Dropping off children at summer camp or any other childcare out of the routine can be difficult. At Dino
Drop-In Childcare we get children new to daycare, every day. Here are some techniques we use to make the transition
When trying a new childcare solution, it is fun to talk about where you’re going to prep your
children for the upcoming event. Talk about what they can expect and how much fun they will
have. Often, I use stories to teach them about the new adventure and over time they’ll repeat
the story back to me. My excitement can over shadow most of my son’s separation anxiety.
When going to a place on a more regular basis, empower your child to take care
of their own needs at drop off. Ask, “Where do you put your ____?” or “Can you open the door
yourself?” This helps them see they have some power over their environment.
Even if the place you are dropping off is new, your technique for saying good-bye can
be the same each time. One hug, one kiss, and a wave. A high five and thumbs up through the
window. A little song. Anything that is a special routine for you and your child will help them
know that you carry them with you…even when you are away.
Drop them off to someone. Things get hectic, especially at a summer camp. If your
child has trouble saying good-bye…get to know a teacher to leave them with the same teacher,
each day. This lets your child know that you are directly putting them in the hands of someone
trusted, who will take good care of them. Work with that teacher to make up a special hello
I remember my third year as a preschool teacher, 20 years ago! That year we got a
new student that had a big fear of separation…and so did his mom. After saying good-bye each
morning we would get calmed down and start playing with the other kiddos only to have him
freak out again. It turns out mom was peeking through the window beside the door to be sure
he had adjusted well; he would catch her and we’d all be back to square one. As a mom, I know
this can be tempting, especially with younger children. I have found it successful to make a deal
with one of the leaders, if my child doesn’t adjust in 10-15 minutes they will call me to come
back. It works like a charm and I have never had to return due to separation anxiety. My
children, like most, calm down quickly and adjust to their new environment and most
importantly my they have a great time meeting new friends.
6. Jingle bell:
The last thing I suggest for children with separation anxiety is a comforting tool. It
might be a blanket for a little one but that won’t really work for a camper! I have used calming
bottles with swirling glitter or – my favorite – a charm or jingle bell to put on a bracelet or in
their pocket. Each time they hear it they remember you are thinking about them, even though
you are away.
So whether you are taking on a new camp adventure, starting at a new school, or dropping your child off
with someone new…try some of these techniques to make the transition easier on you and kiddo.