Author Topic: Daycare Dropoff  (Read 2167 times)

Mgmny

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Daycare Dropoff
« on: April 07, 2021, 07:56:15 AM »
Hello!

I'm looking for opinions on how to cope with school (really daycare) dropoff for my 2 year old. He goes to daycare 2 days a week and he is considered a "highly spirited" child. He has been going 2 days a week since October, and literally every single day he kicks and screams and says, "I want mama!" "I don't like school!" "I want to go home!!" etc. At first we thought he was having a miserable time, but they send multiple pictures a day through their app that shows him playing and having fun. We've had a few conferences to talk about dropoffs/his hapiness, and they say he used to be sad late last year, but this year he's been a really happy kid - playing with others, laughing, etc.

We've tried different strategies to distract him from dropoff sadness, but i'm not sure if it's a learned behavior now or what, but it breaks our heart when he yells "I want to go home! I don't like school!" So it's like everyday we say, "Should one of us quit working? Are we ruining our child?" but then they send him pictures running around outside being happy, so we just aren't sure.

I'm not sure if someone has a magic potion to make dropoff easier, or maybe you could tell me, "He's just trying to manipulate you, he likes school, just get over drop offs" or what. I think i need reassurance (or not?) that we are making the right choice.

His Grandmas come over the other 3 days a week to watch him and his younger brother.

Morning Glory

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2021, 08:11:53 AM »
 My unscientific opinion is that he's not manipulating, he just has some anxiety about the transition from mom to daycare.  Once he gets his bearings he is fine for the rest of the day.  Of course I can't see inside his head, so I could be dead wrong.  I used to use the gym daycare and my younger one always cried. So did lots of other kids, so I think it's normal. My kids are both on the spectrum and they don't do well with transitions in general, so my reality might be a little skewed.

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 08:19:15 AM »
My unscientific opinion is that he's not manipulating, he just has some anxiety about the transition from mom to daycare.  Once he gets his bearings he is fine for the rest of the day.  Of course I can't see inside his head, so I could be dead wrong.  I used to use the gym daycare and my younger one always cried. So did lots of other kids, so I think it's normal. My kids are both on the spectrum and they don't do well with transitions in general, so my reality might be a little skewed.

I know all about the transition thing, that's why we try to telegraph all our transitions. "Ok, after you go down the slide 2 more times, we are leaving the park!" etc. It's just reallly hard to see him so upset/frantic, and it sorta IS in our power to change it, if we wanted (quit work, nanny, au pair, different daycare, etc. etc.).

Louisville

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 09:05:53 AM »
As a child I had severe separation anxiety. I mean bawling, snotty sobbing through first grade and swallowed, heart-pounding anxiety well into grade school. But, a kid's got to learn to deal with it sometime, and two days a week seems like a reasonable entre. Especially if he's happy there once the transition is made. Tough love is ok within reason.

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 09:14:00 AM »
As a child I had severe separation anxiety. I mean bawling, snotty sobbing through first grade and swallowed, heart-pounding anxiety well into grade school. But, a kid's got to learn to deal with it sometime, and two days a week seems like a reasonable entre. Especially if he's happy there once the transition is made. Tough love is ok within reason.

This is probably what i need to hear, thank you.

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 09:24:13 AM »
I posited your dilemma to my son (an Emilio-reggio teacher for 4s and 5s). He says this is perfectly normal behavior for this age group, and that one in three kiddos go through this for at least a year, and sometimes longer.

His school's protocol sounds like what you are doing. Announce the transition, provide reassurance (we'll pick you up at lunch, following afternoon playtime, or whatever time marker the child will recognize), and then drop off and leave. Don't prolong drop off, cuddle, linger, etc. According to DS, most kids are perfectly happy once mom and dad drive off. The child isn't trying to be manipulative, it's just that they aren't quite able to voice their very real to them concerns and emotions in a more proactive way, so it comes out as tears or a quickly passing tantrum. His experience is that by age 5, most kids have the words to convey their emotions and the understanding of school drop-offs so this phase pretty much passes.

Good luck!

EricEng

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 10:07:50 AM »
I posited your dilemma to my son (an Emilio-reggio teacher for 4s and 5s). He says this is perfectly normal behavior for this age group, and that one in three kiddos go through this for at least a year, and sometimes longer.

His school's protocol sounds like what you are doing. Announce the transition, provide reassurance (we'll pick you up at lunch, following afternoon playtime, or whatever time marker the child will recognize), and then drop off and leave. Don't prolong drop off, cuddle, linger, etc. According to DS, most kids are perfectly happy once mom and dad drive off. The child isn't trying to be manipulative, it's just that they aren't quite able to voice their very real to them concerns and emotions in a more proactive way, so it comes out as tears or a quickly passing tantrum. His experience is that by age 5, most kids have the words to convey their emotions and the understanding of school drop-offs so this phase pretty much passes.

Good luck!
^What they said.  You are doing it right, just have to tough it out. It is good for them in the long run and completely normal.  Everyone struggles with it for different lengths of time.

Laura33

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 10:46:51 AM »
Ooooh ooooh ooooh, I know this one!!  Short version:  it's just a transition.  The more you execute a normal routine and don't act like it's a big deal, the more quickly your kid will work through it. 

The longer version:  I swear, kids -- particularly highly-spirited sensitive ones -- can sense guilt like a wolf can smell fear, and they will just go right in for the kill.  The thing is, it's not intentional:  the more sensitive/needy the kid is, the more attuned they are to your emotions, so they pick up the signal from you that something's not right, there's something to worry about here, and that then ramps up their anxiety.  The more stable and routine you are with the dropoffs, the less you let yourself get tugged by guilt or sadness, the more your child will feed off your belief that this is a normal -- even exciting -- part of life.  (Once my kid adjusted, she LOVED daycare, because they had WAY better toys than we did at home)

I learned this totally by accident.  My emotional-canary-in-a-coal-mine DD had huge meltdowns at dropoff, and it freaking killed me, even though the teacher always told me that she was just fine when I left.  So I'd give her extra hugs, repeatedly tell her I'd be back soon and she'd have lots of fun, and a whole bunch of stuff to try to reassure her and calm her down.  Then one day I dropped her off, walked out of the room to her panicky shrieks (with tears in my own eyes), and stopped outside the door to do something (tie my shoe? check email?).  I swear, within 30 seconds, she was totally calm and happily playing.  No exaggeration here:  it was well under one minute.  That's when it clicked in that my inconsistency and worry was actually hurting her and making the transition harder, not easier.  So I stopped feeling guilty, began consistent three-hugs-and-leave dropoffs, and very shortly she stopped squalling at all when I dropped her off.

Meanwhile, same kid was still freaking out when my mom dropped her off a good two years later.  Why?  Because my mom felt terribly guilty and would go back for just one more hug, and then another. . . . 

I know how hard it is to walk away when your kid is sobbing like she's never going to see you again.  But the more quickly you can get over your own guilt and deal with this as just a normal part of life, the better it actually is for her.

yachi

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 03:16:36 PM »
Ooooh ooooh ooooh, I know this one!!  Short version:  it's just a transition.  The more you execute a normal routine and don't act like it's a big deal, the more quickly your kid will work through it. 

The longer version:  I swear, kids -- particularly highly-spirited sensitive ones -- can sense guilt like a wolf can smell fear, and they will just go right in for the kill.  The thing is, it's not intentional:  the more sensitive/needy the kid is, the more attuned they are to your emotions, so they pick up the signal from you that something's not right, there's something to worry about here, and that then ramps up their anxiety.  The more stable and routine you are with the dropoffs, the less you let yourself get tugged by guilt or sadness, the more your child will feed off your belief that this is a normal -- even exciting -- part of life.  (Once my kid adjusted, she LOVED daycare, because they had WAY better toys than we did at home)

I learned this totally by accident.  My emotional-canary-in-a-coal-mine DD had huge meltdowns at dropoff, and it freaking killed me, even though the teacher always told me that she was just fine when I left.  So I'd give her extra hugs, repeatedly tell her I'd be back soon and she'd have lots of fun, and a whole bunch of stuff to try to reassure her and calm her down.  Then one day I dropped her off, walked out of the room to her panicky shrieks (with tears in my own eyes), and stopped outside the door to do something (tie my shoe? check email?).  I swear, within 30 seconds, she was totally calm and happily playing.  No exaggeration here:  it was well under one minute.  That's when it clicked in that my inconsistency and worry was actually hurting her and making the transition harder, not easier.  So I stopped feeling guilty, began consistent three-hugs-and-leave dropoffs, and very shortly she stopped squalling at all when I dropped her off.

Meanwhile, same kid was still freaking out when my mom dropped her off a good two years later.  Why?  Because my mom felt terribly guilty and would go back for just one more hug, and then another. . . . 

I know how hard it is to walk away when your kid is sobbing like she's never going to see you again.  But the more quickly you can get over your own guilt and deal with this as just a normal part of life, the better it actually is for her.

I've seen this while volunteering at a nursery - the kids crying the most were the ones whose drop off parent needed reassuring that everything was going to be OK.  I had success with dropoff anxiety by letting our children rush into the room with other kids while I had my eyes on them from 10 feet away - hard to throw a kicking screaming fit at that point because I'm not there.  I would hand a diaper bag or whatever to the staff when I got to the door.
OP, your 2 year old should know the routine, can you have him lead the way to the class? Maybe pretend you forgot where the door is.  If you have things you need to drop off with the teachers, could you give him a backpack his size that he can carry himself so he feels like a Big Kid?  There's something about being the one that went into the space that prevents the fits - like mama didn't bring me here, I came in myself.  If you can, just stay outside the door, or several feet back.

reeshau

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2021, 06:35:21 PM »
The child isn't trying to be manipulative, it's just that they aren't quite able to voice their very real to them concerns and emotions in a more proactive way, so it comes out as tears or a quickly passing tantrum.

OP, if you are tying to help *yourself* get through this, then this quote is great to remember.  Whenever you are interacting with your child, you have to keep in mind thqt they have limited options to draw on.  Rarely are they actually meaning exactly what they are doing; It's the best approximation they can express.

And yes, it's a normal phase.  Once they settle on a best friend at daycare, they will run out of your arms to see them, and then *you* will have to deal with that abandonment.  ;)

As I told my wife, It's 18 years of slowly letting go.

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2021, 07:38:12 AM »
I posited your dilemma to my son (an Emilio-reggio teacher for 4s and 5s). He says this is perfectly normal behavior for this age group, and that one in three kiddos go through this for at least a year, and sometimes longer.

His school's protocol sounds like what you are doing. Announce the transition, provide reassurance (we'll pick you up at lunch, following afternoon playtime, or whatever time marker the child will recognize), and then drop off and leave. Don't prolong drop off, cuddle, linger, etc. According to DS, most kids are perfectly happy once mom and dad drive off. The child isn't trying to be manipulative, it's just that they aren't quite able to voice their very real to them concerns and emotions in a more proactive way, so it comes out as tears or a quickly passing tantrum. His experience is that by age 5, most kids have the words to convey their emotions and the understanding of school drop-offs so this phase pretty much passes.

Good luck!

Thank you for reaching out to your son! We definitely do not prolong dropoff. It's a swift goodbye (hug and "I love you! Have fun!!"). I hope this doesn't last a year (!!!), but i guess we are already 6 months in, so hopefully it will start getting better soon.

Thank you!

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2021, 07:41:03 AM »
I posited your dilemma to my son (an Emilio-reggio teacher for 4s and 5s). He says this is perfectly normal behavior for this age group, and that one in three kiddos go through this for at least a year, and sometimes longer.

His school's protocol sounds like what you are doing. Announce the transition, provide reassurance (we'll pick you up at lunch, following afternoon playtime, or whatever time marker the child will recognize), and then drop off and leave. Don't prolong drop off, cuddle, linger, etc. According to DS, most kids are perfectly happy once mom and dad drive off. The child isn't trying to be manipulative, it's just that they aren't quite able to voice their very real to them concerns and emotions in a more proactive way, so it comes out as tears or a quickly passing tantrum. His experience is that by age 5, most kids have the words to convey their emotions and the understanding of school drop-offs so this phase pretty much passes.

Good luck!
^What they said.  You are doing it right, just have to tough it out. It is good for them in the long run and completely normal.  Everyone struggles with it for different lengths of time.

Thank you for the boost of confidence! I always just want to make sure we're doing the "right" thing for our children!!

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2021, 07:44:18 AM »
Ooooh ooooh ooooh, I know this one!!  Short version:  it's just a transition.  The more you execute a normal routine and don't act like it's a big deal, the more quickly your kid will work through it. 

The longer version:  I swear, kids -- particularly highly-spirited sensitive ones -- can sense guilt like a wolf can smell fear, and they will just go right in for the kill.  The thing is, it's not intentional:  the more sensitive/needy the kid is, the more attuned they are to your emotions, so they pick up the signal from you that something's not right, there's something to worry about here, and that then ramps up their anxiety.  The more stable and routine you are with the dropoffs, the less you let yourself get tugged by guilt or sadness, the more your child will feed off your belief that this is a normal -- even exciting -- part of life.  (Once my kid adjusted, she LOVED daycare, because they had WAY better toys than we did at home)

I learned this totally by accident.  My emotional-canary-in-a-coal-mine DD had huge meltdowns at dropoff, and it freaking killed me, even though the teacher always told me that she was just fine when I left.  So I'd give her extra hugs, repeatedly tell her I'd be back soon and she'd have lots of fun, and a whole bunch of stuff to try to reassure her and calm her down.  Then one day I dropped her off, walked out of the room to her panicky shrieks (with tears in my own eyes), and stopped outside the door to do something (tie my shoe? check email?).  I swear, within 30 seconds, she was totally calm and happily playing.  No exaggeration here:  it was well under one minute.  That's when it clicked in that my inconsistency and worry was actually hurting her and making the transition harder, not easier.  So I stopped feeling guilty, began consistent three-hugs-and-leave dropoffs, and very shortly she stopped squalling at all when I dropped her off.

Meanwhile, same kid was still freaking out when my mom dropped her off a good two years later.  Why?  Because my mom felt terribly guilty and would go back for just one more hug, and then another. . . . 

I know how hard it is to walk away when your kid is sobbing like she's never going to see you again.  But the more quickly you can get over your own guilt and deal with this as just a normal part of life, the better it actually is for her.

Thank you!! I try to be super swift about the dropoff too, and I really try to amp him up for it - maybe i'm making it TOO big of an exciting/big deal to go to school? Instead of me saying, "Oh don't worry, it will be ok." I say, "We're going to school today!! It's going to be awesome! You love your friends and your teacher!!! So many toys! WOW!!"

Maybe me amping him up like this is throwing him in the other direction, and causing too much "excitement" but in a negative way. I'll try to be more casual about it tomorrow and see how it goes!

Thanks!

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2021, 07:51:09 AM »

I've seen this while volunteering at a nursery - the kids crying the most were the ones whose drop off parent needed reassuring that everything was going to be OK.  I had success with dropoff anxiety by letting our children rush into the room with other kids while I had my eyes on them from 10 feet away - hard to throw a kicking screaming fit at that point because I'm not there.  I would hand a diaper bag or whatever to the staff when I got to the door.
OP, your 2 year old should know the routine, can you have him lead the way to the class? Maybe pretend you forgot where the door is.  If you have things you need to drop off with the teachers, could you give him a backpack his size that he can carry himself so he feels like a Big Kid?  There's something about being the one that went into the space that prevents the fits - like mama didn't bring me here, I came in myself.  If you can, just stay outside the door, or several feet back.

I have tried to let him lead the way before, but he just clutches me and cries. The cries start as we pull into the parking lot, because he knows where we are. So if i pull him out of his seat (because i've tried this!!) and put him on the ground to talk, he will just cry and clutch my leg. I think it's harder too, because COVID has changed the dropoff policy. We used to be able to go into the center using our door code, walk to the classroom, and then say goodbye. And then he could see HIS teacher and HIS friends already there.

Now, we have to wait in the front door, ring the doorbell, and a random teacher comes and takes his temperature, and then he gets led to his classroom. There are only like 7 total teachers at this place (at least when i do drop off), but if he's only seeing this random woman 1x every 2 weeks, i'm sure he gets some stranger danger too. I bet if i could walk him back to his classroom and he could see his friends already there playing, it would be easier. Instead he gets dropped off with a random teacher who he sees for all of the 30 seconds to walk him to the classroom.

His normal ("favorite") teacher doesn't start until about 1 hour after drop him off, and it's just not feasible for us to wait that extra hour to drop him off. We talked about doing this with him, but my work team is 1 hour ahead of me already, so if i push my start time back 1 hour, i'd be 2 hours behind them once the day has started, and this just won't work, unfortunatly.

Hopefully, covid goes away soon, and i can start walking him to his classroom - or like you said, he can walk  ME to the classroom! :)

mm1970

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2021, 09:43:50 AM »
Quote
The longer version:  I swear, kids -- particularly highly-spirited sensitive ones -- can sense guilt like a wolf can smell fear, and they will just go right in for the kill. 

Ah ha, yep.  Both my kids did stuff like this at around this age.  But by #2, I knew the drill.  Our daycares told us "he's fine after you leave."  "Yep, I know, this is not my first rodeo!"

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2021, 10:52:27 AM »
What's happening is totally normal. Both my kids did this at the same age. In fact, my youngest cried at both drop off AND pickup. It was pretty heartbreaking and went on for months (or maybe as long as a year?). Anyway, felt like forever. Her teacher assured me she was totally fine within a minute of me leaving and that lasted until she laid eyes on me at pickup. Sometimes I'd quietly peek in the window before ringing the doorbell at pickup just so I could see for myself she was happy there. Then sure enough as soon as she saw me at the door, she'd burst into tears.

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2021, 11:58:52 AM »
What's happening is totally normal. Both my kids did this at the same age. In fact, my youngest cried at both drop off AND pickup. It was pretty heartbreaking and went on for months (or maybe as long as a year?). Anyway, felt like forever. Her teacher assured me she was totally fine within a minute of me leaving and that lasted until she laid eyes on me at pickup. Sometimes I'd quietly peek in the window before ringing the doorbell at pickup just so I could see for myself she was happy there. Then sure enough as soon as she saw me at the door, she'd burst into tears.

He did the wailing at pickup for like the first two weeks, and they said it was just his response to overwhelming emotion. the pickup crying stopped pretty quickly though.

tygertygertyger

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2021, 12:34:10 PM »
Parent-child relationships are so interesting, aren't they? This thread keeps reminding me of a time I went to visit my best friend and her young daughter, who was delayed in starting to talk.

Her daughter had been tested, and the tests found no reason why, so the doctors gave my friend and her husband suggestions on how to get their daughter talking. During my visit, I asked her questions, and mostly she'd point at stuff in response. At one point, very casually, I was holding an apple and I asked her "what color is this apple?" and she looked at me, waited a moment, and said "gween".

Her mom was so thrilled to hear her girl speak that she swooped down to kneel (with tears in her eyes) and told her girl "That's right! It is green!" After that, her daughter wouldn't say a word for the rest of my visit, though I did keep trying. Oh well. I couldn't blame her mom for being excited! And same goes for her daughter being perhaps intimidated by her mom's excitement. And now her daughter is a VERY chatty (and still) delightful girl.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 02:22:33 PM by tygertygertyger »

Psychstache

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2021, 02:59:00 PM »

I'm not sure if someone has a magic potion to make dropoff easier

Give a hug and a kiss goodbye, put on headphones and walk away.

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2021, 09:58:27 PM »
Just so you know, you're not alone.  My 2.5 year old has been doing the same thing since last June.  Every day, screams and cries at dropoff.  I'm on the waitlist for a different daycare just in case it's that but he's switched rooms and teachers during this time and that didn't make a difference.

Laura33

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2021, 08:24:34 AM »
I try to be super swift about the dropoff too, and I really try to amp him up for it - maybe i'm making it TOO big of an exciting/big deal to go to school? Instead of me saying, "Oh don't worry, it will be ok." I say, "We're going to school today!! It's going to be awesome! You love your friends and your teacher!!! So many toys! WOW!!"

I think you're on to something here.  Strong emotions in any direction are hard for little kids to process (just think of how many birthday parties end in total meltdowns!).  Plus kids know when you're bullshitting them, which will only add to the sense of wrongness.  Crossing my fingers that a more matter-of-fact approach helps!

lutorm

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2021, 08:11:21 PM »
I try to be super swift about the dropoff too, and I really try to amp him up for it - maybe i'm making it TOO big of an exciting/big deal to go to school? Instead of me saying, "Oh don't worry, it will be ok." I say, "We're going to school today!! It's going to be awesome! You love your friends and your teacher!!! So many toys! WOW!!"

I think you're on to something here.  Strong emotions in any direction are hard for little kids to process (just think of how many birthday parties end in total meltdowns!).  Plus kids know when you're bullshitting them, which will only add to the sense of wrongness.  Crossing my fingers that a more matter-of-fact approach helps!
This would be my guess, too. Plus, by telling your kid how to feel about it, you're invalidating their feelings. It's entirely appropriate to feel anxious when the parent leaves, but rather than tell them that they can't feel that way, I'd just make it not a big deal, it's just something that happens and that they have to deal with.

Something I've had to learn dealing with our kid is the difference between empathizing and agreeing. You can simultaneously empathize with their feeligns and not change your mind about what must happen...

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2021, 09:00:15 PM »
I try to be super swift about the dropoff too, and I really try to amp him up for it - maybe i'm making it TOO big of an exciting/big deal to go to school? Instead of me saying, "Oh don't worry, it will be ok." I say, "We're going to school today!! It's going to be awesome! You love your friends and your teacher!!! So many toys! WOW!!"

I think you're on to something here.  Strong emotions in any direction are hard for little kids to process (just think of how many birthday parties end in total meltdowns!).  Plus kids know when you're bullshitting them, which will only add to the sense of wrongness.  Crossing my fingers that a more matter-of-fact approach helps!
This would be my guess, too. Plus, by telling your kid how to feel about it, you're invalidating their feelings. It's entirely appropriate to feel anxious when the parent leaves, but rather than tell them that they can't feel that way, I'd just make it not a big deal, it's just something that happens and that they have to deal with.

Something I've had to learn dealing with our kid is the difference between empathizing and agreeing. You can simultaneously empathize with their feeligns and not change your mind about what must happen...

Thanks Laura and Lutorm! I tried being really nonchalant today, but he started crying as soon as we got into the parking lot. He would say, "I want to go home!!!" And I just said "ok!" But it didn't help. Maybe a few more days of this will start to help too

marion10

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2021, 09:43:39 PM »
I found simple stories worked well- if you get fancy, you could even draw pictures. On Monday, Daddy goes to work, Mommy goes to work and Sam goes to daycare. He plays with the toys and his friends at daycare. He has lunch, he has a nap. Then Daddy comes and picks Sam up from daycare. They see Mommy at home and... 

Mgmny

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2021, 03:44:45 AM »
I found simple stories worked well- if you get fancy, you could even draw pictures. On Monday, Daddy goes to work, Mommy goes to work and Sam goes to daycare. He plays with the toys and his friends at daycare. He has lunch, he has a nap. Then Daddy comes and picks Sam up from daycare. They see Mommy at home and...

The school actually provided something similar to this. They sent home a booklet with a bunch of pictures of him at school in it and we go through it in the mornings to show him how much fun he has.

Laura33

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2021, 07:27:34 AM »
I try to be super swift about the dropoff too, and I really try to amp him up for it - maybe i'm making it TOO big of an exciting/big deal to go to school? Instead of me saying, "Oh don't worry, it will be ok." I say, "We're going to school today!! It's going to be awesome! You love your friends and your teacher!!! So many toys! WOW!!"

I think you're on to something here.  Strong emotions in any direction are hard for little kids to process (just think of how many birthday parties end in total meltdowns!).  Plus kids know when you're bullshitting them, which will only add to the sense of wrongness.  Crossing my fingers that a more matter-of-fact approach helps!
This would be my guess, too. Plus, by telling your kid how to feel about it, you're invalidating their feelings. It's entirely appropriate to feel anxious when the parent leaves, but rather than tell them that they can't feel that way, I'd just make it not a big deal, it's just something that happens and that they have to deal with.

Something I've had to learn dealing with our kid is the difference between empathizing and agreeing. You can simultaneously empathize with their feeligns and not change your mind about what must happen...

Thanks Laura and Lutorm! I tried being really nonchalant today, but he started crying as soon as we got into the parking lot. He would say, "I want to go home!!!" And I just said "ok!" But it didn't help. Maybe a few more days of this will start to help too

Yeah, it'll take time.  Maybe find a way to let him know you empathize?  Just something like "Wow, I can see you're sad/upset/etc.  I'm sorry you feel bad."  Not getting all wrapped up in it or engaging/getting drawn into an argument or discussion, but just letting him know that you can tell he is sad. 

With my DD, I could also offer to do something simple to make it better -- like "would it help if I rubbed your leg?"  When she was angry-upset, she'd get all huffy and say no.  But when she just wanted reassurance, she'd sniffle and nod, and I'd rub her leg and she'd start calming down.  (Side note:  we started this on long car trips, because rubbing her leg was all I could reach while she was in the carseat.  But as she got older, I noticed her rubbing her own leg when she wanted to calm down!). 

It's tricky.  You want to empathize and help, but you can't make it into yet another excuse for prolonged interaction.  I guess maybe the way to say it is you are not "fixing" anything, and you are not even expecting him to stop being upset or calm down, you're just providing a safe, calm place for him to be upset while he adjusts to the change.

lutorm

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Re: Daycare Dropoff
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2021, 06:08:10 PM »
With my DD, I could also offer to do something simple to make it better -- like "would it help if I rubbed your leg?"  When she was angry-upset, she'd get all huffy and say no.  But when she just wanted reassurance, she'd sniffle and nod, and I'd rub her leg and she'd start calming down.  (Side note:  we started this on long car trips, because rubbing her leg was all I could reach while she was in the carseat.  But as she got older, I noticed her rubbing her own leg when she wanted to calm down!). 
That's awesome, and very illustrative of how we build associations between feelings and external cues.

The other thing that still works pretty well for us, too, is offering the "magic choice". Like "would you like to bring toy X or toy Y with you to daycare" or, if you're in the parking lot, "would you like to walk in yourself or would you like me to carry you?". It's amazing how having a choice makes them focus on those alternatives instead. I think it's partially distraction, but  having some element of control over your situation makes a big difference even to adults.