Dropping kids off at daycare or school can be so tough, especially after an extended break for the holiday season.
One common mistake parents make is to sneak away when the child isn’t looking.
However, the best thing to do is actually to say a proper goodbye, and put the focus on your next connection with your child.
This is a technique called “bridging” (thanks to the amazing Gordon Neufeld for this gem), where you bridge the separation to give your child something to look forward to.
👉🏽 What does this look like?
I use this myself at school drop off, when my kindergartener is having a really tough time separating. For starters, I make sure to get down on his level, give him both physical connection and eye contact, and say to him, “I’m going to go home now, but I’m going to be here to pick you up at the end of the day, and when we get home, we’re going to snuggle and have a chit chat together on the couch. While I’m gone, your teachers will take care of you, just like I do”.
This isn’t guaranteed to make the tears stop flowing immediately, but it does:
✨ show your child you have confidence in their care provider
✨ give them real information about when you’re going to be back (and following through on it, so they know they can depend on you)
✨ provide your child with the connection they are seeking, by giving them concrete examples of what that reunification will look like
👉🏽 So tell me: do you tend to say goodbye, or sneak away at drop off?