5 Tips to Ease Daycare Drop-Off and Goodbyes

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Image via iStock

Getting out the door in the morning is a delicate juggling act, one that can be a struggle for even the most seasoned daycare veterans. Trying to find ways to streamline your departure? Here are some tips to help make drop-offs happier for both you and the kids.

babydoll
Image via Katie Hurley

Have a toy or special item they can only use at daycare and make that part of the drop-off routine. This can be something they pick out with you at a store, from home, or that is already at daycare.

Example: My daughter loved the baby dolls in her two-year-old classroom, and she also needed time to warm upon arrival. At drop-off, I would help her select a doll and blanket, and she would settle into a rocker with “her baby” for about ten minutes after I left. At that point, she felt settled and could move into activities with classmates.

girl cuddles with teddy
Image via iStock

Does your child have a “lovey” or special item? Buy a duplicate to keep at school. Nothing will kill your morning like discovering at daycare that your child’s lovey is still on the kitchen counter. Buy a duplicate that you can keep in your child’s cubby so you are always covered.

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Image via iStock

Label EVERYTHING. Buy some megapacks of stickers and start labeling. Whether it is a water bottle, a book, or that spare pair of pants, help the teachers out and label your child’s gear. Items tend to magically move between cubbies, so make it easier to return what gets shuffled.

{ MORE: The Hardest Time in My Marriage: The Newborn Phase }

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Image via Alison Lee for EverydayFamily

Take time to eat before school. I know it is hard to wake everyone up early to make it to work on time, but even if daycare offers breakfast, consider mealtime together at before you head out the door. Hungry kids are clingy kids. Even if it is just a snack before breakfast at school, start everyone’s day right with a full belly.

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Image via Flickr/ kourtlynlott

Your little one won’t let you leave? Enlist the teacher. If you are having trouble with your little one letting you out of their sight, talk with your teacher about ideas. She can help point out your child’s favorite toy or friend to create that morning “something special,” or you can do a physical hand off.

{ MORE: Check Out These Ultra-Quick, Ultra-Healthy, Ultra-Delicious Frozen Dinner Ideas }

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Example: My son would get teary during the last hug before I left, so I would lightly swing him while singing, “1-2-3!” At three, I would put him in his teacher’s arms, say goodbye and leave – no matter what. While it took time for him to adjust, we were consistent with what to expect, and his teacher’s snuggles went a long way, too! Soon, the handoff wasn’t necessary at all!

*Bonus tip* Keep extra clothes – for your child AND you in the car. Diaper blowouts and sticky hugs happen, so make sure you have some emergency gear for everyone in the car (and don't forget to update it after a season change or growth spurt!)

Got kids in daycare? What would you add? For more ideas for settling into the daycare routine, check out this article as well!

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5 Tips to Ease Daycare Drop-Off and Goodbyes

Tracy Jensen is a writer, marketer, mother, fundraiser, marathoner, and music lover. A working, single mom of two kids ages six and five, she is notorious for doing things the hard way. In addition to writing for EverydayFamily, she survives suburban exile by blogging about life’s foibles at It Builds Character. She can be found at night ignoring the dishes and playing on Twitter. ... More

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