Childcare drop offs and pickups can be tough for any parent.
But you can make things a lot easier for you and your child if you establish routines for each trip.
The key, however, is finding routines that work for both of you. By experimenting trying different things and adjusting it to how your child responds, you can make your drop offs and pickups much less stressful for everyone.
We’ve rounded up five great routine ideas worth a try.
1. Pack Their Things Together
Getting your child involved with packing their things can make them feel excited for the day ahead. Give your child a small backpack that they can carry with them, and tell them that they can bring their favourite toy to school.
If your child can’t decide on one toy, help them choose one to bring that day. Having something from home can comfort your child if they’re scared or nervous – just remember not to leave it behind when you pick them up.
Getting ready with your child will also give you essential one-on-one time with them. Even just ten minutes in the morning choosing what toy to bring or what colour of t-shirt to wear can strengthen your bond.
2. Let Your Child Walk You to Their Classroom
Sure, it’s much faster to carry your child from your car to their classroom. But doing this regularly will only create a physical attachment that you would need to untangle yourself from later.
If your child can walk, ask them to lead you to their classroom. Encouraging your child to guide you and asking things like “Can you show me where your classroom is?” can help them feel more independent.
By giving your child this freedom, you’ll build their confidence to explore and spend the day without you.
3. Keep Goodbyes Short
When it’s time to say goodbye, try keeping it short and sweet.
Never sneak out when dropping off your child in childcare. ALWAYS say goodbye to them, BUT keep it brief. Yes, they might get scared and cry, especially in their first few weeks. But this will pass.
Remember also that your child will often pick up on your mood and energy. If they sense that you’re apprehensive about leaving, they will get scared and cling to you.
Once you get your child to their classroom, you can say hi to their teacher and chat for a few minutes. Showing your child that you trust the other adult in the room can make them feel safer. Afterwards, give your child a kiss or a high five and tell them you’ll see them again later. Then leave.
Even if your child starts to cry – and no matter heartbreaking it is to walk away – keep going. Your child will be fine after a few minutes.
4. Let Your Child Say Goodbye to Friends and Teachers
While it’s tempting to just swoop in and take your child home when you pick them up, it’s important to make sure that they’re ready to go. Going home when your child isn’t ready to leave her friends yet can make the evening more stressful for you both.
If your child is in the middle of a game or an activity, tell them they can go finish it and that you’ll be right there waiting for them. And if you’re short on time and need to go, give your child at least a few minutes to say goodbye to their classmates and teacher.
Allowing your child to say goodbye at their own pace will make them feel more independent. It will also show them that you trust the people there. Make sure that you also say “see you tomorrow” to their classmates and teachers, so they understand that they’ll see them again the next day.
5. Talk About What You’re Going to Do When You Get Home
Telling your child about what you’re planning to do when you get home can make pickups much easier. Telling them about things that they can look forward to (e.g. watching their favourite cartoons, playing a game they love, etc.) can make them feel better if they’re sad about leaving that day. It will also help them adjust and transition back to home life after a full day in childcare.
It’s Not Always Easy, But It Can Get Better
Childcare drop offs and pickups come with many challenges; there’s no doubt about that. Childcare, after all, is a new stage in your young child’s life, and they will need time to get used to their new daily routines.
But if you try ideas like those above, you’ll find that childcare drop offs and pickups can be much less stressful for you both.
Of course, it helps a lot if you bring them to a childcare centre that will work closely with you to make sure everything goes smoothly. And that’s exactly what we do in our Bush Kidz centres. We make sure that your child’s entire experience here will always be fun and happy. Contact us today or visit one of our centres to find out how we can help.