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Separation Anxiety at Drop Off

So, how can we make the already-difficult drop off easier?  First of all, please know that kids, just like adults, have good days and bad days.  Sometimes they won’t wake up in the mood for school, which is totally normal.  It doesn’t necessarily mean something bad is going on. We encourage you to ask your child why they don’t want to go to school, but not to dwell on it. Sometimes their reason will be something as simple as they feel like watching TV, and other times they won’t have a reason at all.

Kids also play off of our emotions, so make sure you are responding and reacting to their emotions mindfully. For example, if you reward your child’s reluctance to attend school with attention and affection, they will likely do it again the next day.  However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider your child’s worries. If they are communicating a reason that is concerning, talk with your child’s teacher or a director.

Below are some more quick tips for drop off!


Kids are creatures of habit and thrive on routine.  Changing the routine can result in a major meltdown! Consider preparing for the morning as a part of your evening routine.  By identifying areas of trouble or things that slow down the morning routine you can get ahead of the problem the night before.


Communicate ahead of time what drop-off will be like in the morning, but keep it simple and uplifting. Talk to them about pickup as well. If their pickup-person varies let them know and give them a rough time-of-day such as after nap or lunchtime.


Playing funny face games, saying silly sentences, or goofing around a little before you go can often help to ease your child’s separation anxiety by making the moments before you walk away uplifting and positive.


Kids feed off our emotions and often act in lieu of how we act or feel. If you show any signs of stress or discomfort at drop-off, your child will begin to associate you leaving with negativity. Remain positive and happy, reminding them that they are at a fun place with lots of friends and that you’ll see them later. This will create the sense that everything is alright, even if your child is stressed out anyway.


Stick to the routine and don’t linger. If your child gets the impression that you might stay, your eventual absence will be even more difficult for them to handle. Please also mind that your separation anxiety could be causing your child’s. Maintaining a quick and consistent goodbye is the best way to help your child adapt to school life.