Dropping off your child at the school gates can be an emotional time; you are probably thinking about how your little one might react? How are you going to react? Will they be ok? Will I be OK? After such an extended break and regardless of how many times you have done that drop off before, this year might have you feeling more worried about how it is going to go than normal. We all want to do everything possible to ensure a positive school drop off experience of course we do. So let’s explore this further.
Maybe this is your child’s first day/week or year at school or Pre-school, your first ever drop off or perhaps you are sending number 2 or 3 in for the first time. Whatever your situation you may be experiencing some anxiety, worry or tension. You might even be feeling it physically with a dull ache at the pit of your stomach, oh and you might be feeling guilty because you and a little bit, excited for what that drop off gives you! We are here to tell you that all these feelings are all perfectly natural and normal and you will likely feel some or all of them over the coming days and weeks. More often than not it’s more difficult for us to deal with drop offs than it is for our children. We can tell you this with confidence, we have first-hand experience both as Reception class teachers who greet those new curious eyes during those first days of school, but also as Mums who have had to drop our own children off and leave them in a new setting surrounded by new faces.
Your child will be experiencing a range of emotions too, but they might struggle to understand exactly what these emotions are and will find it difficult to verbalise them. Some children will be confident and eager for these early days whereas others will avoid having any conversation about it at all. They are likely to have some fear of the unknown and obviously they are used to having you by their side to remind them that everything is ok. In the vast majority of cases those early drop off jitters are quickly overcome. Reception classes are exciting places, by design, and provide the perfect distraction to help your little one to relax and settle in quickly. As you both become more familiar with the school’s set up and the routine of the school day it all becomes normal and the fear and worry quickly diminishes for both of you.
There are rare cases where this isn’t the case and little ones might need a little longer to settle in. This is uncommon so if you feel that your little one is taking longer than the others to settle speak to your child’s class teacher, they will be experienced with this and you can work together to develop a plan to support you and your child.
As the big day approaches, we wanted to share some tips so that you can prepare yourself and your little one for positive school drop offs? There are many different tactics that you could employ to promote a positive school drop off. In fact, the list can become quite overwhelming, so we have selected our top three for you:
1. BE CONSISTENT/ROUTINE– Remember this is just as hard if not harder for you as the parent. Much like a removing a plaster quick is usually better than slow and drawn out. As teachers we have been there, many a time, in the classroom ready to start the day when some parents are still giving the 20th kiss and one more cuddle! We love kisses and cuddles too but be firm with what your expectations are for saying goodbye and try not to deviate from this. If we have 10 kisses on Monday these little people will quickly learn they can drag it out to 15 or 20 by the end of the week. A kiss and a cuddle then off to play with their new friends is perfect.
2. INFORMATION IS KEY– Your little one has an inquisitive mind, talk to them, let them know what you will be doing whilst they are at school? Involve them in the routine, let them know who is picking them up after class? Make sure you share routine of the school day with them so they can understand and take ownership? Remind them of the names of the class teacher and ask them about the names of their peers? Schools have amazing websites that are packed full of information regarding your child’s class, get involved and share this information with your little one. They, more often than not, have a comprehensive staff list that will enable you to tell your child the names of those that will be helping them at lunchtimes and those that will greet them at the classroom door. Knowledge is power – this is a great time to empower your child and help them to begin to learn to be independent even if you aren’t quite ready to let them go.
3. MINDSET– We all know that our children feed from our emotions so if we begin to falter, they will, no doubt, pick up on this too. Try and remain a positive Polly regardless of how pear-shaped the drop off is going and save the tears until those little feet are firmly inside the door. See if you can team up with other mums from your child’s class and do something really lovely after that first drop off- go for a coffee, cake or even a little shop. Anything to take your mind off of the anxiousness and worry. Remember, you will not be the only one feeling whatever emotions you are feeling so share that with others.
We really hope that you have found this useful and remember, whether you are excited, teary, anxious or all of the above you are not the only one feeling this and it is totally normal. Good luck for that first week- we do hope you have a really positive school drop off experience – stay strong, you can and will do this.
If you are still nervous and would like a little more support and guidance through the coming days and weeks our positive drop offs mini course is designed to give you and your child the tools to create confidence when separating at the start of the day.
- Ted our lovable bear provides engaging sessions and fun activities for your and your little one to enjoy together.
- We also provide you with an adult guide to coach you through preparing for and creating positive drop offs.
- With 2 videos, a download with 3 activities and a reward chart we set you up for positive drop offs whatever time of year.
Click below for more information and to join us.
Vix + Em
Positive Drop Offs Mini Course
Uniquely designed course to involve your child in the process of creating a positive drop off experience.