An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Preschool Drop Off Tips and Tricks

Monday, July 17, 2017

Preschool Drop Off Tips and Tricks

Dropping your child off at preschool can be traumatizing for both parent and child. Use these tips for an easier school drop off!

It feels weird to be writing this in the middle of July. Especially since I've just dropped my kids off for one of the remaining weeks of their summer preschool camps. Down here in Texas, the school year starts back up in August and goes until May, and I wanted to get this out there before the first wave of kiddos goes back! Ahhh, preschool drop off. This may even apply to older students, but since my kids are just in preschool I don't have experience with that yet. I do, however, have a great system down for dropping HAPPY (read: no screaming and no crying!) kids off at school and have seen plenty of parents make mistakes that only makes the situation worse. Read on for some funny tales of preschool drop off, and my tips and tricks for making it easier on EVERYONE (including you, your kids, your kid's classmates and other parents). 

If you've been to a preschool drop off, you know what I'm talking about. It's like a war zone those first few weeks of school. Complete chaos. Screaming kids, clueless parents, everyone is in the way, nobody can hear anyone else. Seriously, a baby-infused war zone. I absolutely dread the first few weeks of school because it's such a zoo getting my kids into their classrooms!

Preschool drop off doesn't have to be a nightmare of tantrums and crying if you follow these easy tips

There's the "frantic mom" who woke up late, doesn't know where her purse is, doesn't understand how to take a lunchbox out of a backpack and hang it on her child's hook, loses her older child because shes's taking so long trying to get everything together, doesn't understand how to use an iPad for signing in, doesn't know if she's paid tuition, lost her shot record sheets, and on and on. This mom annoys me, but I feel for her, since she looks so frazzled and frantic. I want to slip her a Xanax and say, "Go home and pour yourself a big glass of wine and take this. It's ok. School is a whopping 5 hours long. Your child WILL be ok without you for five hours!"

Then there's the "explaining mom." Ohhhhh, this one gets me! I don't even feel for this mom. She holds up the whole line by monopolizing the teacher's time with every small, mundane and unnecessary detail about HER child. There's 12-16 kids in the classroom sweetheart, I promise you the teacher isn't going to pay that much attention to your kid, remember what you're telling them, or really - care about that level of detail. They have a system down. Let them be the teacher! Let them be the leader! Shut up about your kid already! You're making every other parent and child wait while you give your speech about your child. You create hallway backups and add to the anxiety of other kids. You are a figgin problem!

The next mom I see often is the "clingy mom." She can't seem to walk away after she's dropped off her child. She hugs him or her several times, reminds the child that she loves them very much, and right as she's about to walk away so the next family can deposit their kid in class, she steps over you to go back into the classroom and kiss the kid again. This usually (no, ALWAYS) results in that kid losing their sh*t, screaming and crying for mom. This mom makes a big deal of her exit and in turn causes a total scene. I'm convinced this mom loves drama and all eyes on her. Once she has everyone (rolling) their eyes at her, she has to put on a show of how much she loves her child and how hard it is to leave.

Then, friends, there's the moms like me. I've got the lunch box out, backpack on the hook, and kid signed in on the iPad in less than 30 seconds. I give my child a high give or a quick kiss on the cheek, and immediately leave the scene. I trust the the teachers have got the situation under control. And guess what? If they don't, I know I'll get a phone call! Efficient, quick, in and out is my style. And guess what? My kids are the ones who don't cry at drop off, are self assured and confident. No be mistaken, I wasn't always this mom! I had a learning curve - even with each kid. I've been the clingy mom and I've been the frantic mom. It's because of my mistakes that I'm able to confidently give you these tips.

My sweet peanut on his first day of preschool last year

Here's the thing: The longer you drag preschool drop off on, the worse it is for your child. They have time to understand that mommy is leaving. It builds anxiety. They cling to you as opposed to getting interested in a toy or activity the teachers have out, ready for their arrival. The longer you make preschool drop off and the more anxious YOU are, the worse THEY'RE going to be. And once you have a crying kid, other kids start to cry, and you've created a whole mess of preschool drop off. So here are some tips, mamas and daddies:

1) Do your research. Email the teacher, headmaster, principal, or parent coordinator a few(ish) weeks in advance so you know what they expect of parents at drop off. This will prevent you from being the frantic mom! If they don't allow juice (our school doesn't) then you'll know not to pack it. If they want your child's lunches out and placed somewhere, you'll know to have that ready. You'll be familiar with the sign in procedure and have a heads up on the general process. The more you know, the calmer you are and in turn, the calmer your child is. Win-win.

2) Make it fast. Whatever the protocol is at your school, learn it fast and do it efficiently. At our school, parents are responsible for hanging backpacks on their child's hook and getting lunches out and placed on a shelf, then signing their kid in. There's a rhythm to it. Learn it and make your life easier.

3) Don't block the hallways. As soon as your child is dropped off, get out of people's way! Our school is a small church school, so any parent that assumes a conversation in the hallway is in EVERYONE'S way. I'm not saying don't say hi to parents you know or don't socialize, just move it to a location where kids aren't waiting to be dropped off or picked up. Also, probably not at the top or bottom of stairs, either. Man, people love to stop there and chat! No. Don't do that.

If you've got a kid headed to preschool this fall, congrats! You've just gained a few more hours of freedom and are providing them foundation skills they'll use for the rest of their educational career. Early childhood learning has been proven essential for future success in and out of the classroom. High five to you, parents! Just please... Don't be any of the "moms" I listed (at least, don't be her for long - we all make mistakes!) Use these preschool drop off tips for non-crying success this fall! 


  1. Great ideas. Drop off is always difficult for my youngest. The other two, no issues. Her, hangs on my leg and cries. Every time. Great post. Thank you.

  2. I went with my sister to drop off her kids last fall and WOW. Yes to all of this!

  3. Yep. A's preschool was tiny, and there were always the parents who lingered, talked to the teacher and had to make a scene of saying goodbye. You're seeing them in a few hours they are going to be fine!

  4. I am dreading our first year of pre-k. I went to school to be an early childhood educator and was traumatized by what went on behind the scenes. While I know there are great centers out there, I still can't get the horrific things out of my mind from the vulgar owners. Fortunately there were other teachers like me that truly cared. Because of this, we have opted for a co-op since we only have one year before she starts kindergarten. I know she will be absolutely fine but me... I'm going to go home and ugly cry! I did feel awful for those kids that had their drop off drug on every day. I got in a habit of quickly redirecting the child's attention to another activity though. These are all great though.

  5. Make it fast and don't block hallways! Genius. It is such a dicey time!
    Tonya @

  6. Yes, yes, yes! I am going to my third year of preschool soon and agree with all of this! My son's preschool does a meet the teacher day about a week before school starts, and they explained all the procedures then. The only time I have ever lingered is if I needed to discuss something with the school coordinator. I try very hard to do the drop-and-run. My son cried the first couple days, and that was it. He loves school. My youngest will be starting this year so we'll see how that goes, but he will be at the same school as my oldest for now, so hopefully that helps!

  7. Haha this is soo funny! I don't have kids yet but I can totally understand the moms you were explaining. I will definitely keep these tips in mind once we start having kids!

  8. I laughed so hard! I loved this post so much. I haven't been on the mom side, but as a student once upon a time, the way you explained things as a spectator was on par!

  9. My daughter will be going to preschool soon so I will need these tips! I'll try not to be one of those moms ... haha

  10. I agree with not extending the goodbye too long as it only makes things harder for everyone! Now if we could just have some rules on how to park properly in front of the school!

  11. Hehe, this reminds me of going to school when I was a child. I was bawling and begging my mom not to go in preschool and kindergarten. My kindergarten teacher even carried me the first day of school because I was in tears. Makes me laugh now to think about it.

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