How to Handle Tears at the Kinder Drop-Off

I am absolutely that Mum. The one who can’t cope with the daycare drop-off. My kid cries. I cry. So many tears. There has got to be a better way.

My little guy is turning four in a matter of days. This means one thing: Kindy is coming. And fast.

I already know how it’s going to go. I’ll take him in and do the whole bag on the shelf, kiss, cuddle, goodbye. Then he’ll stand at the door and cry his little eyes out, begging for me to please not leave him. I’ll walk out an emotional wreck while both our hearts break a little.

With kindy around the corner, the dreaded kinder drop-off is about to be a much more regular event, so we’re going to need a good plan of action. But how? Where to start? I’ve always been the kind of person who wears my heart on my sleeve and my little man is shaping up the same way. The teachers are going to love us.

Luckily for us, we asked pre-school teacher Jennifer Mudgway for some tips and advice to help us manage this tough kinder drop-off time.

Pre-Kinder Visits

“The best way to establish a positive drop off,” Jennifer tells Mum Central, “is lots of visits beforehand. Your child needs to see you (their parent/carer) developing a relationship with the teachers and the environment. This helps them to see it is a safe and happy place.”

Jennifer also suggests that you get involved. Play with your child, explore the activities and show them how much fun they can have while they’re there.

Learn the names of some of their kinder friends. This means you can talk about them at home and remind them of the friends who will be there waiting to play with them.

During your visits, there is usually one teacher who spends the most time with you and your child. This is much less scary than suddenly throwing them in a room with a sea of unfamiliar faces. It also gives you both a point of contact and helps to develop a relationship with one person who your little one can trust. While kinder drop-off will still be hard, at least you can reassure yourself somewhat with the knowledge that there is an adult around who they know and who makes them feel safe.

Childcare Services

The moment of truth

Jennifer says there’s one big thing mums and dads can do to help quell the tears at kinder drop-off time.

“Once you are ready to drop and leave rather than just visit, be clear with your child that this is what is going to happen,” she says.

“Carry out the ‘normal’ morning routine of hanging bags up, putting lunch away etcetera, then seek out the teacher. The centre/school will know your child is starting and have procedures in place to support the transition.”

“It’s best to say goodbye, pass your child over and leave. Mucking around and delaying the drop off will make things worse.”

It may seem harsh, but ripping off the band aid is the best way to do it. If you hang around when they cry, they will continue to cry every time as they are learning that it will make you stay. They are also likely to cling to you while you’re there, leaving them less time to have fun, settle in and make friends on their own.

They are going to cry when you leave. Whether it is now, in 10 minutes or half an hour. Generally, most kids recover quickly after. They’ll settle down, drop-off is forgotten and they go on to have a great time. It’s the parents and carers who are left with the tears and the guilt! Little ratbags. Rest assured, if there are any problems, the preschool will call you. No news is good news.

“Your child will unfortunately pull your heart strings and the first drop-offs will be sad,” Jennifer says. “Tears will be shed from both parties. But establishing a good drop-off to begin with will eventually be the best decision you make.”

“Feel free to ring the school to check on your child. The teachers know and understand how hard first drop-offs can be for a parent.”

questions about starting school on school orientation day

Treat yourself

Jennifer recommends using this time to do something you don’t normally get to do: “Have a coffee with friends, do your grocery shopping or have a nap!”

Doing something to pass the time will also help you deal with the next part of your day; the tears and guilt of the preschool drop-off are over, now you get to sit and worry about whether they’re ok and what they’re up to!

But guess what… the best part of kinder drop-off? You get to pick them up. You get to join in their excitement when they see you and ask them all about their day.

We can do it mamas.  And if we feel like we can’t? That’s fine too. Call the kindy, check on your kid throughout the day. Do whatever you need to do to feel better. We’ve got this, so have our little people and we’ll all get through it together. One day at a time.

Are your kids starting school soon? Going back? Check out this list of things to do before they go!

Avatar of Claire Bugeja

Originally from North East England, Claire now lives in South Australia with her husband, two beautiful boys and one crazy dog. She's a writer, teacher, craftaholic and lover of all things Disney.

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