If your little one has spent most mornings up until now with either you or her nanny, it’s not surprising that she finds the idea of playgroup daunting.

A traumatic drop-off is as difficult for you as for your little one. Here’s how to make saying goodbye a little easier.

For many families, the coronavirus pandemic has meant children have been at home with mom, dad, or the nanny for an extended period of time. With schools reopening soon, some tots may have a hard time getting back into the swing of daycare or nursery school. It’s important you make your child’s drop off less traumatic, especially if your little one suffers from separation anxiety.

Follow these tips to make morning goodbyes happier affairs.

Prepare ahead

If your little one has spent most mornings up until now with either you or her nanny, it’s not surprising that she finds the idea of playgroup daunting. Get her used to the idea by reading books that explain what happens at playgroup (we like Goat Goes to Playgroup by Julia Donaldson) – this way, she’ll know what to expect, and she’ll understand that far from being scary, playgroup is about having fun and making friends. It may also help to take her to the group’s open day and introduce her to her teacher ahead of time. Talk to her about her teacher

Ease them into things gently

Leaving home and all that’s familiar is a major step. Trepidation and tears are to be expected, but easing your child in will make it more manageable. Rather than signing up for a full day, five times a week, initiate her by dropping her off for a few hours once or twice a week. You can start leaving her for longer periods once her confidence is up.

Routine, routine, routine

You’ll remember how critical routine was when your little one was just a baby – and nothing changes. Rituals help to create a sense of safety because they let your child know what comes next, removing scary uncertainty. Make your own goodbye routine when you drop her off: maybe helping her put her bag in her cubby hole and finding her hat. A farewell kiss is an essential part of this routine – don’t leave it out, no matter how tempting it is to slink away when it looks like her attention has been diverted. She’ll just get a bigger fright when she realises that you’re no longer there. On the other hand, lingering isn’t a good idea either – she’s not likely to welcome her teacher’s cuddles when you’re standing right

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