Schools have reopened and while most parents are relieved the little ones are finally back in school, it is not the same for parents whose kids kick up tantrums during drop-off. This is especially true for parents who are separating from their kids for the first time. If you are one such parent, draw close.
Why your baby cries when dropped off at school
If your baby cries when dropped off at school, it is most likely due to separation anxiety. They have come to know you as their place of safety – you comfort them when they cry, feed them when angry, soothe them when they need to sleep. When you leave, it is only fair that they resist the departure of the pillar of their little lives. They feel vulnerable without you.
If they are not new to the school, the change in routine might be the reason why your baby cries when dropped off at school. Most of us are suffering serious holiday hangovers and only getting accustomed to waking early and preparing for work. It is the same on their hand, their little routines have been disrupted after the two months holiday and getting back on track must take a toll on them.
Stranger anxiety happens when your baby interacts with unfamiliar cases. This is often the case when they are meeting teachers and other kids for the first time away from home. It is for this same reason most toddlers initially won’t agree to getting held by other people besides their mothers and family members.
What do to to help a baby that cries during school drop-offs
Do not chide them
Imagine being left alone in the midst of unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar place for the first time. An adult would adjust, but this is purgatory for kids. So if they cling to your neck, hand and clothes and cries up a storm, do not chide them for feeling the way they are feeling. It might be frustrating when they are wailing non-stop and other parents and kids are staring, but resist the temptation to take it out on them.
Do not lose your cool
Most parents end up crying along with their children in this situation. Leaving your kid behind is not easy, and is only made worse by the sight of them crying. If you have to cry over leaving them, do not do it in their presence. They will feel even lesser safe. Assure them firmly and confidently that they will be okay.
Give them something to hold on to
A wristband, your key holder or a picture will comfort them and help them through the day. It will help them feel as though you are close.
Arrange playdates prior to school opening
If you happen to know your kids’ who go to the same school, arrange playdates if their parents assent to it. This way your baby will at least have a familiar face to play with through the day.
Do not sneak away
If you sneak away, they will lose their trust in you, and the next time you try to get away, it will not be so easy. You can stay until they are calm and are more familiar with their environment, but do not give them the impression that you will stay the whole day. Reduce the time you stay with them everyday, until they do not expect it of you.
Make goodbyes a normal thing
Do not create a huge fuss about it, so they learn that it is natural for people to come and go. Resist asking them if they will be okay, they also do not know and that is why they are crying. Instead, speak to them confidently and matter of factly that you are going but will come for them later.
Talk about the good things they are going to do
On your way to school, talk about the fun things your baby is going to do. Discuss playing with friends, playing with new toys, learning new songs and the like. This way, you will make it seem like you going away is just a small price to play for all that fun.
Keep your word
If you say you will come back for them, do it yourself, at least for those few days. This way it will get into their little minds that even if you leave you will always be back for them.
Ensure they have enough rest
Some of the tantrums usually arise from simply being tired, hungry and not having enough sleep. The more energetic and positive they are, the less likely they are to throw tantrums.
They will get used to it
Crying and kicking during drop-off wanes as your baby grows and gets used to the school routines, worry not. Often a huge tantrum is followed by joining friends and playing normally a few minutes later. Even when they seem to be over it, every once is a while the child may start fussing during drop-off. They might have just woken up on the wrong side of the bed or ill. But if your baby remains withdrawn throughout the day for consecutive weeks, that is when it should bother you.