Five Tips to Ease the Anxiety of Hellos & Goodbyes
Transitions can be challenging. Establishing a ritual of saying good-bye at the beginning of the day and hello when you return helps children learn how to separate and reunite with people in their lives... no matter if it's for a few hours or long-term when transitioning to a new child care program or classroom. Here are some tips to help these transitions go smoother.
Spend Time with Your Child at Transition Times
Spending just a few minutes with your child in the child care setting will help make the transition between home and away easier. Ask the care provider what activities are planned for the day so you can spark your child's interest about what's coming next.
Always Say Good-bye
Saying good-by, rather than just "disappearing", will strengthen your child's trust in you. It also helps them feel valued.
Create a Hello/Good-bye Ritual
Simple rituals, such as giving your child a big hug before you leave and when you return help your child understand that a transition between home and child care is taking place and what they can expect next.
Bring in Family Photos or Other Items from Home
Seeing these special objects will help you child feel connected to you throughout the day. Paging through their own little photo album might be just what they need to work through their feelings.
Be Aware That Some Days Will Be "Bumpier" Than Others
Good-byes and hellos stir up deep feelings for children (and adults too). Your child's stage of development and other factors such as being tired or hungry can make transitions more difficult on certain days. So don't despair, things will go better tomorrow.
By working together with your child care provider, you can help your child feel comfortable and secure as they transition between home and away.
Q. My daughter gets so sad when I leave her at her child care program in the morning. Her caregiver and other parents tell me how much fun she has once her day gets going, but I just don't know how to make the drop off time go better. My brother said I should just sneak off when she's not looking but I don't think that's right. Any ideas?
A. Sneaking off would likely add to her anxiety. Try creating a special routine together such as a saying, a song or a special handshake. Talk about what she would like to do that day. You could even give her something small of yours to keep in her pocket, maybe even a locket. Make sure her care provider is part of the solution and be aware that you may be anxious as well.
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