Eight Tips to Manage Challenging Nursery Drop-Offs

Working mum with baby

Almost every week, we will have a challenging nursery drop-off, with my son George in tears or screaming and not wanting to leave my side. I find it stressful, upsetting and exhausting. My adrenaline pumps and it can take a lot of the morning for me to wind down.  

The result of this is that I feel distracted and unsettled all day, making it difficult to focus.

Of course, there are periods of time where George runs happily straight into his nursery, but it definitely goes in phases – as you have probably noticed with your LO, too.

There are a few things which have helped my clients and myself that I wanted to share them with you. 

My eight tips to manage challenging nursery drop-offs:

  1. Don’t linger – drop, kiss and go. Your instinct is to turn back and check they are ok. It’s better to leave swiftly and promptly, if you know your child is safe. 
  2. Call the nursery/daycare centre later in the morning for your peace of mind. In most instances, you’ll be told that your child has been happily playing. I’ve done this many times and it helps me to move on with my day and stop worrying.
  3. Cry. Feel your emotions. It’s tough. Pack sunglasses and/or a small make-up bag to touch up your mascara once you’ve got to work.
  4. Do some deep breathing – use the tools that you may have learned through hypnobirthing, or try a meditation. I find doing six deep breaths – breath in for six, hold for two, breathe out for eight (repeat this six times) – can really calm you down.
  5. If you’re going through a particularly challenging time, don’t go straight to a meeting. I know this isn’t always possible, but colleagues can be exceptionally understanding if you ask to push a meeting back by 30 minutes. 
  6. Give yourself a pep talk. You can say: “I am feeling upset right now. I validate my feelings. I am going to do some deep breathing to calm myself down. I will then be ready to transition to my next role, which is work. At work, I will be focused and calm.”
  7. Ask your partner or another carer to the drop-off where possible. My partner is able to compartmentalise much better and so we swapped – he did drop off and wasn’t phased by George being upset, I did pick-up. We don’t have any family in the UK, so it’s up to us, but the swap definitely helped me. I’m about to start doing drop-offs again and have the tools I need to cope.
  8. Call a friend, family member or send a WhatsApp to your NCT group – you don’t need any solutions or advice offered, you just need to talk and know you’re supported. 

I hope this has been helpful for you. Even writing this blog has made me teary at times, just recalling some of those difficult mornings, not wanting to leave my son as I could hear him screaming. I’m sending you love if you’ve experienced these too. 

Olivia x

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Read More: Mum Guilt and Managing Stress

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