Ways to help your child at drop offs
My son has just gone back to school in Year 1 and has been in tears every morning at drop off. Crying, clinging to my legs etc. It's heartbreaking! Happily the teacher says he settles very quickly and is happy for the rest of the day, and my son also tells me he's had a great day every day, so that's good.
I asked in my Instagram stories if anyone had any suggestions for dealing with the drop off and I got SO MANY amazing replies. I'm so touched, and it helps to know that I'm not the only one. Here are the replies I received as of 10pm this evening...
Nursery teacher here :) Do you know the book 'the kissing hand"? You can try drawing a little X on his hand that he can press when he misses you. And make sure you are as relaxed as possible, they pick up on your anxiety! Also maybe make something at home to show the teacher, drawing or junk modeling, ideally relating to the topic so he can look forward to showing it off. And, maybe most importantly: quick drop offs! Don't linger, quick hug and off you go. I know it's hard but it will get better! xx
Draw a heart on each other’s hands - ❤️
It’s a hug button. Sent the info below or Google - heart on child’s hand
Have a race across the field, hide a note or drawing in his bag and tell him to find it when he’s hanging his bag on the peg, draw a heart on his inner wrist and tell him to kiss / press it when he’s feeling sad xx
Would it help him to take a small transition object, a toy from home? I have a basket in my classroom that they put them in once settled and I keep them safe until home time.
Having a photo of you might help him too. I try to get one of parent and child together and put it in their learning journal so they can access it when they want to.
Couple of ideas for you:
Draw a star/heart on your and his wrist
Add a little note/picture to book bag from you.
Ask teacher/assistant to give him a role first thing so he has a job (that he likes) to do in the morning
The Invisible String book worked for mine :)
Can you do a little routine/ ritual every time ? Like 2 hugs and a high 5, or a secret handshake? My reception kids love it when we pretend to wind them up like a clockwork toy and send them in
Good luck, it’s still early days and they’re still so little 😘
I know people recommend reading the book, The Invisible String. Some people also give a small object to keep in their pocket to squeeze or draw a heart on both of you and they can press it when they want to feel connected to you.
Little Meerkat's Big Panic is a good book for understanding how our brain reacts to situations, trying to keep us safe, but if we understand what is happening we can do things to try to stay in control. E.g. practice calming breathing, repeat positive affirmations etc. Hope that helps.
Do they have a breakfast club? Sending my son there so he could go in just a few minutes earlier really helped, much less pressure as there are less people around:)
Could you talk through a detailed step by step what you are going to do, so 'we are going to get up, wash face, get dressed, have cereal, drink milk etc, etc' all the way up to get to school, see friends, hang up bag. It's an idea from the whole brain child book but I think it helped my daughter when she was going to Kindergarten. I also made a little book for her with photos of each step, including photos of staff at the end and activities she did there. It's very hard isn't!
Trust your child and acknowledge his feelings… don’t say things like “you’ll be fine/have fun” as it can invalidate their feelings… Try things more like “I know you are finding this difficult, it’s ok to find it hard, it will get easier you are safe with Mrs…. I will be back after story time and we’ll do/have … on the way home”
And then give yourself a hug and try not to worry/cry all the way back!!
Another option is also to do part time until after he’s 5 so it’s a little more manageable for him - 5 full days in a new place with 20+ kids is massively overwhelming for some children 🥰
Stay strong, before leaving for school make a plan for what you will do together after school. Try not to let them cling to you but instead try to be cheery and positive. I have 5 struggling to come in and yes fine the minute they are in the door. I’m having to pull them off their mums which yes is traumatic for everyone.
We had/have similar with T... It's so hard isn't it. She goes to breakfast club 3 days a week and is absolutely fine for drop off there so we know it's not school she's worried about. We made some little wooden hearts with our initials on (got Thea to write them for us) and we all keep them with us, if we are missing each other we can rub it/touch it/hug it/kiss it and it reminds her that it won't be long until we are back together, and keeps us "connected" as we all have them. Gives her something to focus on and has helped make it a bit easier xxxx
There’s a child psychologist Dr Martha I follow on Instagram who I think is great. She just did a podcast episode on Dirty Mutha Pukka (Anna Whitehouse) where they talked about this.
A visual timetable
I’m a y1 teacher, I had 5 to peel off this morning, all were fine by the time they put their bags away. Summer hols is a long time, last week was Settling in, and realisation of school again… you’re not on your own xxx
Once again, thank you so. so much - my followers are the absolute best! You're definitely a "village" for me :) I hope some of these things will help your little ones too