The First Day Drop-off

BEL Expert Advice

The First Day Drop-off

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Holidays are over and it’s time for our children to settle back into our routines whether it be at a homebased care, early learning centre, kindy, preschool or school. 

The first day is always a busy time as everyone is rushing trying to drop off children, get to work and get on with their day.  So how can you manage it and try to have an easy and manageable first day for you and your children?

Boy holding hands covered in paint to the screen

1. Preparation is the key.

As mornings can be quite hard on the first day, it can be manageable by preparing things on the night before, like clothes or uniforms, hats, packed lunches, bags, notebooks, sunblock, socks and shoes. Making a list is a good hack to remember all the necessary things for the first day.  Involving the children in preparing their things is a good way of teaching them a sense of responsibility for their things.   It will also train them to be independent and be able to do it by themselves as they grow older.

2. Allow enough time for drop-offs.

To avoid the madness of rushing, try to have enough time to drop off your child/children and to get to your destination.  Having plenty of time to arrive and say goodbye to your child/children is a good way of helping them settle in for the day, some children might need lots of cuddles before saying goodbye, or having a short story, or play and some children might be alright and say goodbye easily. Whichever way it is, it’s good to have enough time and be prepared for the unexpected.

3. Reassure your child.

Whether it be a baby, toddler, preschooler or older child, it is always best to reassure them of what the day brings and what to expect.  Letting them know of the activities for the day, the people they are going to be with, and who is picking them up is enough information for them to feel settled, excited and secured for the day. 

4. Create your goodbye ritual.

Saying goodbye can be quite scary on the first day, so it’s helpful to be specific on how to do it.  It could be waving through the gate, fence, or window, a kiss and a hug at the door, whatever it is, make sure it is something that you and your child have agreed to do. Make sure you are consistent and do what you have agreed to do.

5. When all else fails.

When nothing seems to be working and you need to go, passing your child to a teacher or Educator is always the best thing to do, your child may cry and throw a tantrum but it is always best to leave it up to the experts to do their thing to manage your child.  And once you leave and have said your goodbye, make sure that you do not come back again to say goodbye, as it will only make the situation worse for you, your child and the teacher or Educator.  After leaving, you can always call the teacher or Educator to check on your child if you have not heard back from them.

First days are usually stressful for both children and parents but take comfort in knowing that the days will get better as long as you have confidence and trust in your chosen Centre, Home Based service, kindy, preschool or school.