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Child care drop off doesn’t have to be stressful

11 September 2020

Consistency and communication help children settle.

The child care drop off can be pretty uneventful, but other times it can feel like a complex web of thoughts, feelings, distractions, bribes and repeated goodbyes.

According to MercyCare Thornlie Early Learning Centre Manager Leah Mizen, consistency and communication are the key to a good drop off.

Drop offs can be an emotional part of a child’s (and parent’s) day when they first begin attending child care.

Every child is different and they go through different stages which changes how they might react to parting with their parents in the morning. Some may transition [LINK] to starting child care pretty seamlessly only to start becoming flustered at drop off time after attending the same centre for quite some time.

“There’s no wrong or right way to do it, some children might benefit from having their parent stay and play a game for a little before they leave but most do fine with a quick kiss on the cheek and wave goodbye,” Leah said.

Children like consistency and predictability, so Leah suggests parents use the same language each day and implement the same routine.  

Give them warning you are leaving and avoid ‘sneaking’ away, as this builds distrust and usually makes things much more difficult the following drop off. “Tell them I’ll be dropping you off, you’ll have time to play with friends and I’ll be back after afternoon tea, or whenever it is, it usually settles them pretty quickly,” she said.

“For those who do get worked up, often the quicker the drop off, the quicker they’ll settle.”

Parental guilt can easily creep in, but Leah says she can usually quash any of those feelings within minutes of the parent leaving.

“Crying is how a baby communicates and even little ones, it is okay for toddlers and children to be upset sometimes, but as long as they can quickly recover from that, I know they’ll go on to have a good day,” she said.

“We use the Xplor app, which allows us to send real-time updates to parents, so I’ll send a photo of their child doing whatever they are doing  five or 10 minutes later and they can see their child is engaged in some form of play and they are content.

“I love being able to let parents know their children are happy, I’ve sent messages sometimes and the parent had not even left the carpark,” Leah said.

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