Just like some children struggle with getting dropped off at daycare, other children struggle with the pickup process. There are many reasons why children may struggle. They may just be tired at the end of the day, or they may be actively engaged in an activity when you come to pick them up, or they may just want to run their life on their timeline, not on your timeline. Here are a few strategies to help you out if your toddler is having a tough time with pick-ups from their child care center.
Learn the Child Care Centers Schedule
Most child care centers try to stick to a daily schedule, such as wake up from a nap, have a snack, indoor playtime and then head out to recess. Find out what your child's daycare center schedule is like in the afternoon. Knowing your child's daycare schedule can help you time their pick-up a little better.
For example, if you typically show up just a few minutes after the children have started their snack, your child may feel stressed out that they are not going to get to finish their snack, or upset about having to leave when they are still eating, even if they get to bring their snack with them.
Instead, you could pick your child up ten minutes later when snack time is wrapping up so that your child is able to complete the activity before going home. This isn't always possible, but try to see if you can come when your child is transitioning to another activity, and not just starting one.
Give Your Child a Warning
Your child may struggle with the fact that you just show up, and they have to stop whatever they are doing and leave right now. Instead of insisting that your child leave as soon as you show up, say hello to your child, and let them know that they have five more minutes to play, then give them a three-minute warning, and then tell your child when it is time to say goodbye and get ready to go.
Giving your child a few minutes to wrap up what you are doing is a great way to respect your child's time and it can help them make a smoother transition from daycare to home life.
Develop a Routine
Children thrive on routines, so create a routine for pick-up that you can stick to. For example, you pick your child up at the end of snack time, give them a five-minute warning, allow them to say goodbye to their friends, and then you give each other big high-fives, put on coats, and go home. It doesn't have to be something big; just create a routine that you can stick to.
Get through the toddler struggles at pick-up by adjusting your pick-up time to fit with your toddler's school schedule, give your child a warning and time to wind down what they are doing, and develop a solid routine for pick-up. These three strategies can help ease the end of the day pick-up struggles.
For more information, companies like Kidstown Drop-In Child Care Center can help.