How to Drop Your Toddler Off at Preschool Without Tears: 11 Steps
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Helping your child start an activity before you leave may ease the transition.

The first day of preschool starts an exciting new chapter, but separation anxiety and nervousness about school makes the transition more difficult for some preschoolers. Fear or anxiety is a normal response in preschoolers when faced with a new situation. Meeting your preschooler's physical and emotional needs, creating a routine and encouraging positive feelings toward preschool ease the process of dropping off your child. With time and consistency, tears are often replaced with smiles for both you and your preschooler.


  1. 1
    Analyze your feelings toward preschool and leaving your child. Even unspoken fear or anxiety about your child starting preschool can affect how she feels about the drop-off. Work through your own anxiety and focus on the beneficial aspects of preschool to generate a positive attitude.
  2. 2
    Put your preschooler to bed at a consistent time so he is rested. About 10 to 12 hours total each day is ideal for this age group. Create a calming, regular routine to get your preschooler to sleep each night. He may be better able to handle the drop-off if he isn't tired.
  3. 3
    Serve a nutritious breakfast each morning. Hunger sometimes contributes to crankiness in children.
  4. 4
    Pack a small item that comforts your child, such as a favorite toy, picture from home or small stuffed animal. Mention the item to the preschool teacher, as some teachers prefer that kids not bring toys or personal items to school.
  5. 5
    Give yourself enough time to get ready in the morning without rushing. This reduces stress for you and your preschooler. Spend time with your preschooler getting ready for preschool in a relaxed, positive manner.
  6. 6
    Talk to your preschooler about the day, including when you will pick her up. Reassure her that you will come back at a certain time. For example, if preschool ends after lunch, remind her that you will get there after she's done eating. Use the conversation to get her excited about the activities she gets to do at preschool and the friends she'll see.
  7. 7
    Arrive early if possible to help your child settle in. Ask permission to get there a few minutes before the other students if he seems nervous or overwhelmed by the noise and activity. Allow the teacher to interact with your child to help build a level of trust between them.
  8. 8
    Start your preschooler on the first activity of the day. Getting her actively involved in the classroom helps her calm down and distracts her from feelings of anxiety about you leaving.
  9. 9
    Say goodbye before leaving the preschool classroom. Sneaking out will likely cause your child to become upset when he realizes you're gone. Keep the goodbye short and simple without giving in if your child pleads for you to stay longer.
  10. 10
    Arrive on time to pick your child up from preschool so she knows you aren't leaving her there.
  11. 11
    Talk to the preschool teacher if the tears don't ease up at drop-off. Work with the teacher to create a routine at school that makes it easier for your child to stay behind without you.


  • Preschoolers sometimes have difficulty going back to preschool after a holiday break or other extended period away from school. Staying consistent with the routine helps your child ease back into preschool.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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