The Art of the School Drop Off

It was a typical Tuesday morning, and Lisa’s mom was dropping her off at the preschool classroom. Lisa had been coming to school for six months and loved every day she spent there. At the door of the classroom, however, a familiar dance ensued. Lisa cried, and mom stayed to comfort her. When Mom tried to leave, Lisa cried more and clung tightly to her. Mom stuck around another ten minutes. Frazzled and late for work, mom finally left feeling guilty while Lisa screamed after her.

Sound familiar?
Getting ready for a great school day!

Even the most stalwart parents can crumble in the face of their sweet children who look and act as if they are being abandoned to a torture chamber somewhere near the pit of hell.

But here’s the secret: The tears don’t last. As soon as the parent is gone—anywhere from five seconds to three minutes—the child completes the transition and immediately becomes engaged in whatever is going on in the classroom.

And yet, as loving parents we hesitate. We believe that if we stick around we are doing our children a favor, when in reality we are making it harder for them to transition and gain independence.

At Colorado Christian Montessori, we get it. Most of us are parents, too. So if your drop off scenario has become a ritual of tears and frustration, here’s a quick way to set (or reset) the tone:

  • Say a friendly goodbye, only one time, and leave.
Yes, really! This is best done on the first day of school, but you can let your child know that starting today, you’ll have a new school routine.

The way parents say goodbye the first day sets the pattern of how a child expects to be dropped off every day. A matter-of-fact attitude along with confidence in the teachers gives your child a strong sense of security.

When my son started coming to school, boy was it hard! There were tears, pleading, and bargaining -- and that was just me. Eventually I disciplined myself by allowing his teachers to literally hold him back while I walked away.

Even now, I am guilty of dragging this out more than I should. It’s always a hug and kiss and “Have a great day!” but then my child lingers in the hallway. So I say it again. Drat!

Time to hit the reset button.

We can do this, parents, and our children will never thank us for it but they will become more independent and resilient.

Until next time,
Andrea Spikes
Communications Manager


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