Daycare Transition Times

The question posed to the seasoned Family Daycare Providers of the Provider's Playground Facebook Group was:

"How do you, as a Child Care Provider, handle drop off and pick up times for the children in your child care setting?"

Here are their responses!

For drop off I tell the daycare parents the best way is a big hug and kiss and leave quickly. As soon as the parent is out the door I pick up the child and we go find a toy, we have a few kids that like to sit on our laps for a couple of minutes. If someone other than the person dropping off is picking up I tell the child that we are just going to stay here and wait for *** to come, that works really well when it grandma that is coming (everybody loves grandmas) I have a lot of problems with kids leaving. Since it is usually with kids 3+ I explain to them that they need to leave nice (give examples of what they should not do). When the parents come I physically make the daycare children stand for their moms to come to get them, If they try to hide or whatever I pick them up and give them to their mother. I have even put a kindergartener in time out the next morning for not going home nicely the night before.

The one I worry about more than the child is the mom. I was going to say parent but dads don't seem to have this problem as much. I can feel the pain the mom feels and so really concentrate on her feelings. I try to assure her that the child will be fine and tell her straight out that I am more concerned with her feelings than with the child. I tell her that she may call every twenty minutes all day if she likes. When the focus is taken off the child the moms seem to get a wider picture and are put at ease. Some do call but usually, only once or twice and then they go about their day in comfort. Going home is the hardest. I have a mom who comes at 3:30 and doesn't leave until 4:30 most days. I don't know how to get her to leave so I just put her to work.

Wow! Good question Jana. Transition time can be hard in daycare. I really believe that it is the parent that can make the difference. I have 2 kids that I literally have to take off their parents crying. I find that if the mother (or father) just says 'bye I'll see you after work' and leaves the kids will calm right down. When I worked at a center I had this mom and grandma that would never leave. So this child would cling and cling and every time the mom would try to leave she would start screaming. This child was in Kindergarten so it was even worse. I know this behavior is caused by them feeling guilty. We would talk to them but it never changed.

At drop off time I encourage parents to keep it brief. A quick hug, kiss, and goodbye! Although you do have those occasional dcps who seem to hang around forever! If their child is having a problem when I speak with the dcp and ask them to be quick about their goodbye, tell them they are welcome to call as soon or as often as they want and assure them if for any reason the dck doesn't settle I will be sure to call them. Never had one that didn't quickly settle into what we were doing.

As for pick-up time (UGH!), I do state in my handbook to be brief during pick up and to respect my rules and discipline their children while they are here. If I find they are hanging around too long I will say something like, "well I need to do this. . . " if they are the last ones left. Just a subtle hint and they usually get it. If the child is not listening and the parent isn't correcting them then I will do it! This seems to be the worst time for "testing".

I suggest to parents that drop-off time be quick and upbeat! Children feed off their parent's emotions and if the parent is apprehensive about dropping the child off, the child will pick up on that emotion.

Pick-up time is very difficult! I often times refer to this time as "The Changing of the Guard". The child has taken commands from the provider all day and then when the parent comes in, it can be very confusing ~ "who do I have to listen to now?" I discuss with my parents that when they come into the daycare home, it is their responsibility to discipline their child, however, if they fail to do so, I will or suggest it's time to go spend some time with your child!

My biggest problem is pick up...Kids go wild sometimes! I have one who thinks when his mother comes in he can go run around the yard and I had to put a stop to it myself because the parents wouldn't do anything. I am sorry but I will not allow a 2-year-old outside running wild. I also have a 4-year-old who shows off when his mom comes and I give his parents a chance to stop him but if they don't I will. I will say Kaleb you know the rules and I will put you in time out even if your mom and dad are here. He usually gets the hint and calms down.

I have had my share of problems with these times, but here's what I do.....

For drop-off, I make sure the parents know (it is in my contract, too) at the interview that it is harder on the child if they stay longer than 5 minutes at drop-off. They are welcome to call and check on their child later and I will honestly tell them if their child calmed down within a few minutes or sobbed wildly for 30 minutes (I have only had a couple of those in 15 years, thankfully). There have been a few children over the years that just were not making the transition to daycare (emotionally) sucessfully, IMO, and I have told those moms they need to re-evaluate and try to stay home or work part-time. But usually kids calm down pretty quickly, and actually, after they have been here for more than a week or two, have no problem in the morning, and that always makes it easier for mom and me, too! :-) Now, I must let you in on a little secret (the parents all know it, too). The kids all know that they get ice cream every day at Miss Laura's! Wait, don't flame me yet! :-) It is about one-tenth of an ice-cream sandwich (about as wide as your thumb). I don't know why, but they look forward to that little sliver of ice cream sandwich so much, and it is my little gimmick, I guess, because if a child comes in grumpy in the morning, I just say, "Good morning! Guess what we're having at Miss Laura's today after lunch?" And I get a little smile....and they say "Ice cream!" and it just seems to turn their mood around!

On pick-up: This is where I have had problems, and I have to coach the kids when I see their moms pull up, I quickly remind them of the rules, and I have also been known to tell the older kids that if they start acting wild when Mom comes through the door, they will be spending some time in time-out early the next morning. I know, I am so mean! I have only had to do this twice in 15 years, though.

We know the kids that are going to be hard to get off their moms so we have one person be there to greet the mother and child and take the child from the mother we then talk to the child about what their day is going to be like while the mother leaves.

~Submitted by Lori Ross, a website visitor

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