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Saying goodbye at drop-off is a skill to master

Published on Thursday, 21 April 2022
Last updated on Thursday, 21 April 2022

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Those goodbyes every morning at childcare can be really difficult. Especially if your little one is struggling through tears. 


Our parenting partner Dr. Kaylene Henderson assures us that it will get easier. Not every day has to be a battle. Some days will be worse than others, but mostly, you’ve got this! 


Those difficult goodbyes, when your child just won’t settle, can be eased with Dr. Kaylene’s tips on saying goodbye. 


1. Dr. Kaylene suggests leaving your child with their educator rather than with an activity. This shows your child who their trusted person is for the day. 


Leaving during an activity might just push the tearful goodbye to after you leave. 


You might not have to face the tearful goodbye (making it easier for you) but once your child realises you're gone, your child might experience more  anxiety and tears without you there to comfort them. 


It’s better to leave them with the educator, who can provide comfort and support when you leave. 


Eventually goodbyes will become so much easier. 


2. Dr. Kaylene suggests acknowledging that your child feels sad and validating your child’s emotions. 


Acknowledging how your child is feeling and validating them helps your child understand that what they’re going through is normal. Dr. Kaylene suggests dialogue like “I know you’re feeling sad that I have to go, your teacher will keep you safe until I get back.” 


It’s also a great idea to remind your child of all the fun things they will get to do at childcare that day. Playing with their friends, playing in the sandpit, finger painting, cooking, or whatever it may be. 


Remind your child of all the positive activities they get to do exclusively at childcare that day. Tell them you can’t wait to hear all about it when you pick them up.


3. Dr. Kaylene suggests practicing saying goodbyes ahead of time. 


Children learn the best through routine and practice. If your child becomes familiar with a goodbye routine, they may respond more positively when it comes to it at childcare. 

Dr. Kaylene suggests dialogue like “ Saying goodbye at childcare is new for us isn’t it? It still feels a little bit tricky, so let’s have a practice so we know what to do.”

Role-playing saying goodbye helps eliminate the shock factor when saying goodbye for real. If your child knows what to expect, it can help alleviate some anxiety they may be feeling.

Dr. Kaylene’s final tip is to rely on your child’s educator as a great source of tips and tricks and comfort for your child. They’ve been navigating tricky goodbyes for a while, and might have some great advice on your part. 

To hear from our parenting partner Dr. Kaylene Henderson, watch the video here.

Also check out our other articles on this topic.

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