9 Tips For Tear-Free School Drop-Offs
Whether your child is starting school for the first time or not, tearful drop-offs and goodbyes are not uncommon when a new school year begins. If you're worried about your child experiencing separation anxiety or just want to make sure you're prepared for anything, we've curated a few helpful tips for (hopefully) preventing and dealing with teary goodbyes.
To do your best to ensure tear-free drop-offs this coming school year, read through our nine tips.
Prepare for their first day as best you can.
If it's the first time ever dropping your child off at school, there's no telling how they'll respond. There are books you can read together about starting school, and you can talk about all of the fun things they're going to learn with their new friends. Make conversations upbeat and positive so they associate going to school with happy thoughts.
Make goodbyes short and sweet.
The longer the goodbye routine, the longer your child has a chance to feel anxious about you leaving. Always make saying farewell quick so that you lingering doesn't reinforce their crying or tantruming.
If you sneak out quickly without saying goodbye, your tearful child will likely become more upset that you've left without a last comment or hug. Plan a goodbye routine to do every day so that your child understands you will definitely be leaving once it's over rather than sharpening your ninja skills.
Remind them you'll be back.
Some kids need to be reminded that school is a temporary part of their day and that you'll be back to pick them up or will see them at home later. Reinforce this at the end of every day so that they can be reminded that you did in fact get them from school.
Involve their teacher.
Since your child's teacher doesn't know your child right off the bat, let them know what your child will need from them from the get-go. If you have a tearful little one on your hands, give their teacher a heads-up that they may need to be calmed down after you leave and eased into the day with some distraction.
Encourage them to begin an activity while you watch.
Send your kiddo into the classroom and tell them you'll watch for a minute as they explore the blocks in the basket or the books on the shelves. Don't get into it with them, just tell them you believe in them, observe for a minute, and then say goodbye.
Bring a security blanket . . . or lovey, or book.
Although some schools may not allow toys or other items from home in the classroom, it couldn't hurt to leave a lovey in their bag so that, should they need the security of a home comfort, they have it.
Hold the tears in yourself.
You may be thrilled that you're dropping off your child at school, but that doesn't mean that seeing them upset won't make you upset. Don't let your child see you cry or become upset, because they'll feed off your behaviors. Keep it positive in front of them and leave the tears to the parking lot (we won't judge).
Once you figure out what works for you and your child, make it a routine. If you end every drop-off with a hug and a "See you later, alligator," then do that every day so it feels familiar. They'll understand that after their goodbye with you, it's time to start their school day and they'll see you later when you come to get them.