but hopefully we can help make at least one aspect of your morning a little easier!
- Establish a Routine
Humans are creatures of habit and children thrive on routine. Whatever your morning routine involves, make sure to establish it, ensure everyone who drops off knows what it is it and then stick to it! Many of our preschool children have younger siblings so their morning routine involves dropping their brother or sister off first. Some enjoy giving a certain amount of high fives while others like to “push” their parents out the door.
The ideal routine will involve getting to the classroom, helping your child switch from their outdoor shoes to their indoor shoes, giving a hug and kiss goodbye and allowing them to walk into the classroom with their backpacks independently. We know it can be tough to say goodbye and that your child may go through phases of tears or requests for more hugs. While as a parent this can be hard to say no to, it is even harder for your child if you linger! We give you permission to keep your goodbye short and sweet or the routine that has been established goes out the window and the transition into the classroom can take a much longer time. It is also important to remember that your teachers are here to partner with you. If you are having a particularly difficult morning, we are happy to help your child transition into the classroom. If you need a little encouragement after a hard goodbye, ask your teacher or someone on the admin team for an extra picture to be sent to you that morning. Most kiddos settle in about 2 minutes after their parents leave and an extra picture might be just what you need to happily move on with your morning!
- Stay in the parent zone
We often get asked about the square space taped onto the ground by the doors going into each classroom. This is what we call the “teacher zone” throughout the day because it is where the door moves when opened and closed. The children know not to walk into that space for safety reasons! It also doubles as a great boundary when dropping your child off. Because they have learned not to cross that line, you can use this as an easy to understand boundary for your morning. Additionally, when the morning work cycle has started, it can be quite disruptive for the children already in the room working to have parents moving in and out of the classroom all morning during drop offs. Staying behind this line ensures the children who are already in the classroom are respected and have time to focus on the work they are doing without being disrupted.
- Make it brief
As mentioned above, it is so important to be brief during your goodbye’s at the classroom door because the child understands that after they say goodbye, it is time to join the classroom fun. The longer you let your child walk around the school or ask for “just one more” when you need to leave, the harder it will be for you to actually walk out. If your current routine has become one that takes longer than you would like, let your teacher know and they can assist you in transitioning into a routine that is more manageable.
- Don’t look back!
This one can be tough, but… don’t look back! It is interesting to be a teacher on the other side of the classroom door during a tough drop off when the child is sadly looking at the door, waiting to see if their parent re-appears. It only takes a few seconds for the child to realize it is time to begin their day and completely transforms their attitude, throwing their backpack on their hook and running to see their friends. As a parent, since you don’t get to see this quick transformation, you may be stuck with the image of the sad face peering after you. Rest assured, if your child takes longer than a minute or two to transition to the classroom on a daily basis, we will be sure to inform you! Otherwise you can feel confident that they are happy and peaceful once the goodbye is over.
There you have it! A few easy ways to make your mornings go smoothly and help your child transition into the classroom a little easier. And never forget that anytime you leave feeling sad or bummed about the way a goodbye went, lean on the team at your school for that extra encouragement, picture or phone call telling you how much fun your child is having. Go team!