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Transitions can be tricky for everyone, adults as well as children. As your child moves from one part of their day to the next they sometimes need time to adjust to different activities, different people and a different environment.

When you go to pick them up from their daycare, child care, or early education center, it is worth putting some thought into how to help your child with these daily transitions. At Eden Prairie Montessori, we are more than familiar with this time of the day! Here are some of our suggestions to make the end of the day as smooth as possible for everyone.

1. Prepare yourself

It is easy to forget that pick-up time from child care is not just a transition for your child; it is also a transition for you. Being aware of this can help you get into the best frame of mind and make thing easier for both of you. You might be coming straight from work, or perhaps you have been focusing on the needs of your other children. You might even have been enjoying a bit of “me” time while your child is away.

If you are rushing from work to daycare, it can be hard to leave your working head behind. But it will be more difficult to reconnect with your child if you are still mulling over what a colleague said in a meeting, or worrying about those unanswered emails you left behind. The same applies no matter what activity you have been doing. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to make that 

changeover. But the more you are fully present in the moment and ready for the next activity, the more chance that your child will be ready to do the same when they come home from school.

2. Allow plenty of time

There is probably nothing worse

at the end of the day than arriving at the last minute, grabbing your child and going. It will make both you and your child feel stressed and get the rest of your day off to a bad start. Your child needs time to adjust to the change of leaving their preschool. Rushing at the end of the day will make them more likely to become fractious and demanding.

Your child might need a little extra time to finish off or tidy away whatever activity they are doing. Of course, it is fine to put a limit on how long you can wait for them to finish. You might say they can have a few more minutes and give them a warning before time is up – but make sure you stick to it. Just giving them that bit of extra time can make the difference between them leaving with a smile or leaving in tears.

3. Focus on your child

Make sure you to ask your child how their day was and look at anything they want to show you. They might have done a special picture for you so take time to appreciate it.

When you arrive it is easy to be distracted. Pick-up time can be a social time when parents chat and make arrangements for other activities like play dates for their children. But while it is a great opportunity to get to know other parents, try not to get too involved in those adult conversations.

You don’t want to be rude, but this is the time to focus on greeting your own child. If another parent is trying to make complicated arrangements it might be best to let them know you are keen but politely tell them you will call once you get home.

4. Take the chance to connect with the center’s staff and adults.

It is okay to ask how your child has been and it doesn’t do any harm to take the opportunity to say thank you. Even if a teacher or staff are talking to another parent or dealing with a child a nod and smile can be enough to acknowledge that you appreciate the all work they do. Something simple like this will also help you to build up a good relationship with the people who play a big role in your child’s day. And it can make it a lot easier if you ever need to discuss any difficult or sensitive issues with them.

5. Have a plan – and a snack

It is always good to know what you are going to be doing afterwards. This gives your child a sense of moving on to the next thing rather than focusing on what they have left behind. Of course with all the pressures of work and family life the next activity might well be a trip to the grocery store or something equally mundane. But you can always talk about things in a positive manner on it so that it feels like something to look forward to.

For example instead of saying “I’m sorry but now we have to go food shopping,” you could perhaps try “Next we are going to the store to get something tasty for dinner”. This will make it sound less like a chore and more appealing to the child. It might even make you feel better about it too.
And don’t forget to have a healthy snack available if you are not going home right away.

6. Be consistent

Young children thrive on routine. Sometimes their world must feel like it is full of surprises and things they don’t understand. That is why routine and knowing what to expect next are so important. These things can bring security and comfort and make these daily transitions so much easier.

If one day they are allowed to finish building their brick castle and the next they are whisked away, they will never know what to expect. This can lead to anxiety and tensions around the end of the day pick-up which can make things more difficult.

Of course, unexpected events will always happen and there will be times when your plans will go awry for any number of reasons. But as long as these are the exception to the rule they shouldn’t rock your otherwise steady routine.

Bringing your child to a daycare, preschool, or early education center can be stressful for any parent. At Eden Prairie Montessori we know the end of the day can eventually be a smooth transition time if you use some of these tips to create a consistent routine for your child!

Hope this gives you some ideas! If you have small children and are on the search for a Montessori-style education, don’t hesitate to schedule a tour at 952-944-8466.

Contact us to schedule a tour and learn more about the Montessori difference!

To learn more about our child care center in Eden Prairie and programs, contact us at 952-944-8466. We look forward to meeting you!

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