Do you have a child that just can’t handle preschool drop-off? I have 3 children and my youngest is what is known as “Mommy’s Girl” which is otherwise known to me as “She Won’t Go to Anyone Else if Mommy is Around”. It can be tiring and draining especially when school drop-offs become so difficult that you consider just not even taking her. Or leaving her with a trusted babysitter is so difficult that you find yourself not scheduling as many date nights.
She only goes to preschool 3 days a week for half days. This is not very much but I believe is well needed for her social development and my sanity. 🙂 The process of leaving her at the door was getting more and more difficult instead of easier like everyone said it would at the beginning.
I know that she was having a good time once I left. The teachers told me it was like a little show for me and once I actually left the building she had no problem getting involved with the activities and friends. Also, our babysitter would text me a picture of her moments after I would leave the house and I would see her happily playing with her toys. This let me know that it was all just a problem with transition at the door so I came up with a few things that I have helped tremendously.
- Leave quickly! – This is the number one thing that I have to remember. I am also a people pleaser so I feel badly not saying a good hello to the teachers and other mothers at the door so I had to email the teacher to discuss that I would be starting to do a quick drop-off and that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to say hello to everyone but it would be easier on Britton if I just walked her in the room, gave her a quick hug and left immediately. The teacher was in full agreement that this would be extremely helpful and that she would help take her coat off and hang up her bag.
- Have your husband be the last one out the door. – If you can work it out that another family member is the last one to leave it helps tremendously. When we have a babysitter come my husband and I plan for me to walk out the door first and for him to say the final goodbye by himself. I usually give a hug to all my kids and my husband stays seated with the kids so my daughter doesn’t realize that this is the big goodbye. Then after I am out the door for a minute he does the last few instructions to the babysitter and he says the official goodbye to the kids. Britton loves her Daddy but doesn’t freak out when he leaves. This also works at Sunday school. We both walk her in so I can say hello to the teachers but he walks her over to the toys and plays a little with her while I sign her in and then I walk out the door and a minute later he says the goodbye to her.
- Bribe. – Yes, I know it sounds bad but really it is another word for positive reinforcement, right? 😉 This has worked extremely well for our daughter to start making drop-off a positive experience. She picks a toy that she wants to earn on Friday if she does all 3 preschool drop-offs without crying during the week. We have done a new outfit for her doll and We only had to do this 2 weeks in a row and she all of a sudden is walking into her preschool class room with no problem now. If she gives me any problems in the next few weeks we will do it again to remind her that it can be done and she will earn a small prize. This girl loves new toys!
I must say that after 2 weeks of her earning a toy she is walking right into her classroom with ease. I have to remind myself to not linger and say a quick goodbye and all is well. Just using these tips for a couple weeks can really change the routine and helps your child to know that it can be a positive experience.
We all have these dreams of a lovely hug and a kiss goodbye with even a little wave but sometimes it takes some work to get there. Let me know if any of these tips work for you.
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Great tips! I’m a preschool teacher myself and I also think it’s very important to say goodbye and not just sneak out… so many parents think this is the way to go but saying goodbye and letting your child know you’ll be back to pick them up later gives them reassurance and will eventually gain trust that when you drop them off, you will be coming back to pick them up later. Thanks for sharing these tips!
I completely agree. I always say goodbye, but if it is with a sitter I just try to make my goodbye not the “official” goodbye. Not sure if it was clear but I just do it first and let my husband stay for an extra couple minutes and then he does the final goodbye. 🙂 She is totally fine if I am leaving but my husband is there and then is calm when he leaves. It is always such a game to figure out these 3 and 4 year olds. 🙂
Awww I am sure its a hard time for both mommy and the kids. You mommas are too smart, bribing would work even with me not just kids haha, JK. I am no mommy so I can only imagine how difficult it is for the kid to say bye-bye to the lovely mom and walk inside the door.
xx, Kusum | http://www.sveeteskapes.com
Those sound like solid advice and ideas. I have also always practiced NEVER sneaking out. They learn to trust that you will return. I am a little worried about my twin “mommy girls”starting kindergarten in the fall and they have never gone to preschool. I am enrolling them in some summer programs to help the transition. Thanks for doing a realistic post!
The quick drop-off method and having Daddy do the drop-off are the ones that worked best for me. Also, we discuss something fun she wants to do at school before we even leave the house. It helps her start the mental transition earlier in a calm setting. This also gives me a good talking point to start the conversation after school about how it went.
Another tip: Absolutely no sugar and no screen-time before school will help tremendously.
Good idea about trying no screen time or sugar before school too. I am not wondering if her worst days are the days she eats a terrible breakfast…hmm…
Zequek Estrada says
I need to pass this on to my sister that her husband might need to be there. Her son will be starting preschool soon, and he’s very clingy. I’m not sure if my nephew is like Britton, but I hope so. I’ve also heard that it helps to take your child to school beforehand and let them meet the teacher.
Ernest London says
Thanks for the tips for taking your kid to preschool. My wife and I are getting ready to take our son to preschool for the first time, and we want to make it as easy as possible. I like that you mentioned to leave as quickly as possible. Lingering will only make your child feel nervous for longer. I will make sure to do this.
Violette Lebrac says
I really like the idea of leaving first and having someone else stay behind so the kids don’t think it’s a big deal. My twins are going to be starting preschool, and they always cling to me when I leave. Maybe if I take my husband with me and have him leave after me, they might not make a big fuss about it.
It always seemed to work best for us for me to leave first. 🙂 Good luck with preschool. I was also blessed with a great teacher that would text me (if drop off went really bad that day) a few minutes later to say that they had calmed down and were already playing with a friend.
My sister plans to enroll her child in a preschool. However, she’s a bit worried that her child will cry when she leaves her in school. So, I sent her this article to help her drop-off her clingy child. I never thought that leaving immediately and having the husband leave last will help stop a clingy child.
I hope it helps!
Kayla Rogers says
I didn’t know that it helps to have another family member the last to leave. My sister has a daughter and she needs to go to school this year. My mom suggested enrolling her in a preschool and shared this article with her.
I hope it is helpful for them.
Virginia Adams says
When we drop a clingy child in preschool & come back the child begin to cry. The teachers even feel difficult to stop it. So to fix this problem we have to apply some tricks. After dropping our child in the school we should give a big hug & leave quickly. If we stay there for long ,our child will feel nervous after we leave that place. When we leave home for school, we must talk about some fun that our child wants to do at school. It helps the child to remain cool & his nervousness slows down as time passes.
Ridley Fitzgerald says
You’ve got some great tips for taking kids to preschool. I’ve seen some kids just shriek before going in, so I want to avoid that with my daughter. I’ll be sure to drop her off and get out of there fast, like you said!
Rachel Frampton says
I’m planning to enroll my son in a kindergarten school, so he’ll learn to mingle and improve his communication skills. Dropping him off will be hard; therefore, I’ll make sure to walk him in and set hello to his teacher. Your suggestion of bribing him with a toy seems like a great idea as well.
Alice Carroll says
Thanks for the tip about how positive reinforcement can help in convincing a clingy child to go to school. I plan to enroll my son to a preschool soon so I’m starting to think about how our daily routine would be when that time comes. I am already using positive reinforcement to convince him to eat his vegetables so I think I will be able to handle using that strategy again in case he would dislike the idea of going to school.