8 things you need to remember when there are tears at preschool drop offs

Posted in Preschool.

Every parent dreads that moment. It begins the second you set foot inside the daycare or preschool centre and find yourself with a clingy, teary child who won’t let go of your leg.

Leaving your children in the care of others – whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth time – is never easy, but when children are happy to run inside without fuss, it’s easier to push away those feelings or admit that we’ll miss them.

But when we’re faced with a child who HATES the thought of daycare, who sobs and screams when we leave them at the gate, it’s bound to bring up a whole lot of raging emotions in us. And right at the front, bursting to be let out, is our old friend, mummy guilt.

So to help combat that nasty feeling, here are seven guilt-banishing things to remember when your child cries at daycare drop off.

1. Once you leave they enjoy their day

Take it from someone who has worked in daycare, before and after school care and as a school teacher – kids DO eventually calm down and enjoy themselves. Some even crack a smile, and before you know it, they’re the life of the party!

Woman dropping baby to daycare wearing uggs

2. They may just need a little more time

Granted, settling down takes longer for some children than others, but that is why preschool teachers are renowned as being the masters of distraction. It’s amazing how quickly glitter, glue and pom poms can calm ANYONE down.

If you think your child is a little more sensitive to being left, mention it to their carer, who will be only too happy to help. You can also try some activities or books to help them transition more happily.

3. They’ll have SO. MUCH. FUN.

No one can deny how awesome preschool or daycare can be. I mean, how often do your kids get the chance to learn magic tricks from a real magician, or play ring-around-a-rosie with that huge rainbow parachute? And let’s be honest, the preschool staff are happy to get glitter everywhere. They have industrial vacuums to clean that stuff up. Far better your kids make a glitter-covered-slime-bomb there, than at home!

4. They’ll make new friends

There’s nothing cuter than seeing a kid excited to see their new preschool bestie. Though until they make their first friend, everyone at preschool “is mean and hates them”. Of course.

If your little one is prone to shyness or is struggling to make friends, keep in mind that young children need guidance for making friendships, and peers aren’t always the best examples.

Give them some tips on how to make friends. You could suggest that your child brings something special that interests them (you may need to check with the staff first, and make sure it’s non-breakable). It could be a puzzle, a book or a souvenir that they could show another kid, and maybe make a friend from a shared interest.

Preschool kids sitting together with arms around each other - feature

5. Parenting calls for tough love

There will be many decisions we make as parents that our kids won’t understand at the time. Remember that a child’s logic is still developing and they’ll protest you leaving them with the same passion as they protested going in the bath or eating their carrots the night before. Bathing and eating a balanced diet are in their best interests, too.

Trust that going to daycare is something they may not understand now, but that doesn’t mean you’re not doing the right thing for yourself and your child.

6. Going to daycare helps get them ready for big school

The transition from home to kindergarten is a huge one for a five-year-old – emotionally, academically and socially. Helping your child learn the structure and routine of a daily drop off – getting dressed, hopping in the car and saying goodbye at daycare – will hopefully set them up for success and a smoother big school transition when the time comes.

7. You are doing this for YOU!

Parenting involves an enormous amount of sacrifice, particularly in those gruelling first few weeks and months with a newborn – when you rarely leave your baby in the care of anyone else, and they seem permanently attached to your body.

It’s easy to lose a little (or a lot!) of yourself in that time and so it’s important that when you feel your child is ready for preschool or daycare, that you also know that it’s okay to send them, even if it’s just so you can have some one-on-one time with YOU! Self-care is so important for busy, tired, overworked mums.

8. And we haven’t forgotten about you, working mums!

If you’re working when your child’s at daycare, you’re still investing in yourself and your career and giving your mind a chance to learn, problem solve and be productive. You’re relieving yourself of financial hardship, and hopefully preventing stress in that area. There are so many benefits! 

So don’t let that ‘working mum guilt’ in for one moment – you are doing a wonderful thing for your family. And remember – this too shall pass!


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