Updated: Oct 6, 2022
If your child is having any speed bumps during the transition of drop off and pick up then I have some PRO TIPS for you 🤩 These tips are extremely helpful with any "speed bump" (aka any time the child has a big feelings, or unhappy emotions" you have in your day and is how we work through the moments when they happen at school.
The FIRST thing to recognize is that the speed bump is due to the Transition/change in routine and for a child this is on a central nervous system response to the change. We can help the child succeed and change the response to being a safe and positive- heres how:
The Parent Part:
FIRST: don't over prep the child. Instead- talk about the day..."Let's get dressed for school" in positive tone and without em
otion words Instead of, "We are going to have a good day at school."- using the "good" puts pressure on a child that is struggling with transitions as it starts to build the stress early in the day. I even still use this with my daughters and it has changed our mornings for the better ☺️
SECOND: Have the child get out of the car and walk in on their own. This seems like a small thing but time and time again this is the #1 thing that changes the current PHYSICAL routine. Once they are in the parking lot here, they are BIG KIDS 🤗 Having them be big, walk in and say goodbye will build confidence but more importantly....the PHYSICAL break does NOT happen. When a child is being held by their parent, it is the the #1 place they will always want to be. Adding the physical break from the parent is often what can be a trigger for them and so avoiding that trigger and creating positive drop off moments is what will eventually override the current response.
THIRD: And possibly the most important- make the drop off be BRIEF! This is VERY important! The goodbye should be as fast as possible- remember the trigger for them is the break from you- its like ripping of the bandaid- once its off its over. A perfect goodbye look like this:
Child walks up to the door, parents
leans down and looks them in the eye, and says-
"Have a great day at school! I will see you at pick up, I Love you".
A quick kiss and then the parent leaves.
Anything longer and the anxiety will build and then they take longer to recover. If the physical break is even a greater trigger, I would even avoid a hug and only do a kiss. (Just while we are accomplishing the main goal- creating positive drop off/pick up moments. ❤️ Then, always hugs
The Teacher Part:
The most important part we have as their teacher is to stay stress free during the moment. Sad feelings are just as real as happy emotions and we accept that this is a part of childhood. As their teachers we are grateful that they are giving us learning opportunities to help them work on real life skills- emotional regulation and processing of feelings.
Learning how to process our emotions and our "big energy" is as important as learning how to succeed in all the lessons childhood brings us.
At AHHS you may observe a child having big emotions during the school day and if you get the privilege of watching you will see that a teacher will become very involved with that child and give them their full attention.
Our main goal in that moment is not to get that child to stop having that feeling- it is to embrace the learning opportunity at the only time it is available- during a big energy moment. It is to love, guide and help that child to realize in that moment that they have the POWER to feel better and we are going to help them get there.
Step one: Give their feelings validation and a name. This will look like the teacher saying, "Good morning Tommy, I see you are sad. I am here to help you feel a little better. "
Step two: Ask how can I help you feel better?
Step three: Ask for their input- "I see you’re upset, would you like me to stay with you or give you space?" or Would you like me to sit with you or give you a hug?
How I answer the "I want to go home"- “I know you do, I can’t make that happen but I can help you feel better while we wait… would you like to —— or ——? "
Our Teacher "Big Energy" Guide
🌱I will confirm the emotion and guide them to helpful solutions
🌱I allow them to be mad, for an appropriate amount of time
🌱The only rules are not hurting self or others
🌱Give them choices on how to not be sad/mad
🌱Always guide them to what I know will help- deep breaths, a hug, a walk outside, drawing about how they feel, talking about how they feel.
🌱 After the moment is over talk about it only 1 time and it is praise on them recovering from having the big energy feelings. Then we let it go. After that moment it is in the past, and by not bringing it up we are allowing them the grace of living and learning and not being held to actions in the past.
I believe that being mad/sad is a part of life and teaching people young how to process being mad and move past it to feeling joy is the biggest lesson I can help them learn. I respect a child’s feelings as part of their learning process and am so grateful that I get to be a guide on that journey
Remember: IF this is a skill your child is struggling on- it just means they have not learned this self regulation skill YET...that is what we are here for!
As babies our brains program our central nervous response system- but we can reprogram the response in a pretty efficient way- all we have to do is replace all the current memory triggers with more and more good moments to override the response, and then poof! They will evolve and we will have happy drop offs and pick ups, promise! 🥰