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Dropping Off at Daycare or Preschool
By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Discipline Solution
Does your child dawdle, complain or fuss when you drop her off at daycare or preschool? Some children have a difficult time adjusting to changes. They like things to flow in a predictable way. Anything that upsets their current activity is cause for alarm. These children require a bit more thought to help them maneuver the changes they encounter in their day.
Create very specific routines.
Consistency can help your child be more comfortable. Very specific means that you do and say the exact same things every time you drop her off and pick her up. For example, park in the same area, enter through the same door, approach the cubby, hang the coat, check the job chart and comment on the day's assignment, give two hugs and two kisses and say, "See ya later alligator!"
Let your child know when you will arrive each day.
It's comforting for a child to know that you will be there at a certain time. Tie in your arrival with a specific activity, such as after snack time, and let your child know when to expect you.
Schedule an adjustment period.
When you drop off your child, and again when you pick her up, allow a five-minute adjustment period. (The time is worth it, as you'll save at least fifteen minutes of fussing!) When you arrive at the center allow your child to play or show you something for five minutes. When it's time to leave, use a fun indicator, such as a tickle on the neck, or hold up your key ring and have it tell your child (in a funny voice) that the car is waiting and ready to go.
Have a fun routine for the drive home.
Leave a snack bag on your child's seat with different contents every day, such as graham crackers, dry cereal, pretzels, or fruit. Play a certain game in the parking lot as you walk to the car, such as counting all the red cars you see, or counting your steps. Mention something that your child can look forward to at home, such as reading the new library books, or Grandpa coming over for dinner.
Don't cater to the complaints.
If you try to hard to convince her that everything is okay you may just make her nervous. Instead, stay light-hearted and have confidence that everything will be fine. Most children stop crying within five minutes of a parent's departure. Ask your daycare provider if this is true for your child. If you'd like, call the center when you get to work or arrive at home, so they can reassure you that your child has finished crying and is playing happily.
Don't get mad.
Your anger will just make your child fuss and cry even more, and it won't solve a thing. It's also a very unpleasant way to start the day (for both of you.)
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) by Elizabeth Pantley. Visit Elizabeth's website at http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth.
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