Woman, man with two young children

Dial back the drop off drama! Simple tips to help children and families to settle in to care

Man and woman with two young children playing with blocks

For some children and families, the ‘daily drop off’ is a simple and quick process – a kiss on the cheek, and the child runs off to play. For other families, however, dropping children off for a day of fun can be anything but. 

For a number of different reasons, navigating the big feelings of drop off time is a complex mix of feelings, bribes, distractions, and long long looooong goodbyes!

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! These easy to implement tips can turn drop off from drama to dream.

Consistency

When children first start attending childcare, drop offs are crucial in helping them transition to care. If parents are anxious, and hovering ready to jump in at the first sign of distress, children will pick up on this. 

The aim should be for low key departures and excited reunions. If parents and families are able to consistently use the same routine and messaging when dropping their children off, putting all the emotional energy into a happy reunion, children will settle in to care much more quickly. 

Using the same language each day (“Mum is leaving for work now. Shall we stand at the fence and wave goodbye?”) can help children to feel more comfortable with transitions. 

Educators have a part to play here too. Wherever possible, educators should be consistently rostered in the same rooms at drop off times, so that the child and family have a familiar face to connect with. 

Keeping one or more activities or areas of the room the same can also be very calming for children – they then know where they can go in the room to engage with something comforting. 

Don’t be sneaky

While it can be tempting for families to “sneak off” once their child is engaged with an activity, this can do more harm than good in the long run. 

When parents sneak off, children respond by being hypervigilant the next time drop off happens, perpetuating the cycle of anxiety by clinging even tighter. 

Parents and caregivers should give children a warning that they will be leaving soon. Simple words on the journey to care, such as “First I’ll drop you off at childcare, then you’ll play with your friends. After lunch and a nap, I will come to pick you up again, and we will have spaghetti for dinner” can orientate the place of care in the child’s day. 

When it comes time for a parent to leave, the same technique can be used to create a smoother drop off process. 

“I’ll finish this puzzle with you, then I am going in to work. Do you see someone here you’d like to play with when I go?”

Communication

Communication, on both sides of the fence, is a really important component of the drop off process. 

Parents should communicate with educators, letting them know about any changes for the child since they were last in care.

Educators can communicate with children about what exciting things the day holds, and everyone involved can communicate with each other through tools such as Storypark, which gives parents a “real time” window into their child’s day, alleviating worries. 

Nothing soothes a worried parent mind more than a photo or video of the child they left crying 10 minutes ago happily engaged in play. 

Parents can also use resources such as Storypark to share more about their child’s world beyond childcare, making the transition from home to care even smoother. 

For more ideas on how to tackle drop off drama, see the further resources below: 

Settling your baby into childcare

How to deal with separation anxiety at childcare

Leaving your child for the first time: tips to help with the dropoff  

girl getting temperature taken

Top 10 Illnesses Keeping Children Absent From Childcare

girl getting temperature taken

We’ve swiftly reached this year’s winter months which is typically a time when infections, viruses and bugs become most prominent. During last year’s winter months (2019), KindyNow tracked and recorded over 11,000 childcare bookings that were marked as absent due to illness, as well as the illnesses that were contracted.

From common viruses to irritating symptoms, there were over 70 different illnesses and symptoms of illness recorded for absent bookings. KindyNow have since reviewed this data to identify the top 10 most common illnesses that prevented children from attending their childcare service.

The top 10 most common illnesses recorded were:

1. Common Cold
2. Fever
3. Cough
4. Conjunctivitis
5. Influenza (Flu)
6. Viral Infection (Other)
7. Hand, Foot and Mouth
8. Ear Infection
9. Gastroenteritis (Gastro)
10. Vomiting

Collectively, the top ten accounted for up to 61% of the absent bookings.

Why it’s important to identify infectious illnesses early.
It’s incredibly important to identify in advance which illnesses are likely to impact your service so you can effectively prepare your staff and resources. When you’re better prepared you can successfully work towards minimising potential health risks and preventing an outbreak, which could force your families into being absent from childcare.

Over 150,000 childcare bookings have already been notified as absent with KindyNow in 2020 and as we navigate through unprecedented times with the recent outbreak of the coronavirus there has been a huge spike in absences and this figure continues to grow.

Now, it is more important than ever to ensure you have strong control and prevention strategies in place and your families are familiar with your strategy so they too can help you minimise the impact and spread of infectious illnesses.

For advice and tips on how you can ensure your service is meeting the National Quality Standards in minimising risk and protecting children from infection read the full article from KindyNow here.

KindyNow, a certified Kidsoft partner, is Australia’s most used childcare booking App, helping centres increase their occupancy and efficiency while improving their service offering. Learn more about KindyNow and how they can assist your business by clicking here.