Drop Off Etiquette

By 2019-11-22 16:09:12

Morning drop off tips and habits from Concordia International School Shanghai

It’s only natural for children to feel anxious when saying goodbye to their parents. It can occur multiple times in the early years and sometimes even into Elementary School. It can even begin later in the school year. Some children seem to be doing just fine with transition only to experience separation anxiety a few weeks into the school year or after family time during school holidays.

As you prepare to drop your child off in school, try these strategies to help your child cope with separation anxiety:

  • Confront parental ambivalence. It’s perfectly normal for parents to worry about the transition to a new classroom. It’s hard to trust a new person or a new school with a little one! Kids will pick up on parental ambivalence. If parents hesitate, kids will feel unsafe.
  • Talk your feelings out with a friend who knows the drill to get some perspective.
  • Plan a coffee date with a friend or your spouse immediately following drop off so that you have support.
  • Get to know the school and teacher as much as possible in advance (talking to other parents involved in the school helps!) so that you feel comfortable with the environment.
  • Create a goodbye ritual. Creating a specific goodbye ritual prior to the first day of preschool can ease some of the anxiety about that final goodbye. Try one (or more) of these ideas:
  • Develop a special handshake or special wave.
  • Hug, kiss, high five and goodbye!



Tuck a transitional object (i.e. a wishing stone, a small photo or a special charm) in your child’s backpack and fill it with love before you drop your child off each day. Love notes in the lunch box remind kids that Mum and Dad love them and will return soon. 

Send positive signals. While it might be tempting to sneak out the moment your child is distracted, this can actually cause stress for your child later in the day. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and normalize his worries. It’s perfectly natural to feel a little bit scared, and a little bit of empathy can help your child feel safe and understood. Watch your body language as you say goodbye. You might feel sad, but you want your child to feel safe and secure in this new fun environment. Stand up straight and smile for your little one to model a cheerful goodbye!

Stick to a routine. Children are at their best when they have plenty of rest, eat a nutritious breakfast and don’t feel rushed.

  • Pre-pack lunches and snacks the night before
  • Wake up twenty minutes before your children
  • Place shoes, socks and backpacks by the door



Read all about it. Early learners love to read and there are several great books to help prepare children for school. Anna Dewdney’s 'Llama Llama Misses Mama' and Audrey Penn’s 'The Kissing Hand' help ease the transition and normalise the process of separation for little ones.

The preschool years provide a great foundation for children and children have a lot of fun during this first school experience. Once you get over that first hurdle of saying goodbye, you will see your child grow and learn in leaps and bounds!