You're listening to episode five of our School and Childcare Transition series. In this episode, we're going to chat about the routines and what to expect once this is underway. Note, there will be a lot of messiness, and we are here for it. We've got you. All right, let's dive in.
Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.
What I don't expect to have happen is that you do all this prep for the child, and then they're just like, "Okay, bye. See you later. Have a great day at work! See you after school!" My expectation is not that they don't have hard feelings through this. What I want them to know is that it's safe to have hard feelings through this and that they have a toolbox to pull from. When we're building some of these things to help them get familiar with the space and using those visual aides, it's not so that it won't feel hard at all. It's so that they'll be set up for as much success as possible. I would expect to see children who are melting down at the end of the day, who have not a lot left in their tank, whose battery needs to be recharged. Remember, they're getting to know something new. And so just like when you're starting a new job or doing anything new, you move to a new house, etc. And there's just boxes all around that need to be unpacked. It's hard to do the other day to day stuff because your brain is trying to figure out this new space, this new workplace, this new school, these new teachers, these new friends, these new routines, these new expectations and boundaries. All of it feels new. And the brain is working so hard to do that all day that I would expect to see kids who are melting down at the end of the day for a few weeks. That I want to lower expectations and really lean into more coping support. So for the child that knows how to zip their own jacket, they might need help with that right now. For the child who is typically really chill at dinner and engages and ready to eat, they might be melting. They might need to snuggle for a little bit here. They might need a little more from you than they typically do or things that, you know, they know how to do, they might not be able to access. So recognizing that it can feel like a regression in some ways. Really what it is is a focus on something else. That the brain can't focus on all of these things at once. And so it's so focused on this new school and all the new things that come with that or the new classroom and all the new things that come with that. That these other things kind of take a backseat.
It's not a forever thing, it's a for now thing. In terms of routines, there are three things that we look for consistency, confidence, and connection. As a parent or caregiver. When you are sending the signals to your child that you trust the space you're dropping them off to, their nervous system receives those signals. If you're sending the signals that you're feeling anxious or scared or overwhelmed, they'll receive those signals when you go in. Having a clear plan for how this is going to go, will be crucial. Letting the child know, here's what's going to happen, in infancy, in toddlerhood, in the preschool years and beyond. It's never too early to communicate with your child, because communication is about so much more than the words you say.
Your tone of voice, your body language, your confidence will be communicated to them. So this might look like you coming in, say, an infant drop off. All right, we've put your bag away. And now it's time for me to leave. I'm bringing you up to Miss Mara. You are safe and loved here. I'll be back after nap. Love you. You can offer a kiss or gentle touch and then say bye bye. Even if they're crying, you're walking away. You're trusting that their teacher has the skill set to support them. And now the teacher role. If you're a teacher tuning in, your roles might look like bringing the child to the door or window to wave goodbye, holding the infant and singing a song or humming, connecting through snuggling or reading a book together, helping their system co-regulate so that they know, "Oh, this is a safe person. I'm safe with this person. They can handle my big feelings and they can be in them with me." And then the toddler drop off. Oh, man, I am living this right now. My toddler has been crying every single time I leave him lately, whether it's to go to work and he's with their childcare provider, or when I go upstairs to take a shower and he's with my partner, or if he is with his Nana, who he spends every Friday with. Lately, there's been a spike in that separation anxiety from us. And what's most helpful for him is when I tell him exactly what's going to happen and I follow through with that. And even when he's crying, when I leave, I follow through. He's clinging to my body. And then a trusted caregiver takes him and snuggles him and provides that comfort for him, letting him know that he's allowed to feel this hard thing and that he can do hard things. We are building resilience, and he's learning that he has a toolbox for navigating these hard feelings and these other people can support him too. So at school, this might look like "Let's say goodbye. I've got three kisses for you. Where would you like the first kiss?" Pause and then do it. "And then the second kiss? Oh, on your arm. Okay!" Kiss them. "And then the third kiss. Oh, you would like it on your toes. You got it, buddy. I can't wait to see you after school. I'll wave to you from the window. Love you, bye." And then head on out. Now, the teacher in this instance might bring the child to the door, the window to wave goodbye, hold the child, look at a photo of their family. Remember we talked about those family photos? Or read a book to engage in quiet play. Together we're co regulating again, sending those signs I'm a safe person for you. And then for preschool, it might look like, "Alright, bud, I'm going to get going now. Can you find an activity to do or would you like me to help you get started? Okay, before I go, we can do our special handshake. There we go. Bud. I love you so much. Abuela will pick you up after snack." And then leave. The teacher will similarly provide comfort. You could read a book or snuggle. Or quiet activity. Offer a moment to sit quietly and connect looking at the photo of their family or chatting about how the child is feeling. Allowing children to feel emotions at separation is so key. It's not our job to distract them out of it. It's our job to let them know it makes sense to feel what they're feeling. And here are tools that can help them feel safer, calm when they're ready. It's a little bit draining. And I want you to know that we've got your back. Come on over to instagram at seed.and.sew let's chat about it. Let's dive into this and we have a full workshop on this with way more examples and how to's, and a live Q and A. If you want to check that out, head to seedandsew.org and click on our "parents tab". It will take you to all of the workshops that we have, including our School and Childcare Transitions workshop. We've got your back.
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