Friday, December 29, 2006

Parent Hack #1: Secret to Easier Daycare Drop-offs

The Dreaded Morning Drop-off. In the toddler room at our daycare, Little B. and her Mom were having a tough time in the mornings. Little B. did not want her Mom to leave, and was crying and clinging on to her. After 15 or 20 minutes, one of the teachers would pry little B. away, holding and comforting her while Mom makes her not-so-clean or happy getaway.

After a few mornings like this, I ran into B's Mom in the parking lot. She looked helpless, pregnant with guilt, little B's tears and cries still weighing on her.

"Tough, huh?" I asked.
"Yeah, it's gotten pretty bad lately. I don't know what to do."

I felt compelled to reveal my Secret to a Guilt-free, Tears-free Morning Drop-offs. Actually, it's a technique (or Parent Hack, if you will) that we learned at our last daycare.

"You might have her push you out," I suggested.
"What do you mean?"

It works like this: A teacher or parent asks the child, "Do you want to push Mommy (or Daddy) out of the room?" during the good-bye portion of the drop-off. The child agrees. Mommy or Daddy turns, faces the door and the child pushes the parent's butt, like a choo-choo train, out the room.

"Yeah, I'll give it try," said B's Mom.

How did it go? When I ran into B's Mom a week later, she was gushing with thanks. Amazing, she said. And I got to witness it in action the next morning, both of them happy and even having added their little tickling twist to the drop-off ritual. No tears, no banshee cries. No guilt in sight.

As a bonus. "Now she even pushes me out of her room at bed time, " said B's Mom.

The next morning, I saw Little N, another one of the kids who's been having a tough time. After 10 min., her mother spontaneously suggested to little N, "Do you want to push me out?" Little N. agreed.

"It's nice to leave her not screaming her head off in the morning," I overheard N's Mom telling B's Mom.

Why it works. It empowers the child. It gives them some control. They decide (sort of) when you leave. They are pushing you out; you're not leaving/abandoning them.

And it's fun. Like playing choo-choo trains.

The Downside.
1. It may not always work. Although I have yet to see it not work.
2. It's a little manipulative.

Yes, but. My instinct says a little manipulation is better than all the tears, cries and the guilt.

Give it a try and let me how it went for you.

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