Teddy starts daycare next month. My gosh, the waves of emotions are flooding me, and even though this is the third time I’ve prepped my toddler to start daycare, it is still as scary as the first time around.
I‘ve been quite open in discussing the separation anxiety that Finn suffered with at daycare, and I thought this would be the perfect time to go into my tried and tested tips to help you move towards tear free drops!
I quickly worked out it was the anticipation of needing to separate from me that caused him the anxiousness, and this is feedback I get often from followers asking me for advice, “they settle quickly and loves it, but is hysterical at drop off”.
Kids thrive off predictability and routine.
Create a visual calendar (we used to draw one up each week together on small whiteboard board using symbols for each day- “mummy day”, “school day” etc). Although the child might get upset when they know the daycare day is approaching, they may be able to cope better when it arrives when it isn’t sprung on them- I tried both ways with Finn, and although he had less time to be upset, the meltdowns and fear were heightened with no notice.
- Photos and videos tell a story you can not. The night before, and in the morning of, we would take a moment to sit down and watch the videos and photos from school showing him playing happily. He would look at them and say, “I love dancing with Jax” etc. His body and tone would soften.
- Print/laminate photos and pop on a lanyard- Finn wore this around his neck while at school. This became a security item for him, and as his sense of safety grew, he stopped using it.
- Find a mantra. Ours was “leaving Mummy is hard, but I can do hard things.” Validate their fears, they are very real for them. But show you have faith in them, and not in their fear.
- Draw a love heart (or any picture!) on their hand and fill with kisses foe them to take out when they need! Finn loved when I drew a matching heart on my hand to. I would tell him when he kissed the heart, I could feel it on my hand ❤️
- Be patient and calm. Things won’t change overnight- but if you are consistent they will eventually pay off. We moved from me saying “you can do hard things” to a crying Finn, hiding under the dining table, to a brave little boy cuddling me repeating “I can do hard things” to himself, to now- a big smile and tight cuddle goodbye.
With patience and love, you can get through this very tricky time!