Arrival and Departure Routines
Expect arrival and departure times to be transistions in a young child's life. Some transitions are handled better than others. Most realize that arrival and departure times can't be abrupt and quick-transition takes time. In general, children, even very young children, resist being rushed or hurried. Parents have all been in the situation where they are running late. The harder they push the slower and more resistant their child becomes! Knowing this is the case, plan arrival and departure routines to accept this inevitable reality. Let your child's teacher know if your routine is going to change. Sometimes teachers can offset children's real discomfort about changes in schedule by preparing the child for the change. Even very young children know the sequence of which parent comes first, then next, and so on. If you let your teacher know, your teacher can help your child accomodate the increased time at the school without going into the "waiting" mode too soon. Develop back-up strategies before you need them and practice these routines, too. It's going to happen a flat tire car, a car accident, a last minute work demand that can't be posponed, more traffic than you have ever seen, the downpour that floods every street leading to the school. Plan now for these situations so that you have a back-up plan with your child's teacher. Pracice it once or twice before it is needed. Then everyone will know how to handle it if the plan is put into effect. Predictable beginnings and ends to the day are important to you and to your child. Separations and reunions are easier for adults because we are more experienced in negotiating them. Children, particularly very young children, need lots of help from you to make them a pleasant part of their school experience.