Pick up times can stir up emotions for a variety of reasons. By the end of a day, a tired youngster may naturally get a bit unwound at the sight of a parent. It is normal for kids to act out in front of the people closest to them. It is also a common way to test the waters, or it may simply mean the child is having fun and doesn’t want to leave.
Challenging daycare pick-ups are tough for everyone involved. The best way to get through it is to consult with parents who have gotten through it successfully. The following advice comes from parents who have managed to smooth out the day-care pick-up process:
Some children have trouble transitioning. This is a phase that many parents struggle with, where their child may act out when it was time to go home. Kicking and hitting parents or other kids is not uncommon. One approach that may work for your youngster is to allow the child time to complete whatever he or she is actively doing. You can also give the child time to say goodbye to classmates. It also doesn’t hurt to offer a little bribe with a cracker or a piece of fruit to coax the child through the door.
Just like the morning daycare drop-off, set a regular pick-up routine. You might begin the day by walking around the classroom and reviewing what your child did that day or leave a quick note of thanks or a quick drawing for the teacher, before leaving together. Have a discussion and ask your child what might make things easier. Offer two or three suggestions and provide positive affirmation.
Talk to your child about who you will see and what you are going to do at home. You can say, “Let’s go see the dog,” or “Do you think we will get home before daddy?” If you get it just right, chances are your child’s face will light up. On some trips home, have the dog waiting in the car. This is a great distraction from whatever has your child full attention at the time.
Put aside some family time or parent-child time as soon as you get home after a daycare pick-up. Sit and read a book or color together for about 15–20 minutes. You can also just snuggle and have a conversation about the events of the day. This can become a special time worth looking forward to once it is an expected part of your routine. Putting this dedicated time into practice may make the process of leaving daycare much easier.